Friday, May 25, 2012

Two 'Make Ahead' Memorial Day Appetizers

Cutting the cheese straw dough into pieces with a pizza cutter...

...after rolling it out onto a floured surface.

Some flat ones after baking...

...and a few that I twisted, first!

A close-up view of one straw's golden deliciousness! :)

Ready for storage...

...and set out, for an informal crowd, along with wine and some sweet, spiced nuts.

I don't often make appetizers...

...and when I do, they must be easy...

...(my 'old standby' consists of a block of softened cream cheese...

...covered with a layer of warmed, hot pepper jelly or soy sauce plus toasted sesame seeds.)

The two appetizers (above) are a bit more complex than that...

...but I think you'll find them well worth their preparation time...

...especially because they can be made several days ahead.

Sweet and Spicy Almonds

1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 egg white
1 pound (3 cups) whole raw almonds

Heat oven to 300 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with nonstick foil
Whisk sugar and spices together in a small bowl
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg white until soft peaks form
Add almonds, sugar, and spices, and toss with a spatula until well coated
Spread into an even layer on the prepared pan
Bake for 40 minutes, stirring once
Loosen nuts on the sheet and cool completely
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week

Cheese Straws

1 & 1/2 cups of shredded cheese
(I used a mixture of hard and soft cheeses, including Parmigiano-Reggiano and blue cheese)
2 ounces unsalted butter (cut into pieces)
3/4 cup flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crushed, dried, rosemary leaves
1 tbsp milk or buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until the mixture forms a ball.
Roll the dough out into the shape of a large rectangle on a lightly floured surface...
...and cut strips (straws) from it, using a pizza cutter.
Transfer the straws to a cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool (completely) on a rack, and store in the refrigerator in a tightly closed container...
...until it's party time!

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Terriea Kwong said...

Huummmm, smells great. How wonderful you know our Chinese 5-spice power and made the roasted almonds. Cheese straws are crispy. I'll take all non stop. Nice weekend.

Unknown said...

mmmmn, yammy :)

WonderWhyGal said...

oooh, those look yummy.
I'm with you. Something easy.

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend.

Heather Woollove said...

Terriea--Yes...I LOVE Chinese 5-Spice powder... and the cheese straws are an English snack that my daughters begged me to learn to make several years ago (we are such Anglophiles!) :)
Alevtina--Yes...super yammy! :)
Andrea--Have a special time this weekend, remembering your Daddy. XXO-

Unknown said...

I love cheese straws and try to steer away from them because once I start I am already a goner and will eat every last one! I will definitely be trying the almond recipe sounds delish!


Voie de Vie said...

I always have Chinese 5-spice in the spice cabinet - it's really the only way I can take the taste of anise. :)

Have a great weekend!

Andria said...

Thanks for the recipe, we love cheese straws around here, so I'll be sure to make them. I also love easy, hurray!!

Heather Woollove said...

Natalie--I agree...they are hard to resist! (I send them home with my guests in order to eliminate the temptation!) :)
Denise--Not me...I adore making anisette pizzelles at
Andria--Oh, please do try them! I'd love to hear how they turn out for you! XXO-

Unknown said...

Oh Yum! I've been looking for a recipe for something like these! Must try! Happy happy long weekend to you! Warm wishes, Fiona

Heather Woollove said...

Fiona--Thanks for the note and holiday wishes. Your new work space is incredible...
congratulations! XXO

Rachel said...

The trouble with cheese straws is finishing them before the event they were intended for...!

Heather Woollove said...

Rachel--You're right...they are hard to resist! XXO-

FeltersJourney said...

MMMmmmmmm they look delish!
I LOVE cheese straws.. and I LOVE quick n easy recipes :) think I'll have to try these out

Heather Woollove said...

Deborah--Let me know how they come out for you! I always think of cheese straws as a very British kind of snack, so I'd love to hear your comparison with your own recipe!! XXO-