This week my Brazilian friend V. invited me to her place to learn to make “coxinha de galinha”, an appetizer from Brazil. I don’t miss many things from my home country since my mom sends me the mixture to make “pao de queijo” every month, but after she mentioned “coxinha”, my mouth started to water. It’s a fried dough stuffed with shredded chicken found everywhere in Brazil. We eat it in parties, at home, as an appetizer, as a snack, anytime, anywhere.
I thought she had made “coxinha” many times before, but when I arrived she was watching a YouTube video to learn how to make it. Instead of following the recipe step-by-step like I would, she shut off her computer and started to make it by scratch. It was quite funny for her to hear me ask questions like “how to you mince garlic?” or “what does kneading mean?”, but people don’t believe me when I say I don’t know how to cook until they see me ask stupid cooking questions like that. I didn’t really learn how to make “coxinha” that day. I’m yet to master the whole cooking by scratch thing. However, I’m really good at eating. They were huge appetizers, but I ate two at her house, then two while driving back home, and two more when I got home. I’m sorry, but all you guys who are gluten free, healthy eaters, don’t know what you’re missing. Indulging in some fried dough once in a while is what life is all about!
So what does “coxinha” have to do with “palha italiana”? Well, nothing, except that after eating some Brazilian food, I started craving more! While at work today, someone told the new staff that I make pretty good desserts, so that was my cue to make something at home. “Palha italiana” is one of those things that remind me of my childhood, then of middle school, and then of even college, because it is also a snack/dessert I could find anytime, anywhere in Brazil.
Palha Italiana – Brazilian Graham Cracker Cookie Bar
1 can condensed milk
3 tbsp. chocolate power
2 tbsp. butter
8 sheets of Graham crackers
In a bowl, crumble the Graham Crackers (in Brazil, “biscoito Maizena”). Reserve.
In a pan, mix the condensed milk, the chocolate powder, and the butter. Stir in low heat for 10-15 minutes or until mixture gets a little thicker.
Add the Graham cracker crumbles and mix it all together.
Pour the mixture into a 9×9 pan and let it cool. Cut it into 9 squares.
Calories: 275 per square