Saturday, January 3, 2009

Recipe: The last (cheese) straw

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What is it with me and cheese lately? First, on New Year's Day, an experiment with gougeres (French cheese puffs), which were tasty if a bit deflated. This morning I woke up thinking about two wedges of leftover cheese in the top refrigerator drawer. One was Manchego, the other I have no idea.

Inspired by a recent entry on Macheesmo about his homemade cheese straws, I decided to attempt something similar. Snack food for breakfast? Why not?

Cheese straws with smoked salt
makes about 4 dozen small logs

4 Tbsp cold butter, cut into little pieces
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups (approximately) shredded cheese (I used Manchego and my mystery cheese)
4 Tbsp (approximately) cold water
1 tsp smoked salt

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Put the butter and flour in a mixing bowl and rub together with your fingers until the butter is in pea-sized lumps. You don't want it to be uniform; it should have a bit of texture to it.

Mix in the cheese with your hands until it is all coated with the butter-flour mixture.

One tablespoon at a time, add the water, mixing with your hands as you go. When the dough starts to come together, STOP ADDING WATER and squeeze the dough into a ball. You can let the dough rest in the refrigerator at this point, or you can bake it right away.

Roll out the dough (I did this on a piece of parchment paper) and cut into whatever shapes you like. Sprinkle with the smoked salt. Regular coarse salt will work too, of course. Bake on a parchment-lined sheet pan for 8-10 minutes, or until slightly golden on top. Try mightily not to eat all at once (you will fail, as I have).

Cheese Straws on Foodista

7 comments:

Nick said...

Hey Erika!

Thanks for mentioning me! This is definitely one of my favorite snack foods. In fact, I just made a batch for football today :)

Cheers,
Nick

http://www.macheesmo.com

ericcan said...

I prepared these for breakfast this morning to accompany a Broccoli, Shallot and Fontina Omelet. Very impressive--and so much fun to be making what Erika's making!

Erika said...

I made them this morning too, as part of the elaborate "small plates" dinner party requested by Emery (my 10-year-old as of today!) for his birthday. He doesn't like them, but his friends will. I used pre-shredded grocery store cheddar, though, to save time, and I have to say the results aren't as good. Next time I'll use real cheese.

Alisa@Foodista said...

Oh Erika, this is fabulous!I've been reading through your posts and I haven't had this in a long time!I'd love to guide our readers to your site if you won't mind.Just add your choice of foodista widget to this post and it's all set, Thanks!

Erika said...

Done, Alisa - and thanks for finding me and guiding me into Foodista!

Anonymous said...

A great way to use manchego in cheese straws or little biscuits is to follow this recipe but add a few anchovies and some stoned, chopped olives. I generally put the whole lot, with butter very cold, in a food processor, which blends in the cheese, anchovies and olives quite nicely. You may need to add a little more flour if the mixture is a bit too wet.

Erika said...

Anchovies and olives - great idea! I've taken to adding crumbled bacon and green onions...heavenly. Thanks for the tip!

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