I participated in the Mom Blog Tour at the Summer Fancy Food Show on behalf of Wendy’s Bloggers and received John Wm. Macy’s CheeseSticks products to facilitate my review and Brussels Sprouts Gratin recipe.
I’d like to introduce you to a new friend of mine. His name is John Wm. Macy, and he’s a foodie from way back. From catering clambakes on Martha’s Vineyard as a teen to creating his own unique hand-rolled twists of crunchy sourdough and sharp, aged cheeses, John knows what’s up when it comes to unique specialty foods. These days, he’s devoted his efforts to creating a growing variety of premium, all-natural cheese-filled snack/appetizers called (what else?) – John Wm. Macy’s CheeseSticks.
And anyone who makes something this good is definitely a friend of mine.
When I attended the NY Fancy Food Show back in July, I had the chance to meet with John and the rest of his team. They explained to us the process of how they make these twice-baked, hand-rolled crunchy puffs (did you catch that? Hand rolled?) and the first thing I asked was, “Is there a point in the process where you get to steal a warm one off the rack?” John assured me that yes, it was the ultimate job perk. As a bakery long-timer, I know he meant it.
Just look at that texture!
Why are JWM CheeseSticks so delicious? The ingredients are all natural, the layers are thin and delicate (think croissant, only crunchy), and the cheeses they use are aged just right, like their Original Cheddar. Some are paired with complementary flavors like Garlic Romano, Sesame Gruyere, and Dijon Swiss (<– my personal favorite.)
But it doesn’t stop at savory. At the show, JWM CheeseSticks was announcing the debut of their SweetSticks, which come in Java Cinnamon, Dutch Chocolate and Madagascar Vanilla. Believe it or not, they all contain Monterey Jack cheese (for texture and richness) but the sweetness is perfection. These have replaced biscotti as my current favorite coffee dunker!
For Every Occasion
After meeting with the folks from JWM CheeseSticks, I realized how smart their product really is. Sweet or savory, CheeseSticks are SO versatile – if you have a box on hand, you’re really set for everything from movie night with the kids to a lovely hostess gift. I’d bring these to a picnic just as quickly as I would to a New Year’s Eve party, and they’re perfect for coffee and snacks with drop-in guests. They even make a smaller CheeseCrisp that you can toss in soup or on top of a salad.
My pantry will never be without a box again, especially now that I realized what a great recipe ingredient they are! If you are making anything at all with a crumb topping or breading, JWM Cheesesticks are a substitute that doesn’t require any extra help to taste great and provide the perfect texture and crunch. All the flavor is right there! All you have to do is give them a whirl in the food processor, and toss them into your meatloaf, on top of your casserole or all over your chicken fingers!
In the world of a blogger, it’s never too early to start thinking about holidays, so I’ve started experimenting with Thanksgiving side dishes. I’ve definitely hit a winner with this Cheesy Brussels Sprouts Gratin topped with JWM CheeseSticks. It’s holiday-perfect, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until then to make it!
It’s really very easy – simply make the cheese sauce, toss it with your steamed Brussels Sprouts, top with CheeseSticks crumbs and bake.
You’ll end up with tender sprouts loaded with creamy cheese and crunchy cheese.
Dare I say that even the kids will love this one? With that CheeseStick topping, I’d say it’s a shoo-in.
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- 2 pounds Brussels Sprouts, halved
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2–3 scallions, chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 6 ounces Gruyere cheese, sliced or shredded
- 1¾ cups whole milk
- 1 box Cheddar & Scallion JWM CheeseSticks (or other cheese cracker)
- Heat a large pot of salted water. Blanch the halved brussels sprouts for 3 to 4 minutes, until slightly tender. Remove from pot and drain. Rinse with cold water and set aside.
- Add butter to the pot and melt on medium heat. Add the scallions and cook until softened, 4–5 minutes. Add the flour to the butter scallion mixture to make a roux, whisking until blended and smooth. Add the milk and stir with a wooden spoon until fully blended. Cook over medium low heat for several minutes, stirring, until the sauce thickens and coats the back of your spoon. Add salt and pepper.
- Add 4 ounces of grated Gruyere cheese into sauce and stir until the cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Taste and add more salt or pepper if necessary.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray or butter an 8"x12" gratin dish or casserole. Combine sprouts and cheese sauce and place the whole mixture in dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Place CheeseSticks in food processor and pulse until they reach a medium crumb. Sprinkle over top of Brussels Sprouts. Tent with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
**Giveaway has ended**
One lucky reader will WIN a “Delicious Dozen” with 12 of 13 John Wm. Macy’s flavors of CheeseSticks, CheeseCrisps and SweetSticks! Trust me, when this box arrives, you’ll wonder where these have been all your life.
Prize retail value is approximately $50. Ends 9/15. US only, 18 and over.