These are basically fresh baked cheez-it crackers in a straw shape, which is a-ok with me. Crispy, cheesy and buttery. The trifecta of deliciousness.

They would make a great party appetizer, but I had no party to bring them to. I made these for basically no good reason except that I saw them on Smitten Kitchen and really wanted to try them.

And I am sure glad I did because they are awesome, and really easy to make. The dough is softened butter, cheese, flour, cream/milk, salt, and red pepper flakes. Food process it up, roll out the dough and cut in strips. The whole deal takes no more than a half an hour. They bake up quickly too, about 15-20 minutes.

I was worried at first when I was making these because the raw dough was not very tasty, and they had a mildly unpleasant smell when they were baking. I am not sure why, maybe it was just all that sharp cheese and butter cooking together. One would think that would smell like heaven, but not really. However, when they came out of the oven I tried one immediately, and there was nothing to worry about.

You could make all kinds of variations of these cheese straws. I would love to try different cheeses paired with different fresh herbs or dried spices.

Recipe follows…

Follow up:

Cheese Straws
Adapted from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Smitten Kitchen

  • 1 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 4 pieces
  • 3/4 cup flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon half-and-half (I used cream, because I had it on hand; milk should work just as well)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a food processor, combine the cheese, butter, flour, salt and red pepper in five 5-second pulses until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the half-and-half and process until the dough forms a ball, about 10 seconds.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into an 8- by 10-inch rectangle that is 1/8-inch thick. With a sharp knife (or a pizza or pastry wheel; both worked great), cut the dough into thin 8-inch strips, each 1/4- to 1/3-inch wide (dipping the knife in flour after every few inches ensures a clean cut). Gently transfer the strips to an ungreased cookie sheet (though I lined mine with parchment), leaving at least 1/4-inch between them. The dough may sag or may break occasionally in the transfer, but don’t be concerned — just do your best. The straws can be any length, from 2 to 10 inches.
  4. Bake the straws on the middle rack for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the ends are barely browned. Remove from the oven and set the cookie sheet on a rack to cool.
  5. Serve at room temperature. Cheese straws will keep in the refrigerator, in a sealed container, for two days.

Easiest dough ever:

rolled out, just be careful as you peel the cut strips off the counter, they are somewhat fragile.

I filled up 2 cookie sheets.

As you can see, that front one is a little squiggly. You could totally form these into cool shapes.