A cookie press is a cylindrical tool with a plunger on one end and a hole on the other. The plunger pushes cookie dough out from the hole. At the end with the hole, various interchangeable perforated plates with different shaped openings can be attached.
This is so that the dough is pushed out in distinctive shapes, much like those Playdough sets children use. As cookies are even more popular during the holiday period, common examples include a star, Christmas tree, or snowflake shape.
Cheese straws are a tasty pastry snack made from a light, flaky pastry and cheese. They make for a great entrée to accompany soup at a dinner party, or simply as a delicious little snack to keep you going throughout the day. Don’t overdo it though, as they’re not the healthiest things you could snack on!
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Cheese straws are versatile in that there’s no singular recipe for making them. Everyone wants to put their own stamp on the cheese straw. I’ve come across blue cheese straws, Parmesan cheese straws, jalapeño white cheddar cheese straws, and many more. They go great with a soup or salad. Whether you prefer wafers chopped into smaller slices, or the more traditional method of putting the dough through a cookie press, they’re a delight and worth celebrating.
Sounds great, but how do I make them?
To make cheese straws to go through the cookie press, you will need:
- Softened butter
- A 1 lb block of sharp cheddar
- Ground red pepper
- All-purpose flour.
Shred the cheese, and then mix the butter, cheese, salt, pepper and paprika into a delicious paste. You should mix them gently but thoroughly in a mixing bowl. Gradually add the flour, stirring it in as you go. You’ll be left with a lovely, cheesy dough.
Select the opening shape of your choice for the dough press. Stars are very popular, but if it’s December you might want to go for the Christmas tree. Press the dough through the cookie press to make long ribbons, which you will then cut into shorter strips. Follow the instructions of the manufacturer of the cookie press to ensure you use it correctly. Otherwise, you might ruin your cheese straws, and that would be a disaster!
Bake your strips on some baking paper in the oven at 350° F for about 10 minutes, or until they are nicely browned. Once you’re satisfied that they are baked to your liking, chill them on a wire rack for 30 minutes or so. Serve your cheese straws alongside a nice bowl of tomato and basil soup, or in a nice salad.
What should I look for in a cookie press?
Like all tools with moving parts, ease-of-use and durability are important. If the dough, for example, is a little thick, greater force will be necessary to force it out. Will the handle withstand this pressure, or will it snap off, rendering your press useless? Going cheap might leave you with a less durable cookie press.
Other features can make the experience more satisfying, including how easy is it to wash, how many different attachments are included, how easily it dispenses the dough, and a number of other considerations.
The Best Cookie Presses for Cheese Straws
OXO Good Grips Cookie Press
The OXO Good Grips Cookie Press is a popular choice among seasoned cheese straw makers. The non-slip base keeps the press steady on your countertop when in use. This helps to keep the cheese straws neat and uniform. The long handle provides greater leverage to dispense the dough, and the clear cylinder allows you to see exactly how much dough has been used. It features 12 different stainless steel disks in various patterns to suit the seasons. They come in a neat compact storage case, so you won’t lose them about the kitchen.
Wilton Cookie Pro Ultra II Cookie Press
A slightly cheaper cookie press is the Wilton Cookie Pro Ultra II. It has most of the same features as the OXO device, including non-slip base and a transparent cylinder. This model comes with a greater selection of cookie designs, but does not have the convenient storage case. Instead of pushing the handle down, you pull it up, as if pulling a trigger on a water hose.
The DKST Kitchen Press
The DKST Kitchen Press is a fantastic option, though a little more expensive. The stainless steel press is larger than most on the market, and it’s very sturdy. This big cookie press produces a lot of cookies or cheese straws. Its robust design means that it can handle a tougher dough than most. Plus, it comes with 25 designer disks and a miniature recipe book!
Although it doesn’t have the transparent cylinder, it does have everything else. For those willing to spend a little more, this press usually retails at the high end of the spectrum.
Spritz Cookie Press Kit by Virtuous
For a cheaper alternative, I recommend the Spritz Cookie Press Kit by Virtuous. This model has a stainless steel design without a transparent cylinder. That does make it harder to monitor how much dough is left, but the steel body is durable. The kit comes with 20 cookie disks and a biscuit machine, meaning you can use it for more than just cheese straws.
This press costs is economical and comes with a lifetime warranty.
Marcato Deluxe Biscuit Maker
The Marcato Deluxe Biscuit Maker is another great cookie press for cheese straw making. Don’t worry about the name! It’s manufactured by an Italian company, and cookies are called biscuits in Europe. The Marcato Deluxe is very much a cookie press. It comes with 20 different metal templates for creating your own designer cheese straws. The handle will also unscrew from the tube for easy cleaning.
Despite not being an American brand, it’s a really good cookie press.
C is for cookies…and cheese!
If cheese straw making is new to you, but something you feel you might enjoy and want to pursue, you should consider getting a cookie press. However, there are a number of things you need to consider. How much are you willing to spend? How will it look in your kitchen? Will you use it for other things, like cookies? Check out the models on this list and see which one is right for you!