Searching for some inspiration for a new recipe, I cracked open the box of cook books and recipe boxes I'd packed away to go in my mother's attic. I did find the krumkake recipe I'd been looking for. But I digress.
Feeling a bit nostalgic, I opened up my Nana's battered grey recipe box and began to thumb through the decades and generations' worth of recipes within. I confess to getting a bit weepy over the memories they evoked of long-ago visits to my grandparents' home in northwestern Connecticut. Early morning smells of homemade brown bread baking in the oven as we ate our oatmeal at the wooden trestle table nestled against the large fieldstone hearth. *sigh* It's been so many years since my grandparents passed away and the cabin's long-since been sold out of the family. Yet, the sight of Nana's spidery writing on those cards brought it all flooding back.
There is a treasure trove of culinary history held within that small gray box; I'll endeavor to share some of it in the coming year. Recipes for my great-grandmother's tea cake and her pie crust recipe which is so amazing my sisters still ask me to send it to them every year (they don't seem to keep too many recipes). Recipes for homemade egg nog and my grandfather's secret chicken marinade. So many recipes to choose from and each with a story.
I'm not sure where this particular recipe came from originally. In fact, I'm not even sure if it's correct! I guess that's one of the hazards of cooking by "feel" or by instincts; the course corrections may not always be recorded for posterity! I tried to make the recipe as Nana wrote it but it didn't seem right to me so, I confess, I searched some recipes online to find ways to tweak it to get the right consistency.
I don't mind telling you that, had I not committed myself to blogging about these delicious little cheese straws, I was so frustrated that I would've gladly scrapped the whole thing! My husband and son are both glad I didn't as they gobbled up the results with gusto! (Yes, I broke my dairy-free rule in order to allow Nik to try a few. Now the challenge is on to find a suitable casein free replacement so I can make these again! When I do, I'll substitute a non-dairy shortening and coconut milk for the other dairy ingredients.)
Here is the recipe as I made it—
2 C flour (I used my GF sorghum blend)
1/4 lb butter (room temp)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 lb shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 1/2 Tbsp milk*
*Nana's recipe didn't call for any liquid but it just seemed too dry and crumbly so I improvised with great success.
Mix all the ingredients until you have a dough the consistency of thick cookie dough. I used my stand mixer but recommend using a food processor instead.
NOTE: Some recipes I found indicate that you can use a cookie press to make uniform sized extruded straws/cookies. I did not have any luck with this method as the dough was a bit too thick for the press.
Do you have a favorite appetizer or snack recipe? We'd love to have you share it —or any other recipes—with us. Just drop us a line and let us know you'd like to be a guest blogger.
Wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy new year!