Cheese Straws — Add a “Special Touch” to Salads!

    Cheese Straws are kind of like a homemade version of Cheese-it® Crackers without the preservatives. Great for snacks but I like to serve them with salads. Perch a stick on the side of a salad plate or pass a basket full with the salad course.
   Cut them thick or thin or even push the dough through a pastry bag for a frilly appearance.

Cheese Straws   Cutting straws into ¾ to 1” strips that are about 5 ½ to 6” wide yields about 3 dozen straws
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
2 ½ cups shredded sharp Cheddar, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Wax paper
Kosher salt for sprinkling

1.     Preheat the oven to 350°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2.     In a food processor, add the butter, cheese, flour, salt and cayenne and process until the dough balls up – be patient as this does not happen instantly.

3.     Transfer dough onto a board or marble surface – I like to divide it into 3 balls.
4.     Sandwich one of the balls between two sheets of wax paper and press down to flatten.
5.     Use a rolling pin to roll out dough in a thin rectangle (as thin as possible; about 5 ½ to 6” wide or whatever size you prefer). (Manipulate the dough with your hands to create a free-form rectangle as you go.)

6.     Remove the top piece of wax paper and cut dough with a knife of a decorative pasta cutter – I usually cut strips that range from about ¾ to 1” in width.

7.     Transfer strips to parchment lined pan and sprinkle lightly with Kosher salt.
8.      Bake cheese straws for 15 minutes. Check and add another 5 minutes if not a golden brown (sometimes I flip them before the last 5 minutes of baking to insure even browning).
9.     Remove to racks to cool.

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