November 12, 2011

CHEESE STRAWS......a Southern Delicacy!

I am amazed how people in other parts of the country have no idea what a cheese straw is.  Ask around and see what you find out. Ya'll, it IS a 'Southern Thing'.....especially making your own!

I had planned to blog about cheese straws at some point but am hastened along by my friend, Nathalie Dupree.  Today she posted her cheese straw making video on Facebook and I shared with her my method.  Instead of a cookie press, I use my Simac Pasta Machine....It was a must have piece of equipment for me years ago and I did indeed use it to make pasta....but not any more.  This machine is now most valuable to me for making cheese straws.  You can generate hundreds in no time. Don't have a pasta machine....check out EBay.

Here is my great in the machine.


1 1/3 CUPS BUTTER, room temperature

1 1/2 TSP. SALT
1/2 TSP. CAYENNE or to taste

Using an electric mixer, combine cheese, butter and Tabasco.  Combine dry ingredients and then add to cheese mixture.  Mix until well blended.  Do NOT refrigerate.

Transfer to cookie press fitted with star pattern.  OR to Simac Pasta Machine (in batches) fitted with disk that has 2 straight ridged openings (see photo).  Extrude and cut into desired lengths.  Place on parchment lined baking sheets.  Straws can be placed close together since they do not spread. .

Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.  They should have a slight color change.  Cool completely before storing.  Store in tins.  

TIPS and VARIATIONS:  You should grate your own cheese because grated cheese has an anti-caking agent on it.  Also, I like to use Kraft Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp cheddar in the red foil package.  

Add 1-2 tsp. Dijon mustard (like Nathalie)   OR leave out the paprika and add 1 1/2 tsp. curry powder.  


  1. Cheese straws are a southern thing. I served them to my northern relatives a couple of weeks ago and my niece exclaimed with a smile and a great deal of enthusiasm, "Are these cheese straws?" She said she can't find them up north and has a friend bring her some to NYC when she comes to visit from NC.

    I wish I had your machine to make them as fast as you do Mary. And grating the cheese is so important, just as it is when you are making pimento cheese, another southern favorite. I'm off now to check out Natalie. Every time I think of her I think of Pat Conroy and his cookbook. He has a delightful story about her in the book.