I made these cheese straws last night. And I absolutely couldn’t wait to tell you about them. You see, I’m trying to follow a healthy food habit, eat the right kinds of food at the right time, not eat out a lot and all that. Now this policy works wonders for me when I’m on a protein-rich diet. This obviously means that I try and squeeze in as much of chicken, fish, egg whites, yoghurt, paneer and soya in my daily food regimen as I can and limit the carbs. So instead of having sandwiches as an evening snack at work I now have raw carrots with low-cal dips. And I stare at the computer screen in disbelief as I write this – but I actually enjoy it!
But I know there would come a day when I’ll get bored of the carrot business. A day when I’ll crave for something buttery, something cheesy to go with my dips. And it is on those days I’ll make these Cheddar Cheese Straws. I have picked up cheese straws from every single bakery in Calcutta – they have either turned out soggy or greasy or just not cheesy enough. As soon as you pop one in, the flavours burst in your mouth and the superlative sharpness of the cheddar along with the crispness of the straws numb your senses. You’re transported to a world of cheesy extravaganza. Finally I’ve got the answer to my Cheese Straw quest. You have to make these, you absolutely must. You’ll be missing out on one of life’s delights if you don’t. And if you are on a diet, a couple of them once in a while will definitely not throw it out of the window!
Makes 12 straws
Cheddar cheese, shredded: 150 gm
Butter, at room temperature: 40 gm
Flour: 110 gm
Sea salt: 1/2 tsp
Pepper powder: 1/2 tsp
Red chilli flakes: 3/4 tsp
Milk/Cream: 1 tbsp
1. In a mixer blend the shredded cheese, butter, flour, salt, pepper powder and red chilli flakes till the mixture looks like rubble. Add the milk/cream and blend some more till it takes the shape of a dough.
2. Cut a baking parchment of the size of you baking tray. Dust it with flour and place the dough ball on it. Knead it till there remains no crack and the dough ball is smooth.
3. Now roll out the dough in the shape of a rectangle fairly thin but not so much that it can tear.
4. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into thin strips carefully adjusting some space with the knife between the strips. Place the baking sheet with the dough strips on your baking tray.
5. Preheat oven to 180 degree C and bake for 15 minutes until the straws are slightly puffy. Now whack up the temperature to 200 degree C and bake for another 5-7 minutes till they straws are crispy and golden brown.
6. Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes before pouncing on them. Trust me, those 10 minutes are going to be the longest 10 minutes of your life!
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