Crispy Party Fingerfood

cheese straws in jar, party food, party recipes, organizing recipes onlineHosting a party and need a quick finger food recipe?  Looking for a snappy quick and interesting side for that bowl of soup or green salad?

Last week when I was making potato soup for dinner, I could not decide what type of bread, roll, or cracker to have with it.  I wanted something a little bit different than our ordinary fare of biscuits, dinner rolls, or variety crackers.

After looking around online and through cookbooks, I saw several “cheese straw” recipes that looked interesting and thought that perhaps this mildly crunchy cross between cracker and bread would be perfect!  Most of them called for puff pastry, though, which I did not have on hand.

Then voila! An option with basic flour and butter ingredients – which I did have!  So, I started with a recipe from Smitten Kitchen and made some adjustments to suit the ingredients I had on hand as well as our family taste preferences.

In about 20 minutes, I had a unique cracker type side to go with our soup, and we had a new favorite recipe.  (And, remember, you can keep all your favorite recipes in one place right here at Dish Dish).

Cheese Straws (printable recipe)

1-1/2 cups finely shredded cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (or stick margarine), softened and sliced
3/4 cup flour (plus a little more)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon milk

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a bowl, combine the cheese, flour, salt, red pepper and garlic and stir.  Add butter slices and use a pastry blender or fork to “cut” the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in the milk and press mixture together until dough can be formed into a ball.

3. Lightly flour a surface and rolling pin; roll the dough onto the surface in an 8-x-10-inch rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick.  With a pizza cutter, slice the dough into thin strips, about 1/3-inch wide (if you have to use a knife for the cutting, dip it in flour to keep dough from sticking).  Carefully place the strips onto an ungreased cookie sheet and leave at least 1/4 inch between strips.  Don’t worry if the dough sags or tears as you transfer them; the straws taste great at any length!

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4. Place the cookie sheet on the middle rack of the oven and bake the cheese straws for 12-15 minutes or until very lightly browned.  Remove from oven and allow to cool on a rack.

unbaked cheese straws, party recipes, vegetarian recipes, soup recipes, online recipe organizer

5. These are great served at room temperature.  Or store them in a sealed container in the fridge for two days (and bring to room temperature before serving).

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While I didn’t try it this time, I think it would be great with a light egg wash brushed over them before baking and some poppy seeds sprinkled on top.  I’ll have to try it that way next time.

These came out looking and tasting great and would be perfect finger food for a party, picnic or potluck, offering just the right blend of spicy savory crispiness.  Have you made cheese straws before? Let us know what you think; we love to hear from you!

Some similar recipes you might like on Dish Dish:
Garlic Bread Fries
Cheesy Twists
Everything Straws

5 Top Edible Holiday Gifts

It’s the gift giving season once again.  Are you having trouble deciding on which gifts to purchase this holiday season?  See our 5 top edible holiday gifts, perfect for making yourself and giving as gifts for neighbors, teachers, community volunteers, or even friends and family!

These edible gifts are so easy to make, require only a few, simple ingredients, and can be made in large volumes so you can give generously this year.  Making edible holiday gifts especially makes sense if you’re on a tight budget and looking for ways to rein in the spending.

homemade hot chocolate mix, edible holiday gifts, foodie gifts, holiday mixes, gift in a jar, mix in a jar, online cookbook 1. Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix
Super easy and inexpensive – include a tag with the printed recipe and directions for the gift recipient.

•  3-1/2 cups sugar
•  2-1/4 cups cocoa
•  1 tablespoon table salt

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except milk, and use a whisk to stir and mix well.  Store the mixture in an airtight container until ready to share.

Fill a decorative lidded jar with the mix, wrap with a ribbon and attach a tag with the printed directions for mixing up a cup of hot cocoa.

 

hot chocolate stirrers, caramel and peppermint stirrers, homemade foodie gifts, gift recipes, online recipe organizer2. Hot Chocolate or Coffee Stirrers
Make a batch of these and tie with pretty ribbon or string for a delightful gift.

•  18 hot drink straws or stirrers (found near coffee filters in the store, usually)
•  9 peppermint swirl candies
•  9 wrapped caramels
•  parchment paper and cooking spray (for baking)

For peppermint stirrers: Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and lightly coat with cooking spray.  Heat oven to 300 degrees F.  Unwrap candies and stagger 8-10 peppermint candies on the baking sheet (don’t bake too many at use or they’ll cool before you can get them on a stick).  Bake for 7 minutes. Remove from oven; stick straw ends into candy using a twisting motion.  Let cool completely, and then peel off the baking sheet.

For the caramel stirrers, simply press one caramel onto the each of each straw.

Wrap the stirrers individually (or in pairs) in a small plastic food bag or plastic wrap and tie with a ribbon or string.  Voila! Ready for giving.

 

close up of chocolate covered pretzels wrapped in gift bag, foodie gifts, edible holiday gifts, DIY food gifts, online recipe organizer3. Chocolate Dipped Pretzels
These take only a few minutes and look like you spent all afternoon.

•  thick pretzel sticks
•  white melting chocolate
•  dark melting chocolate
•  wax paper

1. In separate bowls, melt both the white chocolate and the dark chocolate in the microwave (in 30 to 60 second bursts, so you don’t burn it, stirring in between).  Spread some wax paper out on the cabinet or a baking sheet.

2. Dip some of the pretzel sticks into the white chocolate and lay on wax paper to harden; dip some in the dark chocolate and lay on wax paper to harden.

3. After a couple of minutes (as soon as chocolate appears to be setting), use a fork to drizzle some of the white chocolate over the dark chocolate pretzels and vice versa, for a colorful and festive look.  Once chocolate has completely cooled and set, pick up pretzels, wrap in a plastic foodie gift bag, and tie with colorful ribbon for a quick, easy, delicious gift.

 

holiday cookie mix, foodie gift, cookies in a jar, homemade gifts, DIY cookie mix, organizing recipes online4. Holiday Cookie Mix in a Jar
Press this mix into a jar and cover with a decorated lid for a festive gift with attached baking instructions.

•  One 2-quart glass jar
•  2-3/4 cups flour
•  1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
•  1/2 teaspoon baking soda
•  1/2 teaspoon salt
•  1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
•  1 cup packed light brown sugar
•  1 cup granulated sugar
•  1 cup milk chocolate chips
•  1 cup white chocolate chips
•  1 cup red and green M&M’s mini’s

1. Combine 1 and 3/4 cups of flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.  Combine the cocoa with remaining cup of flour.

2. Pour half of flour-cocoa mixture into jar; press down firmly.  Add half of plain flour mixture and press down.  Repeat this step.

3. Top with brown sugar and then granulated sugar; pressing down each layer.  Top off with chocolate chips and M&M’s.

4. Print baking directions to attach: Blend 2 sticks melted and cooled unsalted butter with 3 eggs, 1/3 cup milk and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.  Stir in cookie mix until well blended.  Drop by tablespoons onto greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until firm.

 

sweet roasted pecans, seasoned pecans, pecan recipes, holiday gifts, recipe organizer app5. Sweet Roasted Pecans (or Walnuts)
Toast up these nuts with sweet seasonings and package nicely for family and friends this holiday season.

•  2 egg whites
•  1 tablespoon vanilla
•  2-1/4 cups pecan (or walnut) halves
•  1/4 cup white sugar
•  1/4 cup brown sugar
•  1/4 teaspoon salt
•  1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees F.  Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet.

2. In a small bowl, combine egg white and vanilla; beat until fluffy.  Fold in nuts and coat them evenly.

3. Combine sugars, salt and cinnamon in a lidded shaker or cup; dust nuts evenly with sugar mixture and spread nuts on prepared pan.

4. Bake until toasted and fragrant, stirring every 15 minutes, for about 1 hour.  Cool on pan, then store in airtight container.

 

You might also want to try these other ideas –  homemade seasonings and rubs, infused vinegars, or some of these popular breads.

Please leave us a comment with your own thoughts, ideas, or suggestions.  We love to hear what you like to make or would prefer to receive.  And remember to save all your favorite recipes along with photos here at Dish Dish in your own online cookbook account.