Southern-Style Savory Cheese Straws or Wafers
This easy, Southern classic recipe is the ultimate expression of hospitality. Whether served as a snack to weary travelers or as an after-school treat, this savory delicacy is sure to impress your friends and family.
- 1½ cups butter, softened
- 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (I used extra-sharp, aged Vermont cheddar)
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1-2 teaspoons ground red pepper (less if you don’t like too much heat)
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat first 5 ingredients at medium speed with a heavy-duty stand mixer until blended. Gradually add flour, beating just until combined. For a traditional cheese straw, you can use a cookie press with a star-shaped disk to shape mixture into long ribbons on parchment paper-lined baking sheets and cut ribbons into 2-inch pieces. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
- For cheese wafers, rounds, triangles or squares, combine ingredients as directed and chill for an hour.
- Shape chilled dough into logs about 1 inch around. Wrap each log in plastic wrap. With the dough rolled in the plastic wrap, roll until you have a smooth, long round tube. For round wafers, chill the tube of dough in the plastic wrap for 8 hours or until ready to bake. Remove plastic wrap and cut into ¼-inch slices. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
- For triangles, flatten one side of round tube of dough wrapped in plastic on a counter or baking sheet. Turn dough a third of the way over and flatten that side. Turn to the last third and flatten to form a triangle. Keep turning and flattening until you are satisfied with the triangular shape. Sides can be smoothed and edges sharpened using your fingers. Chill dough in the plastic wrap on a flat baking sheet for eight hours or until ready to bake. Slice and bake per directions above.
- For squares, use the same dough flattening method on all four sides to make a square shape. Chill, slice and bake as directed.
- After baking, remove to wire racks to cool. Store in an airtight container.
- This recipe will yield 150 to 300 small wafers depending on size, less if you are making cheese straws.
- Note: The dough tubes, wrapped in plastic, can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, then sliced and baked as needed. The wrapped dough tubes can also be stored in an airtight container in the freezer and pulled out at a moment’s notice for any entertainment emergency.