1⅓ cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
Pinch of ground red pepper (cayenne)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold Cabot Salted Butter
6 ounces Cabot Sharp Cheddar or Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar, grated (about 1½ cups), divided & lightly packed (about 1¼ cups)
PLACE several ice cubes in small bowl or cup and add about ½ cup cold water; set aside to chill. Preheat oven to 400°F. Generously butter two baking sheets or coat with nonstick cooking spray.
PUT flour and red pepper in bowl of food processor. Cut butter into pieces and add to flour; pulse mixture about 10 times until butter is in smaller pieces. (Alternatively, whisk flour and red pepper together in bowl, then work in butter with fingertips.)
ADD 1 cup of cheese and pulse several times to blend. A tablespoon at a time, pulse in just enough ice water to make mixture that appears crumbly but holds together when firmly squeezed (about 4 tablespoons - alternatively, use fork to stir in cheese, then stir in ice water, a tablespoon at a time, to mixture in bowl.) Turn mixture onto work surface and press into rough square.
DUST dough and work surface lightly with flour as needed, roll dough out into approximate 12-inch square. Sprinkle one half of square with remaining ½ cup cheese. Fold bare half of dough over cheese. Neaten edge of rectangle and lengthen into 20-inch-long strip with rolling pin.
CUT strip crosswise into ½-inch-wide straws, with knife or pastry wheel. Place about ½ inch apart on baking sheets.
BAKE for 8 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown, watching carefully toward end of baking time. If straws have adhered to baking sheets, loosen with spatula and let cool.
I changed these Cheese Straws to Cheddar Coins or Chips by rolling the dough mixture into a log using parchment paper. Quick and easy to make. The log should be about 12 to 16 inches long depending on how large the "coins" you want. Once the log is formed I slice the log crosswise with a sharp knife making 1/8 round coins or chips. Place these on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 12 to 14 minutes in a 400 F oven (golden brown). They can cool on the parchment paper. These Cheddar Coins are excellant for picnics, sporting events, or week long hiking treks as they are high energy snacks that do not need to be refrigerated.<br>More cayenne pepper packs a nice punch and I use Seriously Sharp cheddar...which is the BEST!
I have made these with both regular and whole wheat flour, both are delish! Use the Seriously Sharp cheddar...it is wonderful in this recipe!