Homemade Cheezies

For some reason, a bag of Cheezies (the real, Hawkins kind – they’re Canadian, did you know?) with some kind of big red wine has become my idea of heaven on a Friday night. (It’s important to have achievable dreams.) It occurred to me awhile ago that I could in fact make something kindasorta similar – I’m not sure revisiting these cheesy bits was altogether a good idea. So I’ve decided to drag you down with me.

Yes, I’m aware that you know about cheese straws already. They were All That in the eighties and are still just as familiar, although most present-day recipes have taken a shortcut with frozen puff pastry dough. Trust me, these are worth tucking back into your repertoire; they’re as easy to mix and bake as a batch of cookies, and can be pulled into service for any occasion for which you are responsible for providing something to nibble on. The dough takes no more than five minutes in a food processor and is freezable – stash a few balls of dough to thaw, roll and bake when a cheese craving hits. (And because your sense of taste has so much to do with your sense of smell, baking them right before you eat them is like food foreplay – the best possible potpourri.)

They also, it turns out, make a great nibble alongside a bowl of soup, if you need a sort of ballast that doesn’t come in the form of a wedge of bread or enormous biscuit. And have you heard what I’m doing this weekend? I thought I was spending it gaining some control of my house / yard / laundry / basement. Nope. It turns out I’m making lunch for Leonard Nimoy, Malcolm McDowell
and Sid Haig. Life is weird sometimes. Leonard requested two soups. I’m making soup for Spock!
For real! No pressure. I’ll get pictures.

Cheddar Straws

These could be made using an aged Gouda, asiago or any firm, flavourful cheese. For a twist, try blitzing a teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary into the dry ingredients in place of the cayenne.

1 1/2 cups coarsely grated old or extra-old cheddar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, chilled and cut into chunks
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch cayenne pepper or paprika (sweet or smoked – optional)
2 Tbsp. milk

Put the cheddar, flour, butter, salt and cayenne into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until well combined and crumbly. (If you don’t have a food processor, grate the cheese and toss it with the dry ingredients, breaking it up as much as you can with a whisk, pastry cutter or fork.) Add the milk and pulse until it starts to come together. Remove the dough from the food processor and gather it into a ball. Cover with a tea towel and let rest for about 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into an oval or rectangle about 1/8” thick and cut crosswise into strips that are about 1/4” wide using a pizza wheel or sharp knife. (Alternatively, cut the dough into stars or other small shapes.) Transfer to an ungreased cookie sheet and if you like, twist them a few times for dramatic effect. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until pale golden on the ends.

Makes lots.

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April 23 2010 10:21 pm | appetizers

28 Responses to “Homemade Cheezies”

  1. robin on 23 Apr 2010 at 10:43 pm #

    oh yum! being non-canadian… i didn’t know about these! i really want to try them, they sound delicious with a glass of red wine. good luck and have a blast at your lunch tomorrow :o)

  2. Laurie in Burnaby BC on 23 Apr 2010 at 11:08 pm #

    Wonderful! Thank you.

    A recipe for cheese straws that I can handle – and the Canucks won! Can a day get any better than this?

  3. Regan Jones RD on 24 Apr 2010 at 5:17 am #

    I confess that I’m a Cheese Straw champion… I make them like it’s 1999 (okay… so that was a bad pun on your 80s reference, but you get the picture.) This is a great variation that I can’t wait to try! They look divine.

  4. Elaine on 24 Apr 2010 at 7:07 am #

    It’s okay to be a little jealous that you’re making soup for Spock, right?

  5. Cheryl on 24 Apr 2010 at 8:36 am #

    That is totally what I’m baking with the girls next. They will LOVE them.

    I bet today’s lunch will be the best those Comic Expo guys have ever had on the road!

  6. Heidi M on 24 Apr 2010 at 8:41 am #

    Yeah Hawkins Cheezies!
    I love them with chocolate milk.
    No, I didn’t know they were Canadian – all the more reason to love them – and support our economy, eh!

  7. Vivian on 24 Apr 2010 at 10:00 am #

    Great story about the coming of Cheezies to Canada and their staying to become a unique Canadian product over three generations in the same family. The link was well worth the read. Hope you serve those soups with some Cheezies on the side.

  8. Barb on 24 Apr 2010 at 12:51 pm #

    Wow. Leonard Nimoy. That’s awesome.

  9. rea on 24 Apr 2010 at 4:15 pm #

    julie, you’re hilarious! i think there’s only one you.

  10. Amber on 24 Apr 2010 at 7:29 pm #

    Live long and prosper! 😉

    Oh and happy Pigs in a Blanket day…I thought you might be celebrating since W is such a hot dog fan. I’m making a version with Piller’s light Turkey Pepperoni and Pillsbury weiner wraps. Apparently they are traditionally made with pancakes and sausages but I thought this was close enough…and reminds me of the weiner wraps I ate as a kid…my flashback to the 70/80s!

  11. Elizabeth L. on 24 Apr 2010 at 8:04 pm #

    OOhh! You have a charmed life.
    When I was a kid, back in the original Star Trek days, we would ‘play’ Star Trek and I was always thrilled to be Spock. We used Cover Girl compacts as communicators…so good to have our priorities straight!!

    i can’t wait to see the pictures, He seems to be a very elegant man.

  12. cakebrain on 24 Apr 2010 at 10:20 pm #

    You had me going with the homemade cheezies title…I totally dig cheese straws too and thanks for reminding me to make these! my kids would love these!

  13. Kate at Serendipity on 24 Apr 2010 at 11:41 pm #

    These may be Canadian, but they’re also as Southern as all get-out. Like all Southern women, I got the recipe from my grandmother, who swore me to secrecy. Was your grandmother Southern?? Hmmm???

    Aren’t they just the perfect thing for a little nibble, though? If you want to blow your tastebuds away, take some dates, stuff them with pecan halves, wrap them in this dough and bake them. OH. MY.

    Yours are gorgeous. I love the stars!

  14. Valen on 25 Apr 2010 at 8:44 am #

    These look great! I just made some cheese crackers recently and thought “Where have you been my whole life!?”

  15. Jan (Family Bites) on 25 Apr 2010 at 2:26 pm #

    I must show these to my little guy. He’s a cheese and cracker fanatic and I think this marries the two perfectly!

  16. Sarah G on 25 Apr 2010 at 10:27 pm #

    These sound wonderful.

  17. Jen K-W on 27 Apr 2010 at 1:00 pm #

    Hmmm, Cheezies and red wine do sound like heaven! Why haven’t I thought of pairing them before?
    Love the cheese straws recipe – you have lots of great ideas that my 2 yr old son will actually eat. Thanks!

  18. Jessica on 01 May 2010 at 5:51 pm #

    I just made these – they’re a hit for the boyfriend! The boyfriend wants me to type in this message “Thank you, you’re amazing.”
    I used half extra old cheddar and half monterey jack jalapeno. Instead of paprika I used a “barbecue” seasoning mix. Next time I’ll just use paprika!

  19. Lori on 16 Jun 2010 at 9:10 pm #

    Hey-I’m planning to make these for a dinner party. Do you think I could mix them, cut them, then put them in the fridge the day before? Or is there a better way to serve them hot and fresh without making them the day of?

  20. JulieVR on 17 Jun 2010 at 7:20 am #

    Hmmm.. I think you’ll have to make them the day of in order for them to be hot..or reheat them, but if you’re going to do that you might as well bake them! Sure, cut them and refrigerate the day before, then lay them out and bake as people are coming – that way they’ll smell them baking, too, which is half the pleasure!

  21. Synthia Derriso on 31 Dec 2010 at 6:48 am #

    Very efficiently written post. It will be beneficial to everyone who employess it, including yours truly :). Keep up the good work – i will definitely read more posts.

  22. Baking | Pearltrees on 13 Mar 2012 at 9:18 pm #

    […] Homemade Cheezies – dinner with Julie — dinner with Juliedinner with Julie » Homemade Cheezies »… (And because your sense of taste has so much to do with your sense of smell, baking them right before you eat them is like food foreplay – the best possible potpourri.) […]

  23. The Fascist Foodie on 24 Mar 2012 at 3:30 pm #

    Oooooooooooh, I MUST try these! God bless Costco-sized blocks of cheddar just begging for a higher calling.

  24. Laurie on 08 May 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    I just wanted to pass on that I used a cookie press with this dough and it was fabulous!

  25. JulieVR on 08 May 2012 at 5:14 pm #

    So good to know! Thanks for the tip!

  26. Carol on 09 Apr 2013 at 7:10 pm #

    These sound a lot like Goldfish, that you put in tomato soup! Which are quite costly considering they don’t last so long lol. Can’t wait to try, with sharp aged Canadian Cheddar. Or, Canadian apple wood smoked cheddar. Cheers!

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  28. storsoc on 10 Jan 2015 at 12:44 am #

    I too have recently discovered the achievable dream of couch time with a red and a bag of Hawkins Cheezies … and even more recently how a bag of slightly broken up Hawkins sprinkled like Goldfish, makes tomato soup just that much more interesting.

    Hawkins on their own easily reborn with little imagination … what DOESN’T work with something crunchy and cheddary?

    A few shakes of curry powder (maybe touch of cardamom or cumin) into a bag? NOM!

    Dipped/dredged through guacamole? Muy nom.

    Jalapeno flakes?

    Wierdo who found your page Googling to see what other things people have done with Hawkins ‘s work here is done.

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