Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cheese Straws Vs. Cheese Wafers

There are some things that are quintessentially southern:
Sweet Tea
Fried Chicken
Country Ham
Pimento Cheese
Chicken Salad
Cheese Straws.  Or Wafers.
The debate rages on.
Cheese straws are one of those snacks you come to expect upon arrival below the Mason-Dixon line.  They are expected at cocktail parties and dinner parties.  At picnics  and black tie events.
Cheese straws are basically elevated cheese-its.
(I hope saying that didn't just put me on some foodie black-list.)
They are cheesy, crisp, should have a nice spicy bite, and usually leave you with a slight buttery sheen on your fingertips.
I love cheese.  Oooey gooey cheese, stinky cheese, cheese so sharp it makes your cheeks hurt.
And I do love cheese straws, be they in wafer form or not. In fact, I think I prefer them in wafer form.
(Foodie black list.)
I've been putting off making them for awhile, because literally, every southern cookbook has a recipe for them.  And they are all slightly different.  I was knee-deep in recipes.
Finally I just combined The Lee Bros.  and Miss Martha Hall Foose.  That is like some sort of southern super-hero.
I also discovered the joy of shredding cheese in the food processor. I may never go back to a cheese grater again.  Jake thought it was pretty cool too.
We rolled out the dough and used a pretty copper cookie cutter we found in the kitchen.  Made the perfect size wafer for me!
I added extra hot-sauce and red pepper, but they still weren't quite spicy enough for me.  Oh well, guess I'll have to make some more!  And they are super easy to make, so don't put it off!
I made 64 cheese wafers (and I still had some dough left over), which might sound excessive, but I ate about 10 straight out of the oven, and my husband had 7 when he got home, Jake ate about 4--so you can see how quickly these things disappear.
Get rolling!

Cheese Wafers (as inspired by Screen Doors and Sweet Tea)
Makes about 70

1 pound super sharp cheddar cheese shredded (The food processor is a big helper here)
2 sticks of butter softened and cut into pieces
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
2 or 3 dashes of hot pepper sauce
3 cups all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Line cookie sheets with parchment or foil.

Fit your food processor with the grater blade.  Cut the cheddar cheese into blocks that will fit into the food processor feeder tube.  Let the kiddo put his hand on yours while you feed the cheese through the grater.  Go ahead and marvel at how easy that was.

Change out the blade on the food processor to the metal blade.  Add the butter, salt, red pepper and hot sauce.  Pulse a few time to combine with the cheese.  Add the flour and pulse until a soft dough forms.  It'll gather itself into a ball.

Take the dough out of the processor and onto a lightly floured surface.  Roll out into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut out wafers with the cookie cutter.  Let the kid help.  Place wafers onto cookies sheets about 1/2 inch apart.

Bake in oven for about 10-15 minutes until lightly golden.  I kept checking them after 10 minutes.  I also like to check the bottoms to make sure they are not getting too brown.

Try to let them cool a bit before shoving into your mouth.


  1. I love Cheese Wafers! I might not admit that to anyone else,but a party isn't a party in the south without whiskey and wafers..

  2. Courtney Leigh, you are right on the money!