Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Cheese Straw Evolution

And now for something completely different. Yesterday was horrific. Making homemade cheese straws with a faulty recipe is somewhat... less.... horrific. Merely greatly annoying.

After working for hours the other night, I had a hard time making my cheese straws come out right. I think the problem is a combination of several errors, some of which are possibly deliberately spread misinformation from those who wish not to share an easy recipe.

Either that, or I've truly got an oven limping toward its demise. I suppose I need to obtain an oven thermometer and test it. But I have had so many adverse results from that oven in the last eleven years, it's made me believe I don't know how to cook.

It could be the suggested temperature of 400 degrees, cooked for ten minutes. I've seen a few recipes that called for as long as 25 minutes at 300 or 325 degrees. I put mine back in for an extra 15 to 20 minutes of extra cooking and they became crispier. Hmmmm.....

As I said before, the problem could be a terminally ill oven. I'm not putting in a wall oven again. I'll get a range and put it on the wall, reclaiming my kitchen from a stupid remodel done by a previous owner. Unfortunately, I'll have to redo the floor and base cabinets too, at the very least, at the same time. And the walls... *sigh*. It would be far easier to just sell the house and move.

The mixed ingredients are always too dry and stiff to put through a cookie press without adding in a bunch of water. However, I recently discovered a tip that has possibilities: the author said that she forgot to set her butter and cheese out to soften for creaming, so she put them in the microwave at level one, which almost liquified the butter and cheese. Very melty, but perfect for mixing the flour into. :D. I'm going to try that. It worked when I made sausage balls as a kid. That might eliminate the extra water needed. She also used a pastry bag with a large star tip, so I may try that if my straws keep disappointing me. I'm pretty sure my Pampered Chef cookie press makes them too thick, especially when the dough is so thick and stiff.

It deserves a bit of experimentation, I think, because I do loves me some cheese straws!

Still, I think that I'll begin my experiments with half batches, just in case. If my method works, I'll experiment with favors sometime. :). It's highly unlikely I won't end up with something inedible, in any case. I bet I can find someone who'll eat the failures.

But first, I need to replace my hand mixer. Turns out it is obsolete and I can't buy replacement beaters for it. :(. This is a good reason to buy a KitchenAid stand mixer. I always liked stand mixers better than hand mixers anyway. Yes, I have somewhere to put it. No matter what mixer you use, you'll still have to wash beaters and a bowl anyway. I will say this: making cheese straws completely without a mixer is a tedious process.

Let's not go there again.

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