Cheese straws are very simple and very versatile. You can use them for picnics, parties and snacks. Most children love them and most adults do too, even if they won’t admit it because they are on a low carb diet!
These are quite mildly cheesy as I made them with kids in mind. You could use a stronger cheddar or a different hard cheese if you wanted a cheesier taste, or a pinch of chilli powder and some black pepper if you are looking for a more sophisticated version.
This is a very easy recipe for children to help out with making too.
You can make the pastry the day before, wrap it and store it in the fridge and just roll it out and bake it on the day. Once baked they do seem to store well in an airtight container so should keep for several days.
This recipe makes a large quantity of cheese straws, so if you don’t need so many, halve the quantities and use half the egg in the pastry and the other half to glaze.
450g plain flour
150g lard or white vegetable fat
½ teaspoon mustard powder
125g cheddar cheese, finely grated
25g parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 egg, beaten
Sieve the flour into a large bowl and rub in the fats.
Add the mustard powder, grated cheeses and mix well.
Add the egg and enough cold water (probably a tablespoon or two) to mix to a soft but not wet dough.
Form into a ball and wrap in cling film. Refrigerate for at least half an hour or until the next day if required.
Remove from the fridge: the pastry may need a little while to warm up before you can roll it out.
Set the oven to 200ºC and flour some baking trays.
Roll out to about ½ cm thick and cut into strips. I used a pizza wheel to cut the strips.
Place the straws on the prepared baking trays.
Glaze with beaten egg and add a little grated parmesan if required. I did some with cheese and some without:
Bake at 200ºC for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
Leave to cool for a minute or two on the baking tray and then move to a cooling rack to cool properly.
When completely cold store in an airtight container.