Thursday, November 11, 2010
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...The holidays aren't far away and that means it's time to start planning meals and snacks for family and friends who inevitably drop by when there's a long weekend. I've a general idea of what to serve for what will be a nontraditional Thanksgiving dinner and have started formalizing my attack plan for the snacks that I want to have available for visitors. I like to make these cheese straws because they can be prepared well ahead of time and frozen to be baked off as needed. While these are intended as snacks, they are also a wonderful accompaniment to soups, particularly those that are tomato based.
I've also made a batch of Busters which I featured here last year and will be making a tomato jam to be served with a good goat cheese on thinly sliced baguettes. There will, of course, be other treats, but I can relax once these are set to go. I prefer to use an Asiago cheese to make these but you can use any hard cheese that you like. It's best to use a microplane to grate the cheese. If it's too soft put it in the freezer for an hour or so and then proceed. The straws can be shaped by hand or formed with a cookie press if you prefer a fancy more uniform appearance. I've done mine by hand and lightly scored the tops with the dull edge of a knife. Be forewarned that this is a very soft dough and it can be difficult to shape. Refrigerate dough if needed. If you freeze the straws, freeze them in a single layer and then transfer to a storage bag. Baked straws will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days though they will become more brittle as they age. This is a really simple recipe that produces a lot of bang for the buck. I hope you'll give them a try. Here's the recipe which I've adapted from one developed by William-Sonoma.
Cheese Straws...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite and the William Sonoma test kitchen
8 ounces Asiago Cheese, finely grated
12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 large egg
1-3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1) Bring all ingredients to room temperature. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
2) Combine cheese, butter, egg, flour, salt and cayenne pepper in bowl of food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until smooth.
3) Fill a cookie press with the dough according to the manufacturer's instructions and fit with the star-shaped disk. Holding the cookie press at an angle on an ungreased or Silpat-lined cookie sheet, press the trigger twice, dragging the press away to make straws 3 inches long. Space the straws 1 inch apart. To make straws the length of the cookie sheet, continually press the trigger and drag the press away, spacing the straws 1 inch apart. Alternatively, break dough into 60 equal sized pieces and roll until 3-inches long. Place 1-inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
4) Bake until straws are light golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer straws to wire racks and let cool. Straws may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Yield: 60 three-inch straws.
You might also enjoy these recipes:
Tiny Gougeres with Scallions, Parsley and Lemon - She's in the Kitchen
Parmesan Cheese Sticks - Easy Appetizers
Cheesy Pepperoni Bites - The Other Side of Fifty
Basil Parmesan Crackers - The Sweet's Life
Pesto Palmiers - What's Cookin, Chicago?
Pear and Goat Cheese Crostinis - Grillin Fool