Nothing says, “You’re in The South at a get together” like homemade Cheese Straws. My grandmother, M’liss Godman Calvert, who grew up in Vicksburg, MS and spent a lot of her adult life in Memphis, TN and my mother, Phyllis Calvert Newell and my aunt, Jean Calvert Bobbitt, loved these – albeit the milder version. We made some in their honor for the party for our grandson Austin’s Baptism at our son’s in-laws’ house in Virginia and everyone raved about them. They’re rich with a little kick. They make great snacks. And, they’re really easy to make.
Makes about 10 dozen
1½ cups Butter, softened
1 lb Extra Sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded – I prefer to use ½ lb Tillamook Extra Sharp Cheddar and ½ lb Dubliner Irish Cheddar
1½ tsp Salt
½ to 2 tsp Cayenne – I like mine really spicy, so adjust the heat to suit yourself
½ tsp Paprika – use Sweet Paprika for a mild flavor Hot Paprika for an extra kick
4 cups All-Purpose Flour
Beat first 5 ingredients at medium speed with a heavy-duty stand mixer until blended. (Note: If you don’t have a stand mixer you can use a handheld mixer. Just divide the ingredients in half, and work with two batches.) Gradually add flour, beating just until combined.
Option 1: Combine ingredients as directed; chill dough 2 hours. Shape dough into 4 (8-inch-long) logs; wrap each in plastic wrap, and chill 8 hours. Cut each log into 1/4-inch-thick slices; place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
Option 2: Use a cookie press with a star-shaped disk to shape mixture into long ribbons, following manufacturer’s instructions, on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Cut ribbons into 2-inch long pieces. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.