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 recipe....works great in the machine.
1 LB. EXTRA-SHARP CHEESE, grated
1 1/3 CUPS BUTTER, room temperature
2 TSP. TABASCO
4 SCANT CUPS FLOUR
1 TSP. PAPRIKA
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.