Pão de Queijo, or Brazilian Cheese Bread for you North Americans, is AMAZING, and with the Olympics in Rio, what better time to enjoy the chewy, cheesy goodness?
The first time I had these I was at a brunch among friends. One person brought them upon request because it was another friend’s favorite food. I embarrassingly ate at least 4 of them, they are so yummy.
I have tried a couple of recipes. Some call for blending/food precessing the ingredients (SimplyRecipes) instead of using a stove top. Others call for cheddar (Food52), feta or any kind of cheese. Some encourage using muffin tins for baking (gawd I hate washing those). This one seems to be the most authentic, but what would I know? I have only ever had them at brunch. Either way, feel free to mix it up a bit.
Pão de Queijo
Makes 10 – 12 biscuits. Based on the recipe from Wikipedia
- ½ cup Oil (your choice; olive, vegetable, butter)
- ⅓ cup Water
- ⅓ cup Milk
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2 cups Tapioca Flour
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- ⅔ cup Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated (it seems you could do cheddar or feta instead, either way it should be fresh)
- 2 Eggs, beaten
- Combine oil, water, milk and salt in a large saucepan and place over medium heat.
- As soon as the mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat and immediately stir in tapioca flour and garlic. You may have to be aggressive with your stirring, the tapioca can be a bit stiff.
- Set mixture aside to rest for 10 – 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°
- After the mixture has cooled, add the Parmesan and eggs. Stir until well combined, though it will still be a bit chunky.
- Using well-greased hands or a greased measuring cup, drop rounded ¼ cup balls onto an ungreased baking sheet. I like to use a silpat. The smoother the balls, the smoother the buns, but either are fine.
- Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until lightly browned.
Best served warm.
I am constantly trying to find healthy, delicious foods to feed my toddler. He’s not a picky eater. Sure, he loves a good purée pack as much as the next kid, but he’d really rather have whatever I am eating; paella, BBQ chicken, arroz con pollo. You name it, he is interested in my food.
So I often find myself making a large meal on Sundays for him to consume all week; roast chicken, fideo, meatloaf and mashed potatoes. I try to keep the salt, sugar and fat to a minimum, but don’t hesitate with spices. I try to stuff veggies into everything because he loves meat and bread and I worry he’s not getting enough vitamins.
As such, I spent some time trying to find bread recipes that aren’t too loaded with sugar or oil, taste good, are easy to make, and have some nutrition.
Enter Zucchini Bread.
This recipe is adapted from Simply Recipes, includes tons of zucchini, but I’ve cut back on the oils and sugars. Even with these compromises it is still delicious. I’ve tried various combinations of cuts, and this is the best balance of moist sweetness and fluffiness.
This post contains photos from two different bakes, one with a large grate, and one small. You can use either, I prefer a large grate.
Baby Bear Zucchini Bread
Makes two loaves. Recipe inspired by Simply Recipes
- 2 tsps Butter, for greasing the pans
- 1 tbsp ground Cinnamon, for flouring the pans
- 3-4 cups Zucchini, grated
- 1 ½ cups Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 ½ cups All Purpose Flour
- 2 tsp Baking Soda
- 2 tsp ground Cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground Ginger
- ¼ tsp ground Nutmeg, freshly grated if you can
- ¾ cup Sugar
- 2 Eggs, beaten
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- ½ tsp Salt
- ¾ cup Applesauce
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 9″ x 5″ loaf pans. Add the entire tbsp of cinnamon to one pan, shake around to coat, then pour excess into second pan and shake to coat.
- Place the grated zucchini in a sieve or colander over a bowl to drain excess moisture. Or place between several paper towels and gently squeeze.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, two tsp cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
- In another large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt. Stir in the drained zucchini and applesauce.
- Add the flour mixture to the zucchini mixture in batches, stirring after each addition.
- Divide the batter equally into the two loaf pans. Bake for 50 minutes until a test comes out clean. Cool in pans for at least 10 minutes.
Serve sliced bread warm with room temperature butter to adults.
Serve bread cubes to toddlers a couple at a time. If your kids are like mine, they will shove all the cubes in their mouth at once.
When Brian was growing up his mom would make this bread for him about every month because he loved it so much. He now regularly makes it for his office and I hope he makes it for our kids some day because it is the best I have ever had. Every time he makes Banana Bread he gets requests for the recipe, and he is happy to share. The real magic is coating the pans with cinnamon.
Brian’s Famous Banana Bread
Makes two loaves. Recipe care of Brian & Pat.
- ¾ cup Vegetable Oil
- 3 Eggs
- 1 ½ cups Milk
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 1 cup mashed Bananas (2 – 3 overripe bananas)
- 3 cups Flour
- 2 cups Sugar
- ½ tsp Baking Soda
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1 ½ tsp Baking Powder
- 2 tsp Cinnamon plus extra for pans
- 1 3oz box Jello® *Instant* Vanilla Pudding
- Optional: 1 cup Walnuts, chopped
You’ll also need two Loaf Pans, and something to grease them, I recommend butter!
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Mix all wet ingredients in the mixing bowl of your electric mixer bowl.
- Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- With your electric mixer on ‘mix,’ or, ‘stir,’ slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients bowl a little at a time. When it’s all mixed, you should get a thick banana bread soup that sticks to the beaters a little. If you’re not squimish about raw egg, this is a perfect time to taste test 😉
If you’ve elected to add nuts, now is the time!
- Grease the inside of the loaf pans, then generously sprinkle some cinnamon in the loaf pans and shake to coat. When baked, this will harden to make a flavorful crust.
- Pour the mixture into the loaf pans evenly.
- Put them in the oven and bake at 325 degrees for about 55 -75 minutes (depending on the oven). You can test to see if it’s done using a toothpick or cake tester (nothing too thick or you’ll let the air out of the loaf). If the tester goes to the bottom and comes out fairly clean, it’s done! If it comes out really gooey, put it back in the oven.
- When it’s done, remove from the oven and let cool for a while. Once cool or cold, remove from the pans by flipping them upside down and gently rocking the bread out so it doesn’t stick or tear.
You can eat the bread cold, but it’s best warm with a little butter… mmm…
My husband loves cinnamon-sugar flavored dough-based products. We’re at a diner, what does he want for breakfast?
Cinnamon French Toast
We’re at a carnival or fair, what kind of snack does he want?
What’s his favorite cereal?
Cinnamon Toast Crunch
What’s his favorite dessert?
Starting to see a trend? You can basically take any bread product, dip it in cinnamon and sugar and he will be happy. And really, it’s a good thing to know this about my husband. With one simple recipe I can win his attention, an argument, or his heart. Okay, I might be exaggerating, but you get the idea 🙂 So imagine the kind of points I can win if I make the worlds best Cinnamon Sticky Buns?
I first had these at a girlfriend’s house and knew immediately I had to have the recipe. Since then I’ve made large gooey rolls, and mini rolls, both outstanding. They take some time (overnight), but don’t require too much labor. Also, if you want to eat them in the morning, you’ll need to get up early, preheat the oven, baking time, cooling time… you get the picture. I recommend starting these on Friday or Saturday night and having them for brunch on Saturday or Sunday. They keep relatively well for a couple days so you can take the leftovers to work on Monday (not that we ever have leftover anything cinnamon-flavored in our house).
Melt Your Husband’s Heart Cinnamon Sticky Buns
Recipe care of Food.com. Makes 9 large or 18 small rolls
- 1 ¼ cup Milk
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 3 tbsp Butter
- 3 cups Flour
- 3 tbsp Sugar
- 1 ¼ tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Instant Yeast
- ¾ cup Brown Sugar
- 1 tbsp Cinnamon
- ⅓ cup Butter
- 1 cup Brown Sugar
- ¼ cup Light Corn Syrup
- 1 cup Pecans, chopped
- 6 tbsp Butter, room temperature
- Layer the roll ingredients in your bread machine according to your bread maker’s instructions (we have and love this breadmaker). Set to ‘Dough’ cycle. If you regularly make bread, you can also do this manually. I don’t have that skill set, so I use the breadmaker and it comes out perfect.
- While the dough is mixing prepare the filling. Mix the ¾ brown sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl.
- Grease the bottom and sides of a 9″ x 9″ baking pan for large rolls or a 13″ x 9″ baking pan for small rolls.
- When the dough cycle is nearly finished, begin making the caramel by combining the ⅓ cup butter, 1 cup brown sugar, and corn syrup in a small pan over moderate heat. Heat and stir just until the syrup is dissolved, then pour it into the greased baking pan and spreafilling ingredientsd it out. Sprinkle the chopped pecans over the caramel.
- When the dough cycle ends place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to 12″ x 15″ rectangle.
- Spread the 6 tbsp room temperature butter on the dough leaving a 1″ border.
- Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar filling over the butter.
- For large rolls, roll the dough lengthwise. For small rolls, roll the dough widthwise. Pinch the seams closed. Cut the dough into sections, 9 large or 18 small (or whatever size you like). Place in the prepared, carameled baking pan spiral side down, close together.
- Cover the baking pan tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours. The dough will rise.
- When you are ready to bake, remove the baking pan from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature for 20 – 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- After the dough has been out of the refrigerator for 20 – 30 minutes, place in the oven and bake at 350 for 30 – 35 minutes or until nicely browned (darker than sugar cookies “golden brown) on top.
- Remove from the oven and immediately flip onto another surface. I like to flip onto a baking sheet lined with a silpat so that it doesn’t stick and for easy cleanup. To do this, I recommend placing the hot baking pan on a wire rack. Then place the baking sheet (and silpat) upside don the baking pan. While firmly holding the wire rack and baking sheet together, flip the buns over quickly away from your body. Be careful! The caramel inside will be boiling and you do not want this on your skin.
- Let the buns cool 20 – 30 minutes before serving. Your husband (kids, partner, friends, neighbors) will smell them and want to eat them at this time. Don’t let them (him). It will only result in burned fingers and tongues, and the caramel will be too runny to enjoy. I promise it will be better later.
- Now that you have waited patiently, serve.
Registering was one of the very few tasks my now husband and I looked forward to when wedding planning. We spent a lot of time trying to have a registry full of things we needed and wanted, thought were funny or useful, and that reflected our style as a couple. Some things were easy to agree on; we had been lusting over a food processor for years (I wish ‘years’ was an exaggeration, but it’s embarrassingly true). Others were a bit one sided; I picked the sewing machine and he picked the Fred & Friends Ninjabread Men Cookie Cutters>.
And then when we agreed the registry was finished, I then went back and added a bunch of things willy nilly.
It wasn’t that I was out to sabotage our registry with things that I wanted exclusively, it was that I spend more time shopping than Brian, and our registry was running out of items. I had been looking at registries for other couples (everyone we know is getting married these days), and I’d think, “Oh, we could use one of those too,” and find a similar object and add it. Brian worried that this behavior would dilute our registry and that we wouldn’t get the things we really wanted, but in the end we got nearly everything, and now we additionally have some extra items that we never would have bought for ourselves.
Honeycomb Pull-Apart Pan, image care of Williams Sonoma
One of these items is Nordic Ware Honeycomb Pull-Apart Dessert Pan (see it on Amazon here). Brian and I have never been bundt people. It’s not my favorite dessert, and I always think once you have a bundt pan, that particular shape and design becomes your signature bundt. People will recognize it as yours. And it takes up so much space in your cupboard for a single function tool that if I were ever going to own one, I’d have to really love it. After seeing a bundt pan on someone else’s registry, I started browsing through the infinite pans on Amazon. It was fairly easy to tell that Nordic Ware is the best in the biz, so I narrowed down my search and browsed through tea cake pans, pans shaped like castles or roses or bugs. Finally I found the honeycomb pan, and instantly I knew this was our pan.
I still felt a bit silly adding it to the registry. Again, we’re not bundt people. I felt even silier when someone bought it for us (thank you David!!!). I wasn’t even entirely sure what we could make in it, since it is an unusual pan with its dividers. We tried the recipe it came with, which was dry and mealy. While the cake came out exactly as the pictures look, the flavor and texture were so disappointing that the pan moved to the back of our cabinet for some time. If you do ever buy this pan, ignore that recipe. Then, one day, I stumbled upon this recipe for Honey Cornmeal Cake. The ingredients are simple, the instructions are easy, and the whole thing takes very little effort.
And the flavor?
I am going to be this mother. Some mothers make cookies or soup or ratatouille. Some mothers are known for their pie or roast or tamales. My mom is known for caramel corn (heaven).
I am going to be known for Honeycomb Cake. The cake can be served as dessert with whipped honey butter, or as breakfast with jam. It’s moist with great texture from the cornmeal, and it’s just dense enough to be a pull-apart bread rather than a true fluffy cake. The orange zest adds a lovely citrus flavor, and the pan divides it into the perfect sections.
I don’t know what this cake tastes like in a regular pan, I am sure it is fine. But it’s the combination of this recipe and this pan that will have my kids requesting it for special occasions and other mothers clamoring for the recipe (yes, I do live in my own little world).
Also, Brian did get his Ninja Cookie Cutters.
Makes one cake. Recipe care of Pure Wow, care of Bees & Beans.
Pan: Nordic Ware Honeycomb Pull-Apart Dessert Pan
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup fine grind cornmeal
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons plus 1½ teaspoons honey
- ½ teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 5 eggs, at room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 325˚. Coat an 8-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the cornmeal until just combined. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar, salt, honey and orange zest until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating fully before adding another. (The batter may start to separate for the last few eggs.) Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake slightly, then remove from the pan, slice and serve.