My first attempt at making these cheese straws was a learning experience. If the dough mixture is too thick it’s a nightmare to get through a cookie press. If the dough mixture is too thin the straw will flatten out as they bake and you’ll end up with a pan full of sadness. But, I did finally get it just right and oh, man, are these cheese straws more than just a little addicting! Crunchy and packed with cheese flavor you can’t eat just one handful.
I dusted the baked cheese straws with cayenne and smoked paprika, but you could try other flavors too. Italian seasoning for example, for a more savory approach. Or perhaps a little Ranch dressing mix.
I think you could also try other cheeses, specially something like a Monterey Jack or Swiss.
1/2 cup butter plus 1-3 more tablespoons, softened
2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, plus more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, plus more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat your oven to 375 F.
Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place 1/2 cup of the butter in a mixer with the paddle attached.
Add 1 cup of the cheese and mix for 5-7 minutes until smooth, scraping down the sides as it goes.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, cayenne, smoked paprika, black pepper and garlic powder.
With the mixer still running, slowly add the flour mixture.
Add the remaining cheese.
Test the consistency of the batter. If it is really thick it might not go thru your cookie press or dessert decorator. If it is too thick, add another tablespoon of the softened butter and mix. Continue until just thin enough to press but not thin and runny.
Spoon mixture into your cookie press with a large star tip on the end.
Pipe out onto the parchment paper.
Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and dust with cayenne and smoked paprika, then transfer to a cooling rack.
My goodness. Putting a bowl of these in front of me requires me to exercise self-control like I’ve rarely been forced to do before. Balsamic pretzel bites are a totally different take on the usual salty, often cheesy, tasty morsels. The balsamic glaze takes about 20 minutes to make, but it’s so worth the effort. You want the glaze to be a bit thick, thick enough that it sticks to the back of a spoon. The tart sweetness of the balsamic vinegar works perfectly on pretzels. You can use any glaze actually. You don’t have to use ‘just’ balsamic. I’m contemplating trying some of the same glazes I use even on the grill, such as peach mango habanero, or sweet and spicy apricot. It often pays to think outside the box!
I love Andean popcorn. It’s somewhat similar to the popcorn we enjoy here in the states in that it has a fantastic flavor, even a hint of a butter. The kernels, though, are different. They do not explode and puff up like popcorn has been grown to do here. Instead, they kinda… just go… pop. No big explosion. No fluffy white insides. The kernel is thin, and very crunchy. You just pop (no pun intended) the entire thing into your mouth and enjoy. I recall street vendors up in the mountains of Peru, in the city of Huancayo, selling bags of popcorn along the street on market day. I think a bag was 10 soles which then was less than a US nickel. Well worth the price! They were fried in screaming hot oil then salted. That’s it. You did (and do) have to be careful of the kernels when they first come out of the fryer, though. They are very, very hot. So let them cool a bit before diving in!
I popped the cancha in the same popper I use for ‘regular’ popcorn. It takes a bit longer as the heat needs to get really good and hot, but it’s well worth the wait. If you can’t find cancha in a South American market near you you can order it using the Amazon link at the bottom of this post. It’s great stuff!
When I made these pickled hot dogs, a little voice in the back of my head kept asking if I was making Vienna sausages. To which I replied, No. They may sort of look like Vienna sausages (if they came in a jar), but oh my, they are something completely different. Pickled hot dogs are just delicious. A little spicy (I added habaneros from our garden), a little garlicky, and a great hit of pickling spice and vinegar. As much as it’s quite alright to just eat these yummy dogs right out of the jar, and I certainly have, they are even better grilled. I grilled them just like regular ole dogs, put them on buns, and gobbled them down. You don’t want to add a bunch of toppings, though. You don’t want to bury the great pickled flavor. And while you’re at it, try a quick and easy batch of grilled pickles!
Bugles are so yummy and addicting.Sriracha hot sauce is also yummy (spicy) and addicting. So I decided to combine the two into a single terribly good snack – Sriracha Bugles. I made these just hot enough for people to notice. Sriracha has such a great spicy flavor, but some folk might be afraid of it. So, I added enough flavoring so it’ll be noticed, but not so hot that people are running around screaming about their mouths being on fire. Of course, if I was making a batch of Sriracha Bugles just for myself I would probably double or triple the amount of seasoning.
Boy, oh, boy, I’m not sure how to even describe these little tasty treats. Sure, they’re chocolatey, and peanut buttery, and crunchy, and sweet. The first time you bite into one of these muddy buddies your eyes will get big and you’ll grin from ear to ear. Caution: You’ll want to eat these with someone else in the room to help you stop or they’ll all disappear. Anita took a batch of these to work and they were gobbled up very quickly.
I’ve never had chocolate Chex before. They’re mighty good! And even better when coated in chocolate and peanut butter!
Melt and combine the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a double boiler. You can also microwave them, in 30 second intervals, stirring often. I prefer a double boiler, I just find it easier to melt everything without over doing it.
Pour melted mixture over the cereal and fold gently to coat the cereal.
Sprinkle the cereal with the sugar. Seal the bowl and gently shake and roll the bowl around to coat all of the cereal.
Place a large piece of wax paper on your countertop. Pour the cereal onto the paper, spreading it out evenly.
Let cereal cool completely before serving. Serve unused treats in the fridge.
Oh boy, don’t even try to grab a handful of these Cheez-It-alianos treats out of my bowl! I want them ALL to myself! These are definitely Cheez-Its taken to an all-new savory level. The Ranch and Italian seasonings go so well with the cheddar cracker flavor. You’ll find yourself licking your fingers and the bowl.
You can substitute pretty much anything you like for the Italian seasonings. The original recipe used hot pepper flakes, but I went for a more savory flavor. Also, if you don’t have Cheez-Its on hand, try this same recipe with oyster crackers!