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Tag: crackers

Snack Upgrade: Cheese Straws Go to Finishing School

These cheese straws are pretty heroic: rich, crispy, and totally cheesy. Think turbocharged Cheez-Its. They’re the perfect thing to bring along to a dessert-centric after-dinner birthday party like the one Mr. T and I are off to this evening. I’ve found with years of throwing parties of all sorts of permutations that even the sweetest occasion needs some savor. These play well with drinks of any variety, are compulsively munchable, and will provide a welcome salty contrast to things like birthday cake.

The original recipe, from The New York Times‘ Kim Severson, calls for orange cheddar, and I’m sure they make for an excellent cheese straw.  However. I am both enough of a snob to look slightly askance at orange cheddar and enough in the thrall of Julia Child to know that Gruyère can make anything better. As for the Parmesan, well… because Parmesan! Honestly. Along with a more varied slate of cheeses, I also bumped up the supporting cast of spices, all of which add focus and depth to the different strands of cheese flavor.

The dough is simple and short and comes together quickly. The critical issue here is temperature. The original calls for either extruding the straws with a cookie press or rolling them by hand. The former is fine, IF you’ve got a cookie press, but the latter seems to me a recipe for melty frustration and sticky disaster. Thus, we borrow a temperature management technique from the perfect sugar cookie recipe and pop the rolled dough into the freezer for a few minutes.

This makes all the difference in the world and enables the production of long, slender wands of cheesy deliciousness that won’t put the baker completely round the bend trying to get them onto baking sheets.

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Those Crackers You All Liked?….

PeacanGorgCrackers

Here are the blue cheese, toasted pecan crackers I served. A big thanks to Paul for helping me make these.

They are from Martha Stewart’s ever-handy and must-have “Hors D’Oeuvres Handbook.” It’s a fantastic collection of tiny amuse nibbles.

I adjusted the recipe. Instead of a typical Danish blue cheese, I made this with gorgonzola dolce. Luke and I were trying to maintain a semi-trattoria feel to the party so I thought it necessary to add the cheese of My People. They are neat, flavor-packed, sandy little morsels, easy for any party. You can make the dough in advance and it keeps in the freezer for a few months.

Thanks, Martha. Love the book. Does anyone else have a default tome they turn to for appetizers?

Recipe is below the fold.

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