When OXO Good Grips challenged me to come up with a weaning recipe using two utensils from their extensive Good Grips range, I had to get my thinking cap on. I've used a mixture of baby led weaning and spoon feeding with my two children, to good effect and I decided I would share one of their favourite finger food recipes. OXO sent me their Silicon Pastry Brush and their new 4 Piece Mini Measuring Beaker Set to help me out.
I've been making my Cheese and Paprika Straws since Bud was about seven months old.. They were the perfect finger food for baby led weaning as they really don't contain anything nasty. You can use any hard cheese in the fridge and it's a great way to use up those small pieces of cheese that you sometimes get left with. I've always added Paprika to mine for extra flavour and colour but you can omit it if you choose.
I had a mini assistant who helped me bake the cheese straws today.
50g Hard Cheese (I generally use Medium or Mature Cheddar), grated
50g Unsalted Butter, softened
100g Plain Flour
1/2 teaspoon of Paprika
1 egg, beaten
1. Preheat your oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6 and grease a baking sheet.
2. Cut the butter into pieces and rub it through the flour until it resembles the texture of breadcrumbs. Add the Cheese and Paprika and mix.
3. Make a well in the dry mixture and pour the beaten egg into it. Using a wooden spoon combine all the ingredients into a dough. If you are struggling to form the dough then gradually add the water until it comes together (generally this takes less than 20ml of water).
4. Flour your surface then knead your dough gently. Take a plum sized piece of dough and roll into a sausage shape between your palms, repeat until all the dough is used. This mixture generally makes around 8 straws but you can double, or treble the quantities to make more.
5. Brush the straws with a little beaten egg (I just use what is left in the bowl after beating) and sprinkle the straws with a little extra grated cheese if you have it. Bake for ten minutes until they are just starting to turn golden brown.
I was really pleased with the OXO products that I tried. The Silicone Pastry Brush was a fantastic replacement of my old one which had nylon bristles which have melted and gone funny looking. The bristles have two textures which enables you to cover your baking easily and efficiently. The bristles are made of silicone so the brush washes really well and isn't at risk of melting like nylon. It's heat resistant up to 315C (handy for spreading butter in a hot pan) and can be washed in the dishwasher too.
The measuring cups are so cute! A set of four, they stack inside each other. The measurements given are 60ml, 30ml, 1 Tbsp and 1 Tsp. I really struggle with accuracy for spoon measurement and generally use measuring spoons but I prefer these little cups as their funnel shape makes them easy to fill, and to pour. If I had one complaint it would be that the 60ml cup only has increments of 20ml on it so there isn't a line for 50ml. This is a measurement I use rather a lot and I think I'd generally have to use two cups to make sure I had it accurately in future (fill the 60ml cup then empty 10ml into the 30ml cup! They all have a silicone base which means that they stand firm on your work surface and all are dishwasher proof too.
Bud and Little Miss loved tasting the results of mine and Bud's efforts. These are a great snack during weaning and going forward, they don't flake like many cheese straws so would make a good lunchbox food too.