Puff Pastry Straws
Recipe: Puff Pastry Straws
Makes about 20 straws (Plan on each guest eating about 3 with a cocktail or glass of wine.)
- 1 sheet of puff pastry (thawed)
- Flour to dust your work surface (I use gravy flour in the can, but regular works too.)
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 egg to make an egg wash
- Cayenne pepper for "zip"
Take the puff pastry out of the package and put it on the counter about an hour before you want to start. You need it to soften up so it's easy to unfold without it cracking apart. Some people are good at softening their puff pastry faster on defrost in their microwave, but I've never been happy with the result, so I just leave it on the counter.
Lightly dust your work surface with the flour. Roll out your dough until it measures the size of a cookie sheet (11 X 17 inches or so). Just keep it in a rectangle shape as you roll. Take your egg and crack it open in a small bowl, then mix it with a 1/2 cup of water. Mix the two together with a fork until they're well jumbled. Take a brush (a pastry brush or, in a pinch, your barbecue brush will do) and spread some of the egg wash across the dough.
Spread your shredded cheese across half of the dough. Sprinkle lightly with cayenne. The more you sprinkle, the hotter/spicier your straws will taste. Fold the other half of the dough over the shredded cheese so the two sides come together. If you did this right, your pastry now measures about 11 X 8 inches. Squish the dough down gently just so the two sides stick to each other. I do this with my hand and just press it down with my palm.
Spray your cookie sheet with oil (plain or butter flavor).
Take a pizza cutter and cut long strips of dough. Each strip will be about 1/2 inch wide. When you've cut all of the strips, you are going to start putting them on the cookie sheet. Pick each one up and twist it at few times by holding one end in each hand and twisting opposite directions. It's sort of like you are making licorice, only not so many twists. Just two or three twists. Then place the twisted straw on the cookie sheet and press down on the ends so the straw doesn't untwist. This sort of "sticks" the straws to the cookie sheet so they stay still while cooking. Place the straws an inch or more apart on the cookie sheet because they "grow" while they cook. You might have to do at least two batches from one sheet of pastry.
Bake at 375 degrees for approx. 10 to 12 minutes. Watch for the straws to get lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. You want them to firm up, but don't leave them on the cookie sheet until they are fully cool or they will stick. (Five minutes on the sheet ought to do it.) Then run your spatula along the length of the straw to loosen it, and pick it up with your fingers or a tong and put it aside to finish cooling.
You can put them right into a long bread basket with a towel liner in it already and your cocktail treat is ready to go.
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