Prep 30 mins
Cook 10 mins
A favorite for Christmas gifts and cocktail parties. The rice flour helps the texture of the straws, it gives them a nice sandy texture, like a good shortbread. If you cannot find rice flour, you can use just regular all purpose flour. You can either use margarine or butter to make these - I use Land O Lakes 80% Margarine because it results in a better product. Please see the notes below for a discussion re: butter vs. margarine and why I use margarine in this recipe.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1⁄3 cup rice flour
- 1 1⁄4 teaspoons colman's dry mustard
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 (10 ounce) packagecracker barrel extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 4 ounces margarine or 4 ounces butter, softened to room temperature
- NOTES: These freeze well, but you must re-heat them for 3 to 4 minutes in a 350 degree oven before serving or they will not be crispy.
- If you want the straws to be mild, just use 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne; 1/2 teaspoon for regular (slightly spicy), or you can add more if you like them really spicy - 1 teaspoon will make them very spicy, and probably too hot for kids. I usually use 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne.
- The rice flour helps the texture of the straws, it gives them a nice sandy texture, like a good shortbread. If you cannot find rice flour, you can use just regular all purpose flour.
- I find that I get a better final product if I use margarine - I use Land O Lakes 80% Vegetable Oil Margarine in this recipe. The straws made using margarine hold their shape better, are crispier, and are less fragile once baked. Also, the dough made with margarine is much easier to press out of the cookie press. On a health note, margarine has trans fats in it (2.5g per tablespoon), and butter has a lot of saturated fat (7g per tablespoon), so make your decision accordingly - these are a special occasion treat which I make infrequently, so I don't worry too much about using margarine here.
- DO NOT use the kind of margarine which comes in a tub, or any margarine with less than 80% vegetable oil - these types of margarine have a lot of water in them, and they will ruin the consistency of the straws.
- The dough for this is pretty stiff and thick - when it is done it will be like a shortbread dough - it will not be a squishy, stretchy mass that sticks together in one uniform ball. I have posted a photo of the dough when it is done being mixed so you can see what it should look like.
- You can make the dough ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for a couple of weeks or freeze it for up to 3 months.
- If you refrigerate the dough, it will be very hard when you take the dough out of the fridge (this is especially true if you have made the dough with butter), and will need to sit out on the counter for at least 8 hours before you will be able to put it through a cookie press, so plan ahead!
- You can either use a cookie press to press out "straws", or you can roll out the dough and cut it into strips.
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- If you cannot find rice flour and are using just all-purpose flour, make sure to use a total of 1 1/3 cups plus 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour.
- Sift the 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of flour, rice flour, dry mustard, salt, cayenne & garlic powder together into a bowl.
- In a Kitchen Aid mixer, mix together the cheese and the butter on low, mixing for 10 minutes to cream together.
- Using the dough hook, gradually add in the flour mixture, mixing on medium-low. Mix well between each addition and scrape down the sides of the bowl so the flour is incorporated into the dough (I add the flour in 4 portions).
- Mix until the dough comes together - see the posted photo in the "photos" section of this recipe to see what it should look like. It doesn't have to form one single ball, but it does need to come together, and most of the dough should have come off the sides of the mixing bowl.
- You can either use a cookie press using the star disk to form strips, or roll the dough out to a 1/4 inch thickness and Use a pizza wheel or a knife to cut the dough into 1/2" by 4" strips.
- Place a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet, place the straws on the parchment with 1/2" of space between them. If you have rolled and cut the dough, pierce each straw with the tines of a fork.
- Bake at 375ºF on the middle rack of the oven for around 10 to 12 minutes. The cheese straws should be barely beginning to brown when you remove them from the oven. Everyone's oven is different - some run hotter than others because many ovens are not calibrated properly. Start checking the straws at 8 minutes. In my oven they usually take 11 minutes.
- Let the straws cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then place the straws on a rack to cool. If you try to put the straws on a cooling rack immediately after you take them out of the oven, they may break while you're trying to transfer them from the sheet to the rack.
- These can be kept in an air-tight container for up to a week, or you can freeze them for up to 3 months. If you do freeze them, return to room temperature and heat for 3 to 4 minutes in a 350ºF oven before serving.