Saturday, June 15, 2013

Tea Room Recipe #24 - Fort House Tea Room (Waco, Texas)

Consider the humble cheese straw. Do you like to eat them? Do you like to make them? I've rarely met a cheese straw I didn't like, and I associate them with three particular occasions: 1) southern weddings before, oh, the 1990s or so 2) bridal and baby showers 3) tea room luncheons. I was watching TV the other morning when a psychologist was asked his opinion of a recent bride who is experiencing depression now that her big, honkin' hoopla of a wedding is over with. That kind of thing just makes me roll my eyes, and as I told my husband, I think things were better back during those simpler times when weddings (here in the South, at least) meant wedding cake, party mints and cheese straws. (OK, and crustless, triangular pimiento cheese finger sandwiches if you wanted to go *really* fancy.) So maybe that's one reason I had cheese straws on the brain when I flipped through a tea room cookbook the other night.

"Kitchen Delights from Then and Now" is a book of "treasured recipes" from the Fort House Tea Room and the Friends of Historic Waco Foundation. There are many tasty-sounding recipes in this book, and I love the fact that actual Fort House Tea Room recipes in the book are denoted by a teapot icon. Cute!

The recipe for Nell's Cheese Wafers (which are basically round cheese straws) sounded fun and easy, two qualities I like in a recipe. When I made these, my husband commented on how he enjoyed the crispy texture. I asked if he could guess the magic ingredient that made them crispy, and he could not. Can you?

Nell's Cheese Wafers

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 pound sharp Cheddar cheese (Cracker Barrel brand is recommended, but I used store brand)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 sticks margarine, melted
2 cups Rice Krispies
Dash of Tabasco sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large mixing bowl combine flour, cheese, salt and cayenne. Add margarine, Rice Krispies and Tabasco. Roll into small balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Press flat using a fork dipped in flour. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until beginning to brown around the edges. Yields 4-6 dozen, depending on how small you roll them. I rolled mine just under an inch in diameter and got about 4 dozen. (Wafers may be frozen, which is nice to know!)


  1. I will definitely try these. I'm a cheese lover and just the thought of cheese straws makes my mouth water!

  2. I have a 1995 newspaper clipping of this recipe published in the food section of my local paper. They were served at a luncheon benefit for the symphony. They look pretty flattened with a fork !

  3. Rice Krispies! That's a fun addition!

  4. A perfect appetizer for any occassion I should think.

    How doesn't love crunchie hot cheese foods?

    Thank you for sharing - I have never made nor eaten cheese straws before.
    I am such a Yank sometimes, haha.

  5. Hello Angela, these look delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe, I am going to try it. Joanie

  6. Those look yummy. I love cheese straws. I have a tea (and olive oil!) related post on my blog today that you might enjoy... especially if you ever wander up to the Buffalo area!!

  7. Hello Angela
    I used to make a similar tasting cracker which was rolled into a log and then sliced into wafers. There weren't rice crispies in them though!
    Our store brand sells a nice parmesan cheese straw that I use as part of an appetizer tray with company.
    Thanks for another good recipe to try.

  8. This is very similar to a recipe my husband's grandmother made. And you more or less described my wedding reception. :-)

  9. Now I have never heard of cheese straws for weddings, definitely a southern thing. Smiling! Interesting crispy ingredient with rice krispies.

  10. I do dearly love cheese straws and cheese wafers. I have eaten these, and they are fabulous! But I didn't have the recipe, so now I do. Thank you for sharing it. Yum! (and I do agree about the wedding receptions, too!)

  11. Very nice. I love the rice krispies crunch factor in this recipe. I like cheese straws but mine don't usually have any pizzazz. I think these would give the perfect amount of it because of the crunchiness. I think I will try this recipe the next time I need something like this for a party or shower. Also I just hate to pipe cheese straws. By the time I am finished squeezing out all of the batter I am just pooped. Thanks for the recipe!

  12. I just loved your comment about Southern weddings "back in the day"! Mine was in 1983, in Texas, and we served cake and punch, cream cheese mints (that I hand-made with a rose shaped mold) and these exact cheese wafers (that my college roommate and I made and froze for months ahead of time)! I still make them occasionally. My youngest son, who just married in November, called one day asking for the recipe because he wanted to make them.


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