When I lived in the USA I didn’t really eat much cornbread, it’s not that I don’t like it, I just never really found a good way to eat it. I have always found that it was a little too sweet to eat with a meal and I never really thought to eat it as a snack. So, I pretty much didn’t eat cornbread!
But when I moved to Brazil, my husband introduced me to a very common cornbread that is called broa and I completely fell in love with it. Since first eating it I try to always have some in the house as I can’t go too long without it. Broa is a sweet cornbread seasoned with a little bit of fennel seed and is shaped into little or big rolls!
There are many different kinds of broa, some are more fluffy and others are much more dense. Usually, broa is made with cornflour and a little bit of white flour, but there are some recipes that don’t use white flour and others that substitute the white flour for tapioca flour.
Since moving to Brazil and first trying broa I only bought it and never really took the time to learn how to make it at home. Fifteen minutes from my farm there is a really good bakery and they make the best broa I have ever had. Because their broa is so good, I never wanted to make it at home, and just kept buying it! But, the other day I decided to finally give it a shot and make my own. I found a wonderful recipe that was super simple and gluten-free. Within about 40 minutes I had piping hot, fluffy, broas out of the oven and ready to be consumed. They were so good that a few days later I made another batch, which was devoured quickly!
This recipe is wonderful. It is super easy. It is gluten-free. And, once you try these little Brazilian Cornbreads, you will want to have them for breakfast everyday or every afternoon with your coffee or tea!
1 cup of corn flour
¾ cup of tapioca flour (polvilho doce)
1 ¾ cup of water
½ cup of white sugar
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of fennel seeds
2 large eggs (or 3 small)
1 tsp baking powder
Butter and corn flour to grease tray
Mix the cornmeal and tapioca flour together in a bowl and set aside.
In a medium pan, mix the water, oil, sugar, salt and fennel seeds. Bring to a boil. As soon as the mixture begins to boil, turn off the heat and add the cornmeal and tapioca flour, all at once. Using a metal whisk, mix very fast until the mixture forms a ball and does not stick to the sides of the pan. Transfer the mixture to a standing mix bowl (I use a kitchen aid) and leave to cool for 10 minutes.
While the mixture is cooling, grease one large or two small cookie trays and lightly cover with cornmeal. Preheat the oven to 200C or 390F.
Once the mixture has cooled a little, begin whisking and add one egg, mix until fully incorporated. Add the second egg and fully incorporate. Lastly, add the baking powder making sure to mix in well. The mixture should be smooth, but slightly sticky.
To make the little balls, put some cornmeal into a teacup, take a spoonful of the mixture and place into the teacup, swirl the mixture around in the teacup, forming a nice little ball, and pop out onto the prepared cookie sheet. This method makes it much easier to make the little balls as the mixture is very sticky and is almost impossible to roll by hand. Additionally, each ball will have a nice light covering of extra cornmeal.
Bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until they have risen and are a little hard on the outside. Do not let them brown too much!
Eat these right out of the oven with butter, cream cheese or Brazilian requeijão!