I know that I don’t make breads very often. But I am about to redeem myself with these tapioca breadsticks — a quick, naturally gluten-free Brazilian snack that is best served warm and accompanied by coffee, tea, or any other beverage of your choice. Is that sounding good to you?
I know… Sometimes I can be a lazy cook. On top of that, I confess that bread is not my favorite thing to make… although it’s definitely one of my faves to eat! 🙂 Well let me tell ya, these tapioca breadsticks just became an exception, because they are quick and easy to make… and they are similar to one of my favorite breads: pão de queijo (Brazilian Cheese Rolls). Just thinking about it has me buzzing with excitement!!!
Back in Brazil, these are known as biscoito de polvilho (tapioca “cookies”), and also by some other funny names such as biscoito de vento (“wind cookies”), biscoito voador (“flying cookies”), and biscoito globo (“globe cookies”). Originally from the southeastern state of Minas Gerais, they date back to the colonial period (18th century), and used to be served to the plantation owners along with cheese and coffee at afternoon coffee time. Over time biscoito de polvilho acquired different variations in shape (rings, sticks, or spheres), size (mini and regular sized), cooking methods (fried or baked, like ours), as well as in a few ingredients (some add cheese and/or fennel to the dough).
These are traditionally made from sour tapioca starch, eggs, milk, vegetable oil, and salt…
… and yet they are so popular in Brazil that they are available at supermarkets and even from food vendors at the beach. Vale D’ouro and Panificação Mandarinho are a couple of brands that manufacture this baked goodie.
The main differences between the cheesy version of these tapioca breadsticks and the traditional pão de queijo are basically in the shape, and the fact that some like to add fennel to the dough. However, since I am not a fan of fennel, I used rosemary to flavor ours. Yes, they are a great snack, but can also be a great substitute for crackers or other breads at the hors d’oeuvre table. In that case, you can serve them with caipirinha instead.