“Everyone likes them… they’re rich and spicy… they go with practically everything… and people are always amazed that you assembled them from scratch.”
That description couldn’t ring more true. Which makes a whole lot of sense given that those are a few of the words that introduce this simple recipe for cheese straws in The Essential New York Times Cookbook. I had my eye on the recipe for a few months, and with an Oscars party to attend last night, I finally had a good reason to try it out. And test subjects.
As the book predicted, the cheese straws were a hit. All that remained by the end of the show was an empty plate with a few cheddary crumbs.
Cheese Straws From The Essential New York Times Cookbook
1/4 pound extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 TBSP unsalted butter, cubed and softened
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tspn salt
3/4 tspn crushed red pepper flakes
1 TBSP half-and-half
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the cheese, butter, flour, salt and red pepper flakes in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the half-and-half and pulse until the dough forms a ball. Add a little more half-and-half if needed.
On a floured surface, using a floured rolling-pin, roll the dough out into a rectangle of about 8 by 10 inches and about 1/8 inch thick. Use a knife to square off the edges and reserve the extra dough. Using a knife or a pasta cutter, cut the dough crosswise in thing strips, about 1/4 inch wide. Gently transfer the strips to an ungreased baking sheet, keeping the strips straight and leaving 1/4 inch between. Repeat with any remaining dough.
Bake for 17 minutes, or until the ends of the straws are barely browned. Check after 12 minutes and see if the pan needs to be rotated. Let cool.