Since Matt and I bailed on all Thanksgiving-related cooking duties this year, we’ll be doing double-duty for Christmas, entertaining my family Christmas Eve, his family on Christmas day. It’s going to be a lot of fun, but I’ll need to have a few tricks up my sleeve to pull it off. And a stiff drink at the ready.
Strategy is crucial when cooking for big groups, especially out of a not-so-big kitchen. My wheels are already turning, thinking about what can be made in advance, what dishes everyone will like, and what appetizers can be prepped in 2 minutes or less. What to make, what to make?
Cheese straws! They’re a win-win-win appetizer solution. Who wouldn’t love warm, flaky puff pastry crusted with cheese? And if I up the ante by adding crispy bacon, they’ll be even better! I can prep them in a couple of minutes, freeze them, then pop them in the oven to bake, just as my guests are arriving. Now if I could just figure out a way to fill everybody up on cheese straws alone…
This recipe calls for just 3 ingredients: a sheet of puff pastry (from the freezer aisle–we don’t have time for making that from scratch right now), blue cheese crumbles, and bacon cooked to the point of cremation. Well, 4 if you’re feeling fancy and want to add some rosemary.
Sprinkle the puff pastry with the blue cheese, smashed pieces of bacon, and torn rosemary needles.
Top with a piece of parchment and use a rolling-pin to smash the toppings into the dough.
Cut into strips and twist. You can bake them off now or pop them in the freezer and bake whenever you please.
Make sure your guests all have a festive drink in 1 hand, a warm cheese straw in the other. Once you’ve got that taken care, who cares if the rest of your dinner is a flop? No one.
At least, that’s what I’m going to tell myself.
- 1 sheet frozen Puff Pastry, defrosted for 30 minutes
- ½ c. Blue Cheese Crumbles
- 4 strips Bacon, cooked until very crisp, drained, cooled, and crumbled
- 1 sprig Rosemary, optional
- Place puff pastry on a sheet of parchment. Scatter the blue cheese, bits of bacon, and torn rosemary needles over it. Top with another sheet of parchment. Use a rolling-pin to press the toppings into pastry, maintaining a fairly square shape.
- Remove the top layer of parchment and cut the puff pastry into long strip, ½-3/4 in. wide, using a pizza wheel or very sharp knife. Separate the strips, twist, and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. At this point, you are ready to bake the cheese straws or you can freeze them for a later date.
- When you are ready to bake the straws, preheat the oven to 400°. Bake them until they have puffed and turned golden brown, about 12 minutes, rotating halfway through. If you have made them ahead and frozen them, they will take a few extra minutes. Allow to cool slightly and serve.