Just thought I’d post about my revisiting my Late Night Cheese Sticks recipe (otherwise known as Cheese Straws). I made them again this weekend and I really liked the way they turned out – although alot of that was not entirely intentional!
I used both shredded cheddar and parmesan – the cheddar incorporated into the dough, and the parmesan rolled on the outside. I also threw in some poppy seeds and bandhania (culantro), with mustard powder instead of mustard. The recipe can take much variation, depends on what you feel like. Originally, I wanted to get 2 different cheese experiences, not just with different types of cheese, So when I rolled out the dough, I sprinkled a handful of parmesan over the top before the last few rollings. The cheese was not completely embedded into the dough but that’s the way I wanted it. I wanted some crispy cheesy bits on the outside of the cheese sticks, as well as good cheese flavour inside. And they did come out pretty good, and very nicely textured, but that’s not the “great” variation that merits a post.
That recipe, for the record, makes many cheese sticks. Enough for a party. Seriously. And since it was just me, sister-the-elder, the niece and the old-enough-to-eat nephew (the 3 month old didn’t factor in as much as he could drool and give you hard looks)…I put half the dough away, wrapped in waxed paper and popped into a zip-top bag. And today was the revelation. Yesterday, I had rolled out the dough already before I decided to refrigerate it. There was already parmesan sprinkled all over the top. So I just rolled it up into a block and popped it in the fridge. There were now several layers of parmesan in the dough. Mmmm. So, this is what you should do -
- Mix the dough as per the recipe, and roll out one-third of the dough to 1/2 cm thick.
- Sprinkle a handful (1/2 cup) of shredded parmesan all over the top of the dough, then fold the dough carefully over and over (at least 5 times) until you have a small brick. Repeat for the remaining portions of the dough.
- Wrap each portion in waxed paper, place them inside a resealable plastic bag and refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight.
- Preheat overn to 375 deg F. Spray/grease baking sheets. Use one brick at a time, leave the others in the fridge to stay firm and cool.
- On a lightly floured surface, press or roll out a brick to a rectangle, with the short side about 6 cm, to about 1 cm thick. Using your big sharp chef’s knife, in one smooth rocking motion, carefully slice the brick into 1/4-1/2 cm thin strips (almost like a julienne). The dough should be firm enough after the refrigeration to allow easy handling this way – and it is much easier than rolling out flat and cutting into strips.
- Place the strips on the baking sheet, with 1cm space between them and bake for about 15 minutes till golden (brown on the bottom) and crunchy.
You can see from the photo that the texture is different from the previous version. The layers with the cheese make for a lovely flavoured and extra crunchy cheese stick, with exactly the double burst of cheese I was looking for. And the little brown bubbles of baked cheese are beautiful and delicious.
Yum. Who cares about sinus allergies…sigh…
Postcript: the niece (4 years old) asked when she was leaving, “Aunty can you put some in a napkin for us to take home in case we get hungry?” I told her I was putting them ALL in a bag for them. “Aunty can you write down how to make this in case we want to make it home?” (Lilandra has taught her about recipes, following instructions and measuring things. She can crack an egg!)
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