Colder weather means spending more time hanging out inside with friends. Do you have a go-to snack for guests? Today, Melina from Licking the Plate shares her secret for cheese straws that look impressive but are easy to prep. Here’s how to make them…

Cheese Straws
by Melina Hammer of Licking the Plate

It’s a great thing when you can present something fantastically tasty to your guests and not sweat the making of it. Here to the rescue is this puff pastry cheese straw recipe. These savory, flaky bites make it look like you made magic in the kitchen—and only you and I will know it was a total cinch. You may choose to use just cheese as a topping, or to add other options, such as poppy seeds, cayenne, nutmeg, black pepper, paprika, sesame seeds…it’s up to you.


Recipe: Cheese Straws

You’ll need:

1 package (14 oz) quality puff pastry (I use Dufour)
1 1/2 cups finely shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 tsp cayenne, optional (or other topping of your choice)
1/4 tsp nutmeg, optional (same as above)
1 egg, lightly beaten, for brushing
sea salt and fresh pepper
lour for dusting

Tools: You’ll need a rolling pin, cheese grater, two baking sheets, parchment paper and sharp knife.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to a rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. If you’re using cayenne and nutmeg (or other spices, like paprika or poppy seeds) add them in with the cheese and mix thoroughly to combine. Dust excess flour off pastry and paint egg wash over the surface. Tip: I work on a flour-dusted sheet of parchment paper, so when I need to transfer the dough, it’s already on parchment, which makes things easier.

Sprinkle 2/3 of the cheese mixture onto bottom half of pastry. (See grid, above.) Fold top half down over cheese-sprinkled half and press gently with the flat of your hands to seal entire surface. Transfer to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Roll dough to 1/8-inch thick, again a longish rectangle. Brush pastry with egg and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Add freshly cracked pepper and sea salt to taste. Gently and evenly press rolling pin along dough to embed toppings.

Use a sharp knife to cut dough into 1/4-inch wide strips. Twist, holding both ends, into spirals. A tip: If the pastry sags or stretches at any point, pop it in the fridge for 20 minutes to chill so you can work it and it will stay in place for the cutting, twisting, etc. Repeat with remaining strips, spacing them 1/2-inch apart on two parchment-lined baking sheets.

Preheat oven to 375F. Chill cheese straws for at least 20 minutes before baking to ensure they keep their shape. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden, rotating trays halfway through. Cool fully on wire racks and serve with aperitifs! I also like to serve my cheese straws with a dipping sauce, like harissa mayonnaise. Cheese straws may be stored for one week in an airtight container at room temp.

Thank you so much, Melina! These look delicious.

P.S. More recipes, including the best party cocktail and rosemary parmesan popcorn.

(Photos and recipe by Melina Hammer. Thanks to Caroline Donofrio for helping with this series.)