14 September, 2016 12:30 PM
We're visiting my cousin Howard and his wife Helen on Kiawah Island, South Carolina. They want to show us the local sites, markets and foods, so I'm excited. On the way back from the airport we stop at The Blackbird Market on St. John's island. They have a good mix of local foods and some gourmet to go and then I notice something I had completely forgotten about-bags of cheese straws, spicy or regular. We buy one of each, get back in the car and I break open a bag. Delicious! I made these when I first opened the Gourmet Grocer. My mom had the recipe and used to make them at home. I can't remember why I quit making them.
At trips end, on the way back to the airport, we stop to buy a bag so I have some in Kansas City. I eat those on the plane ride home, so I decide to make some more when I am home.
I open the Carlson Sisters cookbook my brother had printed with my mom and aunts recipes and there it is, but by my aunt Marjorie, not mom. They shared recipes anyway. I buy the ingredients and put everything in the Cuisinart to mix. That makes me wonder how old this recipe is. Cuisinart's weren't readily available until the early 1970's. Maybe they just used a hand grater and mixer before that. I blend everything together and it looks like wet cornmeal. That can't be right. I blend it more and finally the mix balls up. I force the ball into my cookie press which I have saved from mom and start to pipe them out. All of a sudden I know why I quit making them. The top of the cookie press shoots off before it comes out of the star tip. I go get my other cookie press from mom and try it. It's better, but not much. I have to grip both the front and back of the press to prevent the aluminum caps from flying off. I suppose I could use a pastry bag, but the dough is very stiff and I don't want Popeye arms.
I've eaten that batch and one more and was swearing so much after the last batch I decide to buy a new cookie press. I pick a stainless one-Marcato. This works like a charm, but still requires some strength.
Southern Cheese Straws
1 3/4 C. Flour 1 1/2 t. Salt
1 # sharp cheddar Cheese 1t. Baking powder
4 oz. butter. 1/4 t. Cayenne pepper (or more)
1 egg. 1T. Paprika
Blend all ingredients in Cuisinart until a ball forms. Fill cookie press with star tip and pipe onto a sheet tray in long strips. Cut strips into 3-4 inch lengths and bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes until the bottoms are slightly brown. Cool and save in ziplock bags.