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Cheese Straws Two Ways — Beginner and Expert

If you're planning an Oscar-watching party, be sure to include cheese straws on the menu. An elegant and crowd-pleasing dessert (or appetizer), cheese straws are wonderful for a party because they can be made in advance. I have two recipes here, both are pretty simple. One builds upon a premade dough, while the other uses a homemade version. To take a look at both and choose the one that suits your needs as a hostess,


Beginner Cheese Straws
From Giada De Laurentiis

1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/3 cup grated Gruyére
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 (11-oz.) container refrigerated breadstick dough (recommended: Pillsbury)
Finely ground sea salt, optional

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 heavy large baking sheets with silicone baking sheets or parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, chop the Parmesan, Gruyere, and rosemary together until coarsely chopped. Set the cheese mixture aside.
  3. Separate the dough strips. Using a pizza cutter or a large sharp knife, cut each dough strip in half lengthwise to form thin strips.
  4. Working with dough strip one at a time, coat each strip with the cheese mixture, pressing very gently.
  5. Twist each cheese-covered dough strip and place onto prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with the salt, if you wish.
  6. Bake until the breadsticks are golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the warm breadsticks to a basket and serve.

Makes 2 dozen.

Expert Cheese Straws
From Gourmet magazine

1/4 lb. coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (1 1/2 cups)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1/2 tsp. salt
Rounded 1/8 tsp. cayenne
1 1/2 tbsp. milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.
  2. Pulse cheese, flour, butter, salt, and cayenne in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk and pulse until dough forms a ball.
  3. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 12- by 10-inch rectangle (1/8 inch thick).
  4. Cut dough with a lightly floured pizza wheel or lightly floured sharp knife into 1/3-inch-wide strips. Carefully transfer to 2 ungreased baking sheets, arranging strips 1/4 inch apart. (If strips tear, pinch back together.)
  5. Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until pale golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool completely on baking sheets on racks, about 15 minutes.

Makes 2 dozen.

Make ahead: cheese straws can be made 2 days ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

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