Sunday, December 26, 2010

Spicy Cheddar Cheese Straw Dough

  • I made these yesterday for Christmas day with drinks. The basic cheese straw dough has several variations. I simply rolled it into a log in saran wrap chilled it then sliced off the cookies. I tried it with the pecans and I think the plain is best. This dough can be frozen and then thawed in the fridge. You just slice off what you need. Very rich, very spicy and great with cocktails.

Ingredients

  • 1 (10-oz.) block sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and softened
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons half-and-half

Preparation

Pulse first 5 ingredients in a food processor at 5-second intervals until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add half-and-half, and process 10 seconds or until dough forms a ball.

Note: Dough may be wrapped in plastic wrap, sealed in a zip-top plastic freezer bag, and chilled up to 3 days.

Four-Seed Cheddar Triangles: Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare dough, and divide in half. Roll each half into a 9- to 10-inch round. Transfer rounds to parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Whisk together 1 egg white and 1 tsp. water just until foamy. Stir together 1/4 cup roasted, salted pumpkin seeds; 1/4 cup roasted sunflower kernels; 2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds; and 2 Tbsp. black sesame seeds. Brush rounds with egg white mixture, and sprinkle with seed mixture. Cut each round into wedges of random sizes, using a fluted pastry wheel. Separate wedges about 1 inch apart. Bake 16 to 18 minutes; cool on baking sheets on wire racks 30 minutes. Makes: 24 to 32 triangles. Hands-on Time: 20 min.; Total Time: 1 hr., 22 min., including dough.

3 More Cheese Straws:

1. Spicy Cheddar "Long" Straws: Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare dough, and turn out onto a well-floured surface; divide in half. Roll each half into a 12- x 8-inch rectangle (about 1/8 inch thick). Cut dough into 3/4-inch-wide strips using a sharp knife or fluted pastry wheel, dipping knife in flour after each cut to ensure clean cuts. Place strips on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until edges are well browned; cool on baking sheets on wire racks 30 minutes. Makes: about 3 dozen. Hands-On Time: 15 min.; Total Time: 1 hr., 26 min., including dough.

2. Pecan-Cheddar Buttons: Preheat oven to 300°. Prepare dough, and shape into 1-inch balls. Whisk together 2 egg whites and 2 tsp. water. Dip balls in egg white mixture, and roll in 2 cups finely chopped pecans. Place 1 inch apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake 1 hour; cool on baking sheets on wire racks 30 minutes. Makes: about 4 1/2 dozen. Hands-on Time: 30 min.; Total Time: 3 hr., including dough.

3. Spicy Cheddar Appetizer Cookies: Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare dough, and turn out onto a well-floured surface; divide in half. Roll each half to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with 2 1/2- to 3 1/2-inch assorted star-shaped cutters; place 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake 16 to 18 minutes; cool on baking sheets on wire racks 30 minutes. Makes: 28 (3 1/2-inch) cookies or 72 (2 1/2-inch) cookies. Hands-on Time: 20 min.; Total Time: 1 hr., 38 min., including dough. Note: Position cookie cutters closely together to cut out shapes; dough will be tough if rerolled.

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