Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Southern delicacy with a kick - recipes from our Home Ec Class

I teach a Home Ec class with 11 wonderful students.  They are eager to learn new things, try out all the latest recipes and love to use food processors, kitchen aids and knives (yes, even the chef's knife!)  This past week we learned the do's and don'ts of entertaining along with some great recipes and one that might surprise you.  I thought I would share our southern delicacy of Cheese straws with them and now with you.  We tested two recipes- one from the Queen of the South, Paula Deen and another, an adapted recipe from Southern Living. 

Paula Deen's were light and mild.  Half of the students liked hers the best.  Her dough worked best in the cookie press (plate that is closest in the picture). 

The second recipe was kicked up with the cayenne and had a more dense consistency. The other half of my students loved this one. For me, I am an equal opportunity cheese straw eater and LOVED them both. 

Our surprise recipe was our Chocolate Punch-Yes, Chocolate Punch. I found this in a older cookbook for entertaining.  So we gave it a try - what's not to love about chocolate syrup , milk and ice cream and with the added fizz of ginger ale -It was chocolatey goodness with a splash of fizz!! Don't be afraid of the gingerale, it added a lightness to the ice cream and created a refreshing drink that could be served at your next party! I think I want to vary the ice cream flavors to see what other goodness we can serve.  

I hope you enjoy the recipes and let me know which Cheese Straws get your vote and of course, what you think of our new punch recipe.  

Until next time, keep finding joy in the everyday,....

Cheese Straws #1 (a Paula Deen recipe)

2 cups self-rising flour
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp. salt
1-cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 cups (½ pound) grated sharp Cheddar cheese, at room temperature

1.  Preheat the oven at 350 degree.
2. Sift together the flour, cayenne and salt and set aside. 

3.  Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and cheese until blended. 

4.  Add the flour mixture, slowly, beating at low speed, then continue to beat for 5 minutes, until very creamy, scraping down the side of the bowl several times.

5. Using a cookie press with a star tip, make 3 inch long cheese straws, leaving at least ½ inch between each on an ungreased cookie sheet. 

6. Bake for 12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow the straws to sit on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer the cheese straws to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in airtight containers.

***Do not use a nonstick cookie sheet, parchment paper or cooking spray.  You want the bottoms to get crisp.***

 Cheese Straws  #2 (A Southern Living Recipe)

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 (1-pound) block sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
 2 teaspoons ground red (cayenne) pepper

1/2-teaspoon paprika

4 cups all-purpose flour

1.  Beat first 5 ingredients at medium speed with a heavy-duty stand mixer until blended.
2. Gradually add flour, beating just until combined.
3. Use a cookie press with a star-shaped disk to shape mixture into long ribbons, on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
4. Before baking, cut ribbons into 2-inch pieces.
5.  Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
To make Cheese Wafers: (without a cookie press)

 Combine ingredients as directed; chill dough 2 hours. Shape dough into 4 (8-inch-long) logs; wrap each in plastic wrap, and chill 8 hours. Cut each log into 1/4-inch-thick slices; place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Store in an airtight container 1 week.

Chocolate Punch – a new and fun punch recipe….

1 cup Chocolate Syrup
5 cups milk
1.75 quarts vanilla ice cream
1 quart ginger ale, chilled

Combine the chocolate syrup and milk in a punch bowl, stirring to mix. Add ice cream, stirring until partially melted. Add the ginger ale and serve.

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