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a number of criteria

June 10 2010 by Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Uncategorized » 17 comments

cheese straws

There are a number of criteria for selecting a perfect party food, don’t you think?  For starters, it should require only one hand to eat it and, relatedly, should not require a plate.  In most cases, this rule applies because your other hand is occupied by a beverage.  I could also see one employing her second hand to wield a camera, hold a kid, shake a stranger’s hand, high five a friend’s hand, flash a thumbs up across the room (I do this; I say goodness and whoopsie and you don’t say, too—now you know), hold a hand of cards, gesture wildly.  You get the picture — party food, at its best, is one-handed (and plate-less).

Cheese Strawsmosaic21e70e110d6fe4f56ac7c65a124eed85be6c4f90

Second, and almost as important as the uni-hand feature, a perfect party food should be pretty.  Beautiful, breathtaking, stunning, even.  This is not the time for your favorite slap-dash dinner (which, incidentally, very likely requires two hands and a plate, or a bowl at the very least).  This is not the time for a monotone palette of brown and beige (ahem, I should really follow my own rules).  This is the time for color and flair.

Cheese Straws

Third, it should be delicious.  Of course.

Cheese Straws

These cheese straws easily satisfy all three criteria.  (1) One handed: check.  In fact, you really only need two fingers—a thumb and an index finger, pinched together.  (2)  Pretty: why I should say so!  Standing on end in a variety of drinking glasses—a juice glass, a tumbler, a stemless flute, and  the list goes on—you’ve got a spiky bouquet that catches the eye.  (3)  Delicious: oh, yes.  I hope I’m not doing these straws a disservice by likening them to Cheese-Its (or is it Cheez-Its?), but I can’t help myself.  They’re so much more honest though: all that’s going on here is flour, butter, salt, milk, cheddar (the sharper the better) and a healthy pinch of cayenne.  Simply put, they hit all the right notes: savory, salty, rich and spicy.  They’ve got a delicate crunch and you can’t help but reach for another.

Cheese Straws

I made these on Saturday for my friend Maggie’s bridal shower.  My friend Brynn and I did all the cooking (you can see some of the other things we made here!) and, of the things I made, these straws were my favorite.  So long as we can discount the tiny strawberry shortcakes, that is.  More about those very soon.

Cheese Straws
Adapted from Gourmet

Perfect party food should also be plentiful.  I suggest you double the batch — you won’t be sorry.

Yield: about 2 dozen straws

1/4 pound coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (1 1/2 cups)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon salt
Rounded 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.

Pulse cheese, flour, butter, salt, and cayenne in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add about half of the milk and pulse until dough forms a ball.  Add additional milk, if needed (I used almost the entire 1/4 cup).

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 12- by 10-inch rectangle (1/8 inch thick). Cut dough with a lightly floured pizza wheel or lightly floured sharp knife into 1/3-inch-wide strips. Carefully transfer to 2 ungreased baking sheets, arranging strips 1/4 inch apart. (If strips tear, pinch back together.)

Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until pale golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool completely on baking sheets on racks, about 15 minutes.

17 comments so far. »
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  1. Jessica @ How Sweet says on June 10 2010 at 2:33 pm:

    Those are just look scrumptious!

  2. Half Assed Kitchen says on June 10 2010 at 2:56 pm:

    Mmm. Cheesy and tasty. Lovely photography too, as usual.

  3. Charmaine says on June 10 2010 at 3:05 pm:

    I love good cheese straws, but I’m not sure about the spicy. It sounds tasty otherwise! definitely on me list to try!

  4. Janae says on June 10 2010 at 4:17 pm:

    These look amazing, and I can’t wait to try them! The pictures of the other things you made for the party were very pretty, as well :)

  5. Lisa (AuthenticSuburbanGourmet) says on June 10 2010 at 9:39 pm:

    What a PERFECT party snack! You did a great job – this is a must try for me.

  6. lindsay says on June 11 2010 at 4:51 am:

    you make it look too easy!

  7. Maddie says on June 11 2010 at 11:18 am:

    Haha…I second Lindsay’s comment above. :) So true!

    I have yet to conquer party cocktails and adorable single-handed appetizers, so this is inspiring me to get my act together and throw a soirée!

  8. heather @ chiknpastry says on June 11 2010 at 11:46 am:

    oh how i love cheesestraws. and i lauged at the cheez-its comment – they are good, but you know they’re so bad! i had a big ol’ handful the other day b/c a winery had them as their “palate-cleanser”. not sure that worked… ha ha

  9. Whitney says on June 11 2010 at 3:04 pm:

    Wow do these look wonderful! You are too amazing.

  10. Emily says on June 12 2010 at 9:31 am:

    Where did you get your glasswhere! I love them and I cant find anything like them anywhere!
    And these do look delicious!!!

  11. Sues says on June 12 2010 at 2:14 pm:

    I totally agree with your criterion for party food. These look so perfect and fun!

  12. Barbara says on June 13 2010 at 5:10 am:

    Yum on those skinny cheese straws! I’m coping the recipe now….

  13. Shaheen says on June 14 2010 at 9:10 am:

    I love cheese straws! They are so addictive that I have to make extra just to nibble on while I make the other things.

  14. Kristin at The Kitchen Sink says on June 15 2010 at 12:22 pm:

    Thanks, guys!

    Emily: The glasses are from CB2. I love them too.

  15. Not Just Apples says on June 16 2010 at 4:23 am:

    these looks phenomenal! i made some cheese straws once before but they were too greasy, i’ll definitely be trying out this recipe!

  16. Ashley says on June 21 2010 at 9:12 pm:

    I lovvvve these cheese straws. I made them not too long ago and they were really addictive!

  17. [...] then called on The Kitchen Sink Recipes to make these cheese straws, which were cheesy and spicy and [...]

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