Cheese straws have been a party food staple of every generation in my family, though we all seem to make them differently (and some of us cheat and simply buy them). After all, what’s not to love? They’re all savoury, buttery, cheesy deliciousness. They’re elegant but not fancy, hearty but not filling. And they even look good in your hand if you’re waving it around to make a point. Just me?
The version that I’ve been making for years is a variation on the one my mom makes, and I recently updated it from cheddar to gruyere and omg, it’s so good, it almost made me cry. Hope you agree.
Recipe: Gruyere Cheese Straws
Recipe by Joanne Sasvari / plumandpeper.com.
Makes about 2 dozen
1/2 lb gruyere, swiss, emmental or cheddar cheese
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temp
1 ½ cups + 2 Tbsp unbleached flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 pinch nutmeg (omit if using cheddar)
¼ cup water (cool room temp), more if needed
Milk or cream for brushing on top
Grate the cheese on the big holes of a box grater.
Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy. With the mixer running on low speed, add the grated cheese a handful at a time, setting aside one handful to sprinkle on top later, continuing until it is well mixed in.
Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg until well blended.
Keep the mixer running on low speed, then add the flour mixture in thirds, sprinkling in the water a bit at time, adding a bit more if needed. Keep the mixer going until the mixture clumps into a sturdy dough. Turn it onto a board and knead a few times until it is smooth and firm.
Wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap and set aside to rest for at least one hour at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 310°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roll out dough in a rectangle about ½ inch thick, or a bit less, and roughly 6 inches wide and 12 inches long, or whatever size takes your fancy. Trim the jagged edges. Gather the extra bits into a ball then roll and slice until you’ve used up all the dough.
Brush the rolled-out dough with milk, sprinkle with cheese then slice into straws. (I find a straw that’s 5 inches long and just over ½ inch wide is ideal, but you do you.)
Arrange on the lined baking sheet with a bit of space in between each straw. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until golden and firm to the touch, rotating pan partway through if they are baking unevenly. Cool on a wire rack.
These are best served the day they’re made, but in a pinch will keep in an airtight container at room temp for a few days or in the freezer for a few weeks.