“One of the things I look forward to, when I go to Brazil, are the “family” meals. We have a joke that, if you see people sitting around a table in the U.S., having lunch for longer than 1/2 hour, it must be a business lunch.” (Maria-brazil.org)
In Brazil, mealtimes are sacred – a time to sit down and enjoy time with your family and friends. I managed to find time (after rehearsal and before work) to sit down and have a meal with my friend. We enjoyed leftover Locro de Papa and Biscoitos de Maizena for dessert. These cornstarch cookies are very popular with Brazilians – everyone seems to have a favorite recipe. The ‘Maizena’ comes from the brand name for cornstarch in Brazil.
I also brought them to work and shared my experimental baking with my colleagues (a new dishwasher was especially excited about them and now is always smiling at me). They are very buttery – a bit like a Brazilian shortbread. Drink a glass of water or milk with them, as they are very sticky in the mouth. My brother (my eternal guinea pig for my cooking, as I live with him) gave me the thumbs up.
Biscoitos de Maizena (from maria-brazil.org)
2 cups cornstarch
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter (that equals 12 Tbps)
Preheat oven to 375° F. Sift cornstarch, sugar and salt together, mix the egg and blend in the butter. Knead well. Let stand ten to fifteen minutes. I use a cookie press to drop them on a greased cookie sheet. It makes cookies in different shapes. But usually you shape them into balls in the palm of your hand and drop them on the greased cookie sheet. Then use the tines on a fork to make grooves on the cookies. They look really pretty that way. Some people like to shape the cookies into really tiny balls, others prefer them bigger. Bake for about seven minutes, depending on how big you make them. Let cool and serve with a wonderful cup of Brazilian coffee in the afternoon.
A couple of great websites to find yummy Brazilian food:
Cucabrazuca.com– Brazilian food and cooking for the discerning Gringo
Maria-Brazil.org – a list of Brazilian recipes
Aruban Banana na Binja