Cheese Straws

Are you the type who'd rather have a piece of cheese than a slice of chocolate cake? Then try Trisha Yearwood's snack recipe for cheese straws!

By Trisha Yearwood, Monticello, Georgia

WEB EXCLUSIVE

I love cheese! I would eat a piece of cheddar cheese over a piece of chocolate cake any day. That probably makes me a little weird, but if you love cheese like I do, you'll love these cheese straws. My mom used to make them for baby showers and wedding receptions. In 1991, the year my career started to really take off, she made them for me to give as Christmas gifts to everyone who had been so supportive. We laughed about how these cheesy treats were baked in a small kitchen in Monticello, Georgia, and ended up on the desks of some of the biggest movers and shakers in Nashville.

Ingredients

3 10-ounce bricks sharp cheddar cheese, room temperature

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

4 cups sifted all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt

⅛ teaspoon black pepper

⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.

2. Put the softened cheese and butter in the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer. Using the heaviest mixer attachment, beat the cheese and butter until the mixture has the consistency of whipped cream, about 30 minutes.

3. On a sheet of waxed paper, sift 3 cups of the flour with the salt, black pepper, cayenne and garlic powder.

4. Gradually add the seasoned flour to the cheese mixture by large spoonfuls, beating well after each addition. 

5. Add the unseasoned flour until the dough is somewhat stiff but still soft enough to be pushed through a cookie press; you may not need to add all of the flour.

6. Lightly spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Put a portion of the dough into a cookie press fitted with the star tube and press the dough onto the cookie sheet in long strips that run the length of the pan. If you don't have a cookie press, form the dough into 1-inch balls and flatten them with a fork.

7. Bake for 20 minutes. The cheese straws should be golden brown and crisp.

8. With a large knife, cut the long strips into 3-inch lengths. Use a flat, thin spatula or egg turner to remove the cheese straws from the pan.

9. Allow them to cool on a wire rack, then store in a tightly covered container.

Makes 4 dozen

Reprinted from Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen: Recipes from My Family to Yours by Trisha Yearwood. Copyright © 2008 by Trisha Yearwood. Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Crown Publishing Group.