Cheddar Cheese Straws are a traditional holiday party fare here in the South. They are cheesy and buttery and usually have a bit of zip to them. Last year, Southern Living came out with a revision of the ‘straw’, instead making wedges that were covered with toasted seeds.
My friend, Pat, made them for our annual Christmas Eve gathering at her house. They were so good and I loved them so much, she copied the page of the magazine so that I could make them myself. Since then, they have been my go-to cheese cracker.
I have modified the Southern Living recipe, just a bit, to suit my own tastes and ease of preparation. First, I used half sharp yellow cheddar and half Vermont white cheddar. I love the tang of Vermont white cheddar and feel it adds to this recipe.
Second, I changed crushed red pepper flakes to cayenne pepper. I have always made my cheese straws with cayenne; to me, this spreads that bit of heat through every morsel of the cracker, rather than having an intense bit hit you.
Also, I think it is much easier to seed the wedges after they have been cut, rather than seed the rounds and then cut them.
These make up so quickly and are so eye-appealing as well as delicious. If you are looking for something new for your party platters, give these a try!
- FOR THE DOUGH:
- 5 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
- 5 ounces Vermont white cheddar cheese
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and softened
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons half-and-half
- FOR THE TOPPING:
- 1 egg white
- 1 teaspoon water
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds, roasted and salted
- ¼ cup sunflower kernels, roasted
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Pulse first 6 ingredients in a food processor at 5-second intervals until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Add half-and-half, and process 10 seconds or until dough forms a ball.*
- Divide dough in half.
- Roll each half into a 9 to 10-inch round.
- Transfer rounds to parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
- Cut each round into wedges of random sizes, using a fluted pastry wheel. Separate wedges about 1 inch apart.
- Whisk together 1 egg white and 1 teaspoon of water just until foamy.
- Stir together ¼ cup roasted, salted pumpkin seeds; ¼ cup roasted sunflower kernels; 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds; and 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds.
- Brush wedges with egg white mixture and top with seeds.
- Bake 16 to 18 minutes; cool on baking sheets on wire racks 30 minutes. Makes: 24 to 32 triangles.