In my continued observance of National Bread Month I turned, this morning, to the cooking magazine produced by our local market and made Smoked Gouda Cheese Straws. As delicious as they are easy, these can serve the dual purpose of being both a snack and a bread course. I served them with the Beef Bourguignon that we had for dinner, but of course we had to snack on them as soon as they came out of the oven. Light, crispy, cheesy, and delicious, they'd go equally well with salad or soup, or a frosty mug of beer while watching your favorite football game. I cut this recipe in half -- easily done -- and went a bit light on the red pepper flakes (although we could have used more). I also think that during the final step next time I'll brush the pastry with the egg mixture before twisting them rather than after, to get a more even coating of the mixture, and to facilitate twisting.
SMOKED GOUDA CHEESE STRAWS
from Everybody Cooks by Dierberg's Markets
1 package (17.3 ounces) frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed in refrigerator overnight
1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
8 ounces smoked Gouda cheese, shredded (about 2 cups) (divided)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (divided)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (divided)
On lightly floured surface, roll one pastry sheet into 10 x 12-inch rectangle.
Brush with egg mixture; sprinkle half of each of the Gouda, Parmesan, and red pepper flakes over one half of the pastry.
Fold pastry in half to enclose filling; firmly roll to 7 x 14-inch rectangle.
Cut pastry crosswise into 1/2" strips (total of 20 to 22 strips). Twist strips and place on parchment-lined baking sheet, pressing down ends.
Brush tops with egg mixture; sprinkle coarse salt over top. Repeat with remaining pastry sheet and ingredients. Bake in 400 degree oven until pastry is golden brown and puffed, about 1- to 12 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks. Store in airtight container at room temperature. Makes about 3-1.2 dozen. These are best the day they are baked. To crisp leftovers, place on baking sheet in 400 degree oven for 2 to 3 minutes.
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