“Dessert, Ma’am?” the waiter asked. “Oh, no thanks. I already had it,” I replied. Noticing his puzzled look, I explained how I used up my dessert calories by eating three of the most addicting bread sticks I’d ever eaten in my life. Smiling knowingly, he looked at me and said, “I understand.” Let me explain: there are bread sticks and then there are THESE bread sticks. Cheesy, buttery, crunchy, and with just a slight amount of kick these bread sticks make a perfect accompaniment for a salad or a bowl of soup.
Cheddar and Poppy Seed Bread Sticks
Cooking With Cafe Pasqual’s
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1 large organic egg
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1-1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon medium-hot chile powder
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Put the butter and cheese into the bowl of an electric mixer. Use the paddle attachment to combine. When well incorporated, scrape the paddle attachment and replace with the dough hook attachment.
3. Add the egg and mix, then add the heavy cream and mix again to combine all.
4. With the machine running on low, slowly add the flour, then the poppy seeds and chile powder. Leave the mixture on for 15 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
5. Remove the dough from the mixer and knead by hand on a floured surface for one minute. Re-flour the work surface and roll the dough into a log shape, then flatten the log.
6. Flour the work surface again. Use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough into a large rectangle 12 by 16 inches by 1/4-inch thick. Trim the edges with a pizza cutter to make them straight, then cut strips lengthwise 1/2-inch thick in width.
7. Place parchment paper on 3 baking sheets and carefully transfer the bread sticks, 12 to each pan. Bake for 20 minutes, until the sticks are just lightly browned.
8. Remove and let cool completely before carefully transferring the sticks to a serving container.
Makes 3 dozen bread sticks
1. Cafe Pasqual’s uses a multi-wheel cutter which makes it easy to cut the bread sticks evenly. Not having one of those cutters, I washed and floured my metal yardstick. Pressing against the yardstick, I was able to cut straight lines in the dough with my pizza cutter.
2. I got 18 bread sticks and a dozen 2-inch crackers out of one recipe. Next time I will double the recipe.
3. The author states, “The dough may be made a day in advance of baking, if it is tightly wrapped with plastic wrap for storage in the refrigerator.”