It was several months ago that I first saw these cheese straws on Smitten Kitchen, and after my first bite, I couldn't believe I had waited so long to make them! I knew I would love them - I mean, what's not to love?! I just had no idea I would love them so very much. These were the first cheese straws I've ever had believe it or not, so I have no basis of comparison, but they are amazing.
These cheese straws are incredibly crispy, but not crunchy - a very important distinction. The cheese flavor is very prominent, they are perfectly flaky, and though buttery they are not at all greasy and they are as easy to make as a biscuit!
I made a half batch, because I didn't have enough cheese to make a full one, and I haven't yet decided whether that is a good thing or not. On the one hand, they are so delicious I can't stop eating them. On the other hand, they are so delicious I can't stop eating them! Quite the predicament, I tell you. One thing is sure, these will be making regular appearances in my house from now on.
1 1/2 cups (about 6 oz) very finely grated extra sharp white cheddar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into several pieces and softened
3/4 cup unbleached white flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon milk (or heavy cream or half and half)
Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine cheese, butter, flour and salt. With your fingers, work the butter in until it is evenly distributed and you have a crumbly mixture. Add the milk, and again using your fingers, rub all of the ingredients together until they form a ball. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and roll it out to about 1/8 of an inch thick. Using a pastry wheel or a sharp knife, cut the dough into strips 1/4" - 1/3" wide. Place them gently on a parchment-lined baking sheet about 1/4" apart. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet as necessary, until the straws are tinged with golden. Let them cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer them on the parchment to a cooling rack to cool completely.