My mother-in-law makes cheese straws every year around the holidays and they are one of my favorites. I suppose they must be everyone's favorite because they are her most requested recipe! What a great way to start December!!
Not only are these tasty but they come with a story. Before she retired, Diane worked with a lady who would bring this recipe to work to share. She quickly found out that her colleague's mother was the master behind these little snacks and kept telling her friend that she wished she could learn to make them. Eventually, her mom invited Diane over for lunch to show her how to make these cheese straws.
So, complete with a nice luncheon, she was given the recipe and a walk-through. I just keep thinking this sounds like an experience we should all be able to book from the Southern Living magazine ad section. We should all start having "recipe lunches" with someone who cares to learn our recipes.
This recipe includes a couple of ingredients that I never really use otherwise, Crisco and margarine. You know it's a yummy holiday treat when you set aside your food philosophy to enjoy it once a year. I have not tried substitutions and I'm listing all the ingredients just as she has them to stay true to the finished product. My theory is based on the fact that I rarely get to eat these so I want to enjoy them the way I remember the original. I do eventually want to try a version using coconut oil for Crisco and butter in place of margarine - will keep you posted!
16 ounces Kraft extra sharp cheddar cheese
1.5 sticks Land-O-Lakes margarine
3/4 cup Crisco
1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne pepper
3 cups White Lilly self-rising flour
Oil for greasing baking sheet
Stand mixer or lots of strong hand muscles to mash all ingredients together by hand
Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature. Leave the cheese, butter and Crisco out of the fridge for several hours prior.
Break apart cheese into chunks in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Run the mixer on low to break up the cheese.
Add margarine in pieces to the cheese and continue to mix.
Add Crisco in spoonfuls and continue to mix.
Add cayenne pepper and keep mixing
Sift flour, one cup at a time, into the cheese mixture. Let each cup fully incorporate before adding more.
Form the dough into log-shaped pieces to fit into the press of choice. *If you don't have a cookie press/gun you could roll the dough into long bread-stick like shapes to bake.
Rub the surface of the baking sheet with oil
Pipe the dough into long ribbons or 1 continuous ribbon - back and forth across the pan
Bake for 20 minutes and remove from oven
Cut into desired lengths while still hot. I recommend something around 2 inches.
Move to cooling rack until cooled.
Enjoy with happy hour!
I'm not only saying it becasue I love sparkling wine - but these are very tasty with bubbles.