One of the most shocking entries on my calendar occurred on August 8th. The entry at the top of the day read: make cheese straws/freeze for Christmas.
I’m not sure what moonshine I was sippin’ when I added this event to my calendar, but rest assured August 8th came and went sans cheese straws.
In my defense, I actually remember adding this task to my calendar last year. I was in the throws of the holidays and wished I had planned better by freezing things like cornbread for the dressing, gingerbread dough for cookie decorating, and appetizer essentials like cheese straws. So I planned ahead and scheduled cheese straw production for the dog days of summer.
To further my own defense, I also remember laughing out loud on August 8th. Cheese straws did not get made that hot, summer day.
But, since I find myself quarantined home again this month, week, morning I thought I’d make use of my time and make cheese straws for Christmas. My sick Little seems to have shaken the swine, but not ready to return to school.
Cheese straws have been in my family longer than I have. The simple recipe comes from Mia’s mother’s best friend Ellen. I’ve always called them Nana’s cheese straws after my grandmother, but apparently her neighbor should get the credit. I’m sure Mia could share more history of these must-have holiday bites. Maybe she can also fill us in on why they are called cheese straws as they are really tiny wafers.
Truly nothing could be more simple to make than these savory bites. Since I was blessed with two additional hands this morning, we doubled the batch and made plenty to freeze.
Nana’s Cheese Straws
2 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
1 cup flour (it’s spelled flower on the original recipe! Don’t you love that?)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper (I use a bit more for extra heat)
1 stick margarine (do not use butter)
Sift flour (or flower), salt and pepper. Combine with cheese and margarine. Form into long rolls, wrap in wax paper and chill over night. Slice. Bake 10 minutes at 410 degrees.
I know it seems archaic, but please grate the cheese for this recipe. And be sure to use sharp cheddar.
This recipe dates itself by calling for margarine. But substituting butter is a no no! Don’t be tempted, your cheese wafers will spread. Use room temperature margarine.
Sift the salt, red pepper and flour. Then mix in the cheese and margarine. Mix well with your hands until combined and mixture forms a ball.
Divide dough and roll into long, skinny logs. Roll each cheese log in wax paper.
We are saving ours for the holidays, so I packaged them in a freezer bag. When needed I can pull out one or more logs, slice and bake. Make sure you slice and bake when the dough is still very, very chilled. Allowing the wafers to come to room temp will cause them to spread.
Watch your oven carefully. I usually take a good peek at 8 minutes as the wafers can burn in a matter of seconds. You want them golden just around the bottom edges.
Make some this weekend! You’ll be thrilled to have these on hand during the holidays.
Have an early Merry Christmas!