I try to avoid overarching statements, but I'm confident that if you make these easy yet impressive cheese straws for your next soirée, you will fall hard for store-bought puff pastry. That is, if you're not already on best-friend terms with the genius ingredient. These gloriously flaky cheese straws might seem complex to construct, but really, it's just the butter-filled layers of puff pastry and a kiss of heat from the oven at work.
Little more than a brush of egg wash, a sprinkling of cheese and herbs, and a few deft (but easy) twirls of the puff pastry strips are required, all in all making for a very low effort-to-reward ratio. So what are you waiting for? Bake a handful of these treats, and your friends will be begging for the recipe!
Adapted from Ina Garten
Herbed Cheese Straws
1 sheet (14 ounces) frozen puff pastry, defrosted overnight in the refrigerator
Flour, for dusting
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
Pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 cup (3-1/2 ounces) grated gruyère cheese
2 teaspoons minced thyme
2 teaspoons minced rosemary
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper or a silpat.
- Roll the puff pastry out into a 10- to 12-inch rectangle on a large cutting board that's dusted with flour. (Make sure to dust the top of the puff pastry and the rolling pin with flour before rolling, as well.)
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, water, cayenne, and mustard until smooth.
- Brush the puff pastry with the spiced egg wash.
- Sprinkle an even layer of gruyère, minced herbs, and salt over the puff pastry.
- Gently press the toppings into the puff pastry by applying firm pressure with the rolling pin.
- Slice the puff pastry crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips using a pizza cutter or floured chef's knife.
- Twist each strip end-to-end into a coil and transfer to the parchment-lined half-sheet pans, leaving about a 1/2-inch space between each cheese straw.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the straws have puffed and turned light golden brown. Flip the straws over, and bake for another 3-5 minutes, or until deep golden brown.
- Serve warm, or briefly reheat in a 350ºF oven before serving.
Makes 16-20 cheese straws.