Brazilian cheese bread, also known as pao de queijo in Portuguese, are small, baked rolls made from tapioca flour, making it naturally gluten free. This traditional bread is a popular snack in Brazil and has become a mainstay freezer item in many stores here in the U.S. They are packaged in small, colorful bags; one of the more popular brand names is Brazi Bites. They come in various flavors, from sweet to savory, and are ready in just a few minutes, making it the perfect go-to recipe. Serve it as a holiday appetizer, alongside a hot mug of soup or a green salad for lunch or as a side dish with dinner!
For this recipe, I paired them with a homemade garlic-herb infused oil (see below for how to do this!) and arranged them as a pull-apart treat. The possibilities are endless, really. Top with shredded mozzarella and dip in marinara sauce for an easy, gluten free spin on pizza. Or turn them into a sweet treat by toping with a mixture of melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.
1 1/2 bags of Pao de Queijo (thawed in refrigerator)
Extra virgin olive oil infused with garlic and herbs (such as rosemary, thyme or oregano)
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Optional: shredded mozzarella and marinara sauce
Step 1Thaw the bag of bread in the refrigerator.
Step 2Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Step 3Place the thawed cheese breads in a seasoned, 9″ cast iron pan.
Step 4Brush both sides of the rolls with the garlic-herb oil. You can also add extra herbs or chopped garlic if you like a stronger flavor.
Step 5Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Step 6Bake for about 10 minutes, turning half-way through.
Step 7If you are using the shredded mozzarella, turn your oven to broil and add the mozzarella. Broil for a couple of minutes or until the cheese melts and is lightly golden.
Step 8Serve immediately right from the cast iron pan (be careful as it will be very hot!). Dip in hot marinara sauce, if desired.
To infuse the olive oil:
Combine good quality extra virgin olive oil with several cloves of peeled garlic and fresh herbs in a pot. Bring to a simmer, then reduce to low heat and very gently simmer for about one hour, uncovered. Ladle into glass jars and store in refrigerator. You can strain out the garlic and herbs if you like, but I prefer to leave it in.
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