My last post was all about celebrating the late arrival of spring up here in Minnesota. Well, I guess I spoke too early. After just a few days of heat and sunshine, the temperature dropped to around 35 degrees. And to make matters worse, there was a mix of rain and SNOW yesterday. Yes, snow on May 1st. That I had not seen yet. But I have only lived here for about 9 years....I guess there is a lot I don't know about this place.
So, yesterday, when all was dark and cold, I had to make something that yells comfort food to me (and most Brazilians!) - Palha Italiana. It is pretty hard to translate the name of this recipe to English. But all you need to know is that this is a chewy and crunchy treat with chocolate and cookie flavors. But not any cookie, this recipe calls for a cookie made with corn starch (among other things) that is very popular in Latin America. In Brazil we call it, Biscoito de Maizena. During a trip to the grocery store last weekend I found a similar version at the Mexican food aisle: Marias Gamesa cookies (there is picture of the package bellow). Anyway, the good news is that you can make this recipe just like the original one if you can very few ingredients:
Sweetened condensed milk (any brand):
Marias Cookies (most grocery stores that sell Mexican foods have this), or Biscoito de Maizena (if you live by a Brazilian food market).
And finally, cocoa powder and butter. You will also need a little bit of granulated sugar to coat the treats later.
So all you have to do is to mix together, sweetened condensed milk, butter and cocoa powder in a heavy bottomed pan. Bring the mixture to a boil, turn down the heat to medium and cook stirring constantly for about 12 minutes, until the mixture is thick and glossy. You know the mixture is ready if you tilt the pan and the whole thing drops in a big blob to the other side of the pan (without sticking to the bottom of the pan).
At that point you can turn off the stove and add the cookies that you broke down in small pieces. My son helped with this:
Stir in the cookies and transfer mixture to a greased (with unsalted butter) baking pan in one uniform layer:
Allow the misture to come to room temperature. Cover it and chill in the refrigerator for about 1 hour. Cut the sweet in small squares:
And coat it in granulated sugar:
And it is done! I keep this treat it in the refrigerator. If you prefer to eat it at room temperature, simply take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before serving. It is chewy, gooey and crunch and delicious!! Enjoy!!
makes about 20 squares
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
20 Marias cookies, broken in small pieces
granulated sugar for coating
Combine sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder and butter in a heavy bottomed pan. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for approximately 10 to 12 minutes until the mixture is thick, glossy and pulls away from the sides and bottom of the pan. Turn off the heat, and add the cookies. Stir is well and transfer mixture to a small baking pan greased with unsalted butter. Make sure to spread mixture in one uniform layer. Cool at room temperature. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 40 minutes to 1 hour until it is hard enough to cut. Cut dessert in equal sized squares, coat squares with granulated sugar and serve. Keep in the refrigerator. Served chilled or at room temperature.