I don't think cheese straws need much of an introduction -- just imagine if Cheez-Its and Goldfish Crackers had a love child (thanks, Meghan, for that lovely description). One thing's for sure, they are a staple at the Southern table, whether it be a wedding, cocktail party, or tailgate. And why not? They are easy to make, feed a crowd, and are just plain addicting.
For entertaining, I'd serve these with a bowl of spicy maple pecans, sliced seasonal fruit (apples, pears, or figs), and an assorted cheese tray. Feel free to play around with the variety of cheese in the dough, as well. Think parmesan, blue cheese, or smoked gouda. The possibilities are endless!
Source: adapted from the original Charleston Receipts
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (you can use a food processor if you don't have a stand mixer), cream butter until smooth. Add cheddar cheese and mix until well combined. Add salt, cayenne pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Lastly, add flour and mix until a soft dough is formed.
In batches, roll out dough to about 1/4" thick. Using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, cut into narrow strips (anywhere from 4" - 6" long). Bake on sheet pans lined with parchment paper for 25 minutes. YIELD: anywhere from 60 - 80 straws, depending on length.
Kitchen tip: Don't use the pre-shredded bagged cheddar here. Those products use wax to prevent the cheese from sticking together, which would defeat the purpose in this dish (same with pimento cheese). To grate the cheese, use either the large holes of a box grater or the shredder disc for the food processor.