In the south, we do a lot of eating. From big meals with family to tea with friends, food plays a major role in our culture. One of the things that you're bound to find on many southern dinner menus is cheese straws. The beauty of cheese straws is that they start with the most basic recipe: cheese, butter, and flour, but from there, you can add any sort of fun additions to make the classic recipe your own.
A few days ago, I got the hair-brained idea to put my own twist on the recipe and create southern pepper jelly cheese straws. We gave little jars of homemade Georgia peach pepper jelly as favors at our wedding, and we still have quite a few jars left in our pantry. Pepper jelly is perfect by itself or poured over cream cheese for a quick appetizer, so why not add a dollop to cheese straws?
Southern Pepper Jelly Cheese Straws
(makes 18-21 cookies)
You will need:
- 6 tablespoons of butter, softened
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
- paprika to taste
- garlic powder to taste
Grate cheddar cheese. Add cheese & softened butter to food processor and mix until combined. In a separate bowl, mix together flour and other dry ingredients. Add flour slowly to butter and cheddar mixer. (Note: this will turn into dough very quickly!)
Remove dough and place between two layers of parchment paper. Place in refrigerator 30-45 minutes until chilled.
Form small balls with the dough. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, 2" apart. Bake for 5-10 minutes, then remove from oven. Using the back of a teaspoon, create a small indention into each cookie (this will create a "thumbprint" effect). Add a dollop of pepper jelly to each cookie and place back in the oven to bake for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on a bakers rack.
*note: your cheese straws will be a lot firmer than the ones seen here...turns out our oven was broken on the day I tried to make these! Never fear...I still ate them, and they were still delightful.*