How could I not make this? Seriously, this has my name written all over it. As a kid I was a very picky eater but I have always loved cheese, for a while there it probably made up a significant portion of my diet. It is one of the reasons I could never be a vegan, also I really like meat. But how could anyone give up cheese? It’s like animal lovers who don’t trust people who don’t like animals, I’m not really sure we can be friends if you don’t like cheese.
And now that we know where we stand friendship wise let’s crack open a bottle of Zinfandel to go with these lovely sharp, slightly spicy cheese straws. That rich powerful fruit of the Zin is going to provide the perfect compliment to the sharp cheddar and since Zinfandel is such a powerful wine, but without all the tannins, it will stand up to the spice of the red pepper flakes perfectly.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 1 ½ cups grated extra sharp cheddar
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened and cut into 4 pieces
- ¾ cup flour
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp milk
- Preheat your oven to 350°. Meanwhile in a food processor combine the cheese, butter, flour, salt and red pepper and pulse until it resembles crumbs. Add the milk and process until the dough forms a ball.
- On a lightly floured work surface roll the dough out into a rectangle that is about ⅛ of an inch thick. Using a very sharp knife, I also find it helpful to periodically coat the blade in flour so it cuts through cleanly, cut the dough into even strips. Don’t make them too big; about a ¼ inch wide, they will puff up a little once they are baked.
- Carefully transfer the strips to a parchment lined backing sheet. Use your knife to help you guide them over so they don’t break in half. Leave about ¼ inch room between each strip, you don’t want them touching otherwise they won’t crisp up.
- Bake them for about 12 to 15 minuets until they just start to brown on the ends. Remove from oven and let cool a little on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a wire rack. Serve at room temperature.