Baking History

A Taste For The Past

Cheese Straws (Think Spice… …Think Paprika)

Posted by bakinghistory on October 27, 2008

Crunchy savory biscuits flavored with cheese and paprika

Mimi from  Mimi on the Move is the October host for the Think Spice... event which was founded by Sunita of Sunita’s World. Mimi proposed Paprika as the theme of her edition of Think Spice….

My entry is a recipe that seems to have been around for quite a long time and is still very popular—and deservedly so. Cheese Straws are crunchy savoury biscuits that are made with a good amount of cheese, butter, and some nice spice like, as in this version, paprika. Despite their plain looks they are very tasty and hard to stop eating. Paprika pairs well with a good cheese, providing a pleasant warmth that complements the richness of the other ingredients.

I have used a very good, extra-sharp Vermont Cheddar and Hungarian sweet paprika, but Parmesan and hot paprika would work as well, as would also a 50-50 mixture of each. The only important thing is to bake the biscuits well, so that they are dry and crunchy.

From the original recipe by Janet McKenzie Hill

In: Practical Cooking and Serving, 1902—USA

Ingredients:

1 cup (125 g) AP flour

1/2 tsp paprika (Hot or sweet, or a mix of the two)

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup (75 g) butter, cold

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 to 1 cup (50 to 100 g) grated cheese (Sharp Cheddar or Parmesan or a mix of the two)

1-2 tbsp ice water (or as needed)

Place the flour, salt, paprika, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor and pulse briefly to mix everything together. Add the grated cheese and pulse again. Then add the butter, diced, and pulse just until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 1 tbsp water and pulse again, add more water as needed with the machine running until the dough just holds together. Do not overprocess.

Shape the biscuits with a pastry bag or by hand forming small balls and then flattening them with a fork.

Bake in a preheated oven at 375°F for about 10 minutes, until golden. Lower the temperature to 300°F and bake a little longer, until the cookies are dry and crunchy. Cool on racks and store airtight.


4 Responses to “Cheese Straws (Think Spice… …Think Paprika)”

  1. Louise said

    What a GREAT recipe Manuela. Cheese straws should certainly reappear as the quintessential treat it is, and as it was during the time of Janet M. Hill. If I ever get into baking, I would love to participate in one of these events. Think spice sounds like my cup of tea. Thank you so much for sharing, I’m going to “grab” this link if you don’t mind.

  2. Ivy said

    That recipe is a winner – few ingredients, really snappy to put together – what could be bad? It sounds like a nice snack to give with the drinks.

  3. Jude said

    It reminds me so much of churros. I’m liking this much better because it’s baked, though🙂

  4. bakinghistory said

    @ Jude: Yes, they look very similar to churros. Interestingly, in the vintage book in which I found this recipe there is a photo of these and they are shaped exactly the same as I made them, while in other books they are simply shaped as narrow strips.🙂

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