Bacon Cheese Straws
Source of Recipe
From "Back Around the Table" by David Venable
"Down South, cheese straws were served at every cocktail party and wedding reception I attended. I decided that it's time to dress up these bites and, trust me, if there's a way to get bacon and cheese into something, I will do it. Cheese straws are traditionally made by pushing dough through a cookie press with a star tip. Who has time for that? I use frozen puff pastry to save time and press the filling into the dough. Once the straws are filled and cut, freeze them for about one hour before baking."
List of Ingredients
◦ Vegetable oil spray
◦ 1 pound sliced applewood-smoked bacon
◦ 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
◦ 1 ¼ cups (5 ounces) shredded mozzarella
◦ ½ cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
◦ ½ teaspoon garlic powder
◦ ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
◦ 1 large egg
◦ 1 teaspoon whole milk
◦ All-purpose flour, for rolling out puff pastry
◦ 1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Line another baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper with vegetable oil spray. Arrange the bacon on the foil-lined baking sheet—no overlapping. Put the baking sheet in the cold oven. Turn on the oven to 400° F. Partially cook the bacon for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the bacon on paper towels, but reserve the bacon fat. Let cool and chop the bacon into tiny bits.
Using a fork, mix together the cream cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan, bacon bits, garlic powder, and pepper in a bowl. Whisk together the egg and milk in a small bowl.
On a floured cutting board, roll out the puff pastry sheets to a 1/16th-inch thickness. Brush the puff pastry with the bacon fat. Spread the bacon-cheese mixture over half of the pastry. Fold the other side over the top of the bacon-cheese mixture. Using a rolling pin, roll the two sides together so the cheese-bacon mixture is incorporated into the puff pastry. Cut into ½-inch strips.
Starting at one end, twist each cheese straw several times and place it flat on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining straws. Press both ends of each straw onto the baking sheet to keep it from untwisting as it bakes. Brush each straw lightly with the egg wash. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 1 hour. Don't skip this step. Freezing the cheese straws ensures that they will hold their shape and won't untwist. It is best that the cheese straws are baked from frozen.
Preheat the oven to 400° F.
Bake for 13 to 16 minutes, until the cheese straws puff and turn a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
Makes 18 to 24