Another oldie from the drafts file! Again – no photo!
I have to thank Sue Santer for this cheese straw recipe. I went to a hen night at the weekend where everyone was raving about her cheese straws and when I managed to grab one myself, I could totally understand why – they are absolutely delicious and really light and flakey. The secret is the cheese sauce!
Sue told me she uses the pots of cheesy pasta sauce which I didn’t have so I’ve included my recipe for a basic cheese sauce here. I use the garlic and herb cream cheese but you could use the plain stuff too. My other tweaks are Dijon mustard instead of a pinch of English mustard powder and the addition of cayenne pepper plus, as the cheese is quite salty, I didn’t add any although Sue’s recipe calls for a pinch of salt.
Now for the confession – I completely misunderstood what she had meant. She actually adds half a tub of Bisto Cheese Sauce Granules to her mix……I’m going to try doing it that way next week! But my happy accident aside – I really liked the way these turned out.
The cheese sauce needs to be cool, so you’ll need to make that in advance.
I admit here to being a little eccentric – I blame my Dad! I grew up with him yelling at the TV, mainly during the rugby, particularly if there was a French ref…… Now, I find myself yelling at TV cooks! One of my pet peeves is when they put a big pot of something hot into the fridge to cool down. It’s probably not quite so bad in their huge American style fridges which seem almost empty but most of us have a fridge crammed full of stuff and putting a pot of something hot in there is not only going to lift the ambient temperature of the fridge for some while but is likely to heat food close to the cooling dish. That’s going to encourage bacteria growth. Rant over!
I generally make my cheese sauce in much bigger batches and freeze what’s left over for mac’n’cheese etc. Or, of course, the next batch of cheese straws going forward!
For the cheese sauce:
1 level tablespoon plain flour
50g grated cheddar
30g cream cheese
For the cheese straws:
100g self-raising flour
75g grated strong cheese (I used Cheddar but Red Leicester would work well too)
1 medium egg beaten
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1. To make the cheese sauce, first melt the butter over a low heat in a small pan and then add in the flour. Blend the two together and cook over a low heat for a couple of minutes to cook out the starchy flavour of the flour.
2. Add in a couple of splashes of milk and using a whisk blend into the roux, gradually stirring in all the milk over a low heat until you have a thick white sauce.
3. Add in the grated cheddar and stir through until it is melted.
4. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
5. Heat the oven to 180C and grease a couple of baking sheets.
6. Rub the margarine into the flour.
7. Stir in the cheese, mustard, cayenne and sufficient egg to form a stiff dough.
8. Blend in the cheese sauce.
9. Wrap the dough and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes to stiffen it up.
10. Roll out thinly, cut into strips and place on the baking sheets.
11. Bake for 10 -15 minutes.