These are really easy and very more-ish cheese straws.
They can be cut into long strips or rounds/hearts/stars whatever takes your fancy.
They can also be topped with any flavouring of your choice. I use, depending on the mood, one of the following seeds: poppy, caraway, onion, mustard or cumin.
They are great as a pre-dinner snack, or as a savoury at the end of a meal rather than a cheese board.
They also make lovely bases for canapés, try round ones topped with goats cheese and caramelised onion, or pea puree with prosciutto- go wild!
110g plain flour
110g chilled butter, cut into cubes
110g sharp extra mature cheddar
1 egg, beaten
For the topping-Seeds (caraway, poppy, cumin, mustard, onion)
* Place the flour and butter ion a food processor and whizz until it looks like fine breadcrumbs, about 10-15 seconds (or rub together as you should do for pastry)
* Add the grated cheddar and whizz until it all comes together. (Or mix by hand until the whole lot comes together)
* Put onto the work surface and form into a flat square, wrap and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge.
* Preheat an oven to 170C, line two baking trays with silicone mats or baking parchment, you can also rub the trays with butter, if the baking trays are non-stick.
* After 30 minutes roll the pastry out into 1-2mm thickness, cut into 2 cm strips and then into about 6cm lengths. You should get about 40-50 straws.
* Brush with the beaten egg, then sprinkle with your seed of choice.
* Lay the straws onto the baking sheets, leave them about 1 cm apart as they will spread slightly.
* The off-cuts of pastry will roll out again, it is quite forgiving- use it all up.
* Cook for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.
* Allow to cool slightly before transferring to a cooling rack.
* Store in an airtight container and try not to eat them all!