Who doesn’t enjoy a good cheese straw? And, at Halloween, you can’t beat a good cheese claw. Ha ha…See what I’ve done there ?!! With the proliferation of sugar and sweets at Halloween, I thought I’d create a fun, savoury and healthier alternative. Introducing Halloween Cheese Claws: crispy, tasty and a little bit creepy…
In past years, we’ve taken advantage of the fact that our children were too young to understand Halloween. But this year, smiling pumpkins (with long hair) have started to feature in A-L’s drawings and Halloween has been picked up by her social radar- we have two parties to attend!
So whilst A-L has been planning her Halloween costume (her Elsa dress apparently), I’ve been thinking up spooky foods to take along to the parties. In doing so, I made two different types of cheese claw: the simple, straight claw and the more sophisticated, curled claw:
My first version was the straight claw. I tested them out with my most trusted food critic, A-L, who reported that she liked the flavour but wasn’t convinced by their shape. A-L curled her fingers and said ‘claws need to look like this’. So, my second version tried to emulate her suggestion. Take your pick or create your own version!
These Halloween Cheese Claws include 25g of flaxseed because it gives a mottled appearance to the biscuits and also provides a source of omega 3. You can buy ground flaxseed from health food shops but if you can’t get your hands on some then you can also use extra plain flour instead. This recipe makes around 20 claws (or less if they are extra long!).
- 75g plain flour
- 25g ground flaxseed/ linseed
- 50g unsalted butter
- 50g mature cheddar cheese
- 2-3 tablespoons whole milk
- flaked almonds (to decorate)
- mild ground paprika and ground tumeric (to decorate)
- Sieve the flour into a large bowl and then mix in the ground flaxseed.
- Rub in the butter until the mixture looks like rough breadcrumbs:
- Grate the cheddar cheese and stir it into the mixture.
- Add the milk, mixing in each tablespoon at a time, until the mixture comes together into a firm dough. You may need to use your hands to form the dough into a ball.
- If you have time, put it in the fridge for 30 minutes or so. If not, whack it in the freezer for a few minutes to help it firm up (this should help with the rolling and shaping).
- Once you are ready, roll out the dough into a rectangle, 1cm thick. You may need to squash it together using your hands if cracks appear in the dough.
- Using a clean, sharp knife, cut the dough into long finger size slices:
- Now it’s time to shape and decorate! In a little bowl, mix together equal proportions of the ground paprika and tumeric (you won’t need much so maybe only 1/4 tsp of each one is required). Alternatively, mix freestyle to get the colour you desire (i.e. use more paprika if you prefer a redder look!) . Get a handful of flaked almonds at the ready and then:
- For a simple claw: simply add a flaked almond at one end of the dough stick and rub in some of the paprika/ tumeric mix.
- For a more sophisticated claw: create a semi-circle claw shape, manipulate the dough so that you have nobbly knuckles (you need to do quite an extreme shape otherwise it’ll be lost in the baking) and shape the end of the finger into a point. Add a flaked almond at the end and rub in the paprika/ tumeric mix.
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Place your claws on a greased baking tray and cook in the oven for around 15 minutes until crispy. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
- Serve your spooky snacks (tomato sauce ‘blood’ optional).