Truth be told, I didn't know making Cheese Sticks was so simple until, a few days ago in Manizales, we were taught in one of my culinary classes. It's honestly not rocket science; the ingredients are either on hand for most people or are easily found in any store or supermarket. You can make them at home and best of all, once they're ready, you can either freeze them or fry them up to eat immediately.
This recipe is perfect for an evening with friends, a family Sunday snack, to satisfy a craving, or even for our kids' lunchboxes, which, by the way, they love. In short, it's perfect for many occasions.
I used to think it was easier to buy the sticks from a supermarket or a nearby store, and for a long time, it was. Until I attended that class and completely changed my mindset. I was so wrong. Sometimes, all we need is to take a little more risk, get in the kitchen, and prepare lots of tasty dishes, including these mouth-watering cheese sticks.
In other Latin American countries, these sticks might be known as churros or tequeños, which can be filled with ham, pineapple, cheese, guava paste, dulce de leche, among others. It all depends on the chef's preference. I hope you're ready to make this delightful recipe which will only take about 40 minutes.
What type of cheese is best for Cheese Sticks?
For Cheese Sticks, it's recommended to use a firm cheese like campesino or costeño cheese. These cheeses have a solid texture that holds up well during frying but still melts just enough to offer a creamy texture with every bite.
Tip: Experiment with different types of cheese according to your taste. However, keep in mind that softer cheeses may melt too much and leak out from the dough.
How to prevent the cheese from leaking during frying?
To prevent the cheese from oozing out of the Cheese Sticks during frying, ensure the edges are sealed properly. Use beaten egg to seal the edges, then press them firmly to ensure they're completely closed.
Common Mistake: Not sealing the dough's edges completely can cause the cheese to leak during frying. Ensure the edges are properly sealed.
How to achieve the right consistency for the dough?
To get the right consistency for the dough, it's essential not to pour all the water at once. Add gradually, kneading consistently until the dough is firm but not sticky. If the dough sticks to your hands, you can add more flour until you get the desired texture.
Tip: Let the dough rest in the fridge for about 15 minutes before rolling it out. This will make it easier to handle and ensure the Cheese Sticks retain their shape during cooking.
Can I add other fillings?
Yes, you can add other ingredients to the Cheese Sticks for varying flavors. Some options include adding guava paste or dulce de leche to the cheese before rolling the dough. However, remember to seal the edges properly to prevent these fillings from leaking during frying.
Tip: Freeze the guava paste or dulce de leche before incorporating it into the Cheese Sticks. This makes it easier to handle and prevents leakage during cooking.
What other Colombian recipes can I make with similar ingredients?
If you enjoy Cheese Sticks, you might want to try recipes like Cheese Empanadas or Egg Arepa. Both recipes share ingredients like cheese and flour and offer a delightful combination of flavors and textures.
Recommendation: The Egg Arepa uses a frying technique similar to the Cheese Sticks but includes an egg inside for added flavor. Cheese Empanadas are a great option for cheese lovers; you can experiment with different cheese types for varying tastes.
Common Mistake: Avoid rolling out the dough too thinly or too thick. If it's too thin, the cheese might pierce it during cooking; if too thick, the Cheese Sticks might be raw inside. Aim for a medium consistency, about 5 millimeters thick, for the perfect balance.
Tip: For a more appealing presentation, you can serve the Cheese Sticks with homemade tomato sauce or avocado sauce. These sauces perfectly complement the savory taste of cheese and add a refreshing touch to counter the richness of the cheese and fried dough.
In conclusion, Cheese Sticks are a classic in Colombian cuisine, requiring specific care in their preparation to achieve a perfect result. Opt for a firm, flavorful cheese, seal the edges of the sticks, handle the dough with care, and don't hesitate to experiment with other fillings to make them even tastier. If you liked this recipe, you'd undoubtedly love the Cheese Empanadas and Egg Arepa, two Colombian dishes that share similar ingredients and cooking techniques. Enjoy your meal!
- 250 g all-purpose flour
- 250 g solid cheese (campesino, costeño, etc.)
- ½ cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 75 g butter
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 1 beaten egg
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Guava paste or dulce de leche (optional)
- You can brush a beaten egg (before adding cheese) on each strip to seal properly and ensure the cheese doesn't leak out.
- In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and cubed butter. Mix manually until it forms a breadcrumb-like texture.
- Then add the beaten egg, water, and knead until you achieve a firm dough. If it sticks to your hands, add more flour.
- Wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
- After this time, cut the cheese into sticks about 1cm thick and 10cm long (you can adjust length as desired).
- On a floured surface, roll out the dough about 30cm long and approximately 5mm thick.
- Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut 2cm wide strips.
- Place a piece of cheese at one end of each strip, add a small slice of guava paste or dulce de leche if desired.
- Roll it tightly, ensuring all the edges are sealed.
- Repeat the process until all the dough and cheese are used up.
- Fry in a pan with plenty of oil until golden brown.
- Serve with tomato or avocado sauce.