For some reason a bag of Cheezies (the real Hawkins kind – they’re Canadian did you know?) with a bottle of big red wine has become my idea of heaven on a Friday night. (Achievable dreams are important-yes?) It occurred to me awhile ago that I could in fact make something similar. These are easy snacky and a great way to use up the last of the cheese ends (any kind really) in your fridge. I’m not sure revisiting these cheesy bits (which were oh-so-popular in the 80s often made with frozen puff pastry) was altogether a good idea. (It might be better to save this recipe for occasions at which more than one person is present if that person is you.)

They also it turns out make a great nibble alongside a bowl of soup if you need a sort of ballast that doesn’t come in the form of a wedge of bread or enormous biscuit.

Cheddar Straws

These could be made using an aged Gouda asiago or any firm flavourful cheese. For a twist try blitzing a teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary into the dry ingredients in place of the cayenne.

1 1/2 cups coarsely grated old or extra-old cheddar

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup butter chilled and cut into chunks

1/4 tsp. salt

pinch cayenne pepper or paprika (sweet or smoked – optional)

2 Tbsp. milk

Put the cheddar flour butter salt and cayenne into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until well combined and crumbly. (If you don’t have a food processor grate the cheese and toss it with the dry ingredients breaking it up as much as you can with a whisk pastry cutter or fork.) Add the milk and pulse until it starts to come together.

Remove the dough from the food processor and gather it into a ball. Cover with a tea towel and let rest for about 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

On a lightly floured surface roll the dough out into an oval or rectangle about 1/8” thick and cut crosswise into strips that are about 1/4” wide using a pizza wheel or sharp knife. (Alternatively cut the dough into stars or other small shapes.) Transfer to an ungreased cookie sheet and if you like twist them a few times for dramatic effect. Bake for 10-12 minutes until pale golden on the ends.

Makes lots.

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