Brazilian Cheese Bread: Pao de Queijo Recipe

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The term Carnival is derived from the term “carnelavare,” which loosely translates to “remove meat.” The festivity is a time of indulgence before the austerity of lent. The celebration, held the 46th day before Easter, varies by country but is marked by dancing, singing and parades.

Because my past few recipes have been carb heavy, I debated including this even though I learned it is a Carnival staple. In the end, I could not resist. I used to eat these rolls in New York, where a Portuguese bakery was on my pedestrian commute. They are crispy on the outside but chewy inside. Even better, they are easy to make, gluten free and a fave of my kids!

Ingredients:
1 cup milk (I use 2%)
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups tapioca flour*
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese (Mexican cotija cheese also works great)
2 eggs
Mini muffin pan (for 24 mini muffins)
* Tapioca Flour can be found at specialty and Asian markets. It is also called tapioca starch.

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Bring the the first three ingredients to a boil in a saucepan, stirring constantly.
3. Once it comes to a boil, and butter is fully melted, remove from heat.
4. Slowly add one cup tapioca flour, stirring constantly until thoroughly mixed. Add the cheese and eggs to mixture (once it has cooled down some), then the remaining flour. Mix until smooth.
7. Fill each (non-greased) mini muffin cup to the top. You will have enough for 20 rolls.
8. Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes.
Eat while hot. Rolls can be stored covered in the fridge and rewarmed on a low setting in the oven.
As a note, the rolls don’t taste good cold!

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Lauren Capitani was an early foodie. While her friends were busy watching Family Ties , she was tuned into Graham Kerr and Yan Can Cook, and served her friends and family dishes such as beef wellington and baked alaska while still a teen. After college, Lauren received Masters' degrees in both journalism and business and worked in both subsequent fields. At 29, she decided to rewrite her life and became an assistant teacher. For the first time, her vocation became her avocation. She now has certification in both both elementary and early childhood education and has taught at seven schools on both coasts (and in between). Lauren has lived summers in France, England, Spain, Japan, and Thailand, and has visited more than a dozen other countries. When her own children start limiting their food choices, Lauren turned it into a teaching moment and created One World Whisk, a global cooking initiative for children. The project garnered more than 200 followers before its one-month charter was complete.

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