Cheese straws are always really yummy, although for young children, they can be made just that little bit more fun and appealing if they are shaped as fingers - perfect for a healthy Halloween treat.
We like making these every year when Halloween comes along, because they look so good and taste so great. Use a knife to create the lines of knuckles, while the fingernails are made using almonds. They look really effective and just a little bit creepy at the same time, and are the perfect size for even the smallest of lunchbox.
You can use either mature Cheddar cheese or parmesan for a strong flavour, it just depends what you have available in your fridge when you are making them.
350 grams / 12 oz of plain white flour
200 grams / 7 oz of softened butter or cooking margarine
120 grams / 4 oz of mature, strong flavoured cheddar cheese (grated)
40 grams / 1 1/2 oz of parmesan cheese (grated)
2 eggs (beaten)
4 tablespoons of cold water
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of English mustard powder (optional)
Rub the margarine / butter together with the flour, salt and optional mustard, to create a fine crumb-like mixture. You can either do this part of the recipe with your fingers or by using a food processor.
Stir in the grated cheeses, one of the eggs (beaten) and half of the water, until you start to make a firm cheese straw dough. Keep adding the water until you have reached the correct consistency. Place the dough / pastry mix in a plastic bag and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes or so.
Now, this is the fun bit. Roll your cheesy dough onto a floured surface and cut into finger shapes. Use a knife to create knuckles on the 'fingers' and use whole almonds to create spooky looking dirty fingernails. Use the rest of the beaten egg as a glaze for your straws and then bake them in the oven (pre-heated to 180°C) for between ten and 15 minutes.