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Shortcut Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pão de Queijo)

 Brazilian cheese bread on a round cooling rack

One of my favorite side items when we hit any Brazilian steak house are the little round cheesy bread balls that they bring to the table.  Brazilian Cheese Bread, also known as Pão de Queijo, is made from tapioca flour, olive oil, milk, egg, salt and shredded cheese.  They actually remind me of little mini cheesy popovers - a little crispy on the outside but deliciously soft and chewy on the inside, thanks to that tapioca flour.  These savory treats are the most perfect little bites of heaven - they disappear as fast as they hit the table!  

You won't believe how easy it is to make this shortcut cheat version of these little Brazilian cheese breads at home.  This may not be the most traditional way of making them, but my goodness it's the easiest.  In fact, the hardest part of this whole process was finding the tapioca flour! (I found mine at Smiths and I always pick up two when I see them now.)  This quick and easy short cut recipe let's you throw the batter together in the blender so it is ready to go in the oven in just minutes.  You can literally add them to your dinner menu any night with little to no effort, (but good luck in getting them to last so they actually get on the table - ours are usually gone before dinner starts, no matter how late I make them.)  Full disclosure, I love these even MORE than the ones that we get at the restaurant.

A couple of tips for this recipe:
  • Generously butter or oil each hole in the mini muffin pans - this makes it so much easier to get the little puffy cheese balls out!  I use a paper towel and just swipe it over a stick of butter and quickly hit all the little holes, swiping the butter again as needed.
  • Blend everything except the cheese first to get the batter nice and smooth, then add the cheese and pulse it a few times till the cheese is finely chopped, but still has some substance - this helps give you the shiny, cheesy tops rather than just a smooth, roll like appearance.
  • My absolute favorite mozzarella cheese to use in any of my recipes is the Kraft Philadelphia Creamy Melt shredded mozzarella.  This stuff is so creamy and melty because it has a touch of Philadelphia cream cheese in it!  It is the only mozzarella cheese I will buy any more because just a little goes a long way in recipes to help them be their best cheesy self.  
  • You can absolutely play with different cheeses or add some herbs to change these up a bit if you like!  Grated Gruyere, Parmesan, Swiss, regular sharp cheddar - they will all give their own unique flavor to your cheese bread! 

This recipe will make about 24 little cheesy bites.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 cups tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup shredded white cheddar
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400.  Grease a 24 count mini muffin pan generously with butter or oil.
  2. Add the milk, olive oil, eggs, tapioca flour and salt to the blender and blend until smooth.  Add the cheese and pulse a few times to combine.  
  3. Pour the batter in to the prepared muffin pan holes, filling each one to just below the top. 
  4. Bake at 400 for 18-20 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and let cool 10-15 minutes in the pan, then gently remove from pan and serve.  (They will release from the pan once they cool a bit.)

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