Saturday, October 6, 2012

Rosemary Cheddar Cheese Straws ... w/ candied ginger

Yes I said it. Cheese straws. I don't know why these things have a bad rep. I mean... they're doughy, flaky, spicy, CHEESY biscuits of... well, cheese! Tell me what's not winning about that? They're a happy little mid day snack, they're perfect to serve along side a flight of beer and they make for great salad additions! Also one batch of this recipe makes a heck of a lot of cheese straws, especially depending on how thick or thin you decide to make them. They're too easy not to make and they're too good to not try, especially if you're one of those people who thinks they're just the cheapy "go-to" item to throw in a corporate gift basket. Let me change your mind about them.

Also yes... I candied my own ginger and you've got to try that, too. I wanted cheese straws but wanted to make them especially different. So I thought, how about something "spicy sweet" along with the sharp cheddar and rosemary... and ginger is the perfect answer. So let's start there.

Candied Ginger:

  • fresh ginger
  • sugar
  • water
  • pinch of salt
Peel your ginger and chop it as finely as possible. I like to use the back of a spoon to peel.
it should look like that when you're finished peeling.

Then chop it again into small bits and toss it into a non-reactive pot (all that means is a pot that's basically lined with stainless steel or bottomed with copper to retain heat better... it maintains a slower level of heating process and is better for making candies). Fill the pot with just enough water to cover the ginger and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, bring it to a low simmer for about 8-10 minutes. Once that process is complete, drain it and repeat the entire process again.
Once that process is finished, add one cup of water and one cup of sugar into the pot and let it simmer on a medium-low heat until it's piping hot. I let mine sit for probably 15 minutes. Once finished, remove from heat and let it stand. At this point, remove the amount of candied ginger pieces you want for your cheese straws and store the rest in a jar or bowl to be refrigerated.

Cheese Straws:
  • 1 & 1/2 stick butter, softened.
  • 1 cup grated cheddar, preferably very sharp, I used white.
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 or 1 teaspoon crushed cayenne pepper, depending on how much kick you like.
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • fresh or dried rosemary
  • candied ginger pieces
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sized bowl, combine the butter, seasonings and cheddar and blend with your electric mixer. Once well mixed, add the flour one cup at a time and blend really, really well. Nobody likes to get chunks of cayenne and dry flour. Once the mixture is well blended, add your candied ginger pieces. I used my mixer for this part because my ginger was well cooled, but if you're just pulling it off the stove, go ahead and stir it in well by hand.
your dough will look crumbly, and that's A okay.

Here's the fun part! Grease or parchment paper line your cookie sheets, you'll want probably three of them. Now grab little palms full of the mixture and squeeze it together between your fingers to make a funky little sea shell looking shape! C'mon, I know you all remember this technique from Play Dough days! ;) When you squeeze it, it should all meld together nicely, just be delicate in your handling when placing them on the cookie sheets.
Place them side by side on the sheets, closely together is fine because they don't expand at all and bake for 20-25 minutes. Every oven is different and most ovens go through heat cycles so beware, if your first batch takes 25 minutes, that doesn't necessarily mean your second batch will. Just watch them. Once they turn a little golden on the tops, remove from the oven and transfer to a big plate with tongs to cool. Serve immediately with whatever suits your fancy.
 color won't change too much if you're using white cheddar and that's okay, too.
So aren't they great?? I mean, these babies turned out SO much cuter and tastier than I was imagining. And as you can see, they're SO super easy and I think they've just become my regular girls' night contribution. But they'd be good for any occasion really. Give them a try! Be a little more creative and drizzle them with your homemade rosemary simple syrup before serving. Play around with the ingredients a little! If you want to get funky, try goat's cheese and golden raisins...? If you want to stick with a more classic vibe, take out the rosemary and ginger and just use shiny yellow sharp cheddar!

Hate to cook and run but James and I are prepping for our ONE YEAR RECITHERAPY ANNIVERSARY TOMORROW!!
SO excited and beyond grateful for your support!

ps: grab yourself some of those pots down there! they're non-reactive like i was telling you about.

1 comment:

  1. SOOO FANCY!!!! If Dad wasn't on his diet, I think he would love these. :)