Biscoito de Renda Brasileira

So. This recipe called for a cup of finely ground Brazil nuts. Which I happened to have in whole, still-in-the-shell form. Exactly one cup. An hour and one painful blister later, they were in the food processor, ready to grind. It turns out the Brazil nut is a tough nut to crack.

Cracking Brazil nuts open is a humbling experience. Just when I thought I’d managed to find the key to extracting a whole nut from the hard-to-crack shell, the next would explode in fragments flying in every direction with bits of nut flesh attached to each. If I wasn’t scraping nut off shell fragments, I was digging nut out of unbreakable shell segments, pulverizing it as I worked. And, it turns out, pulverizing my fingers, too. You’d think the nut oil would have helped with that, but no.

Biscoito de renda Brasileira (Portuguese for Brazilian lace cookies), or Brazil nut wafers according to Sharon Tyler Herbst, are darkly rich, buttery and crisp. The batter (flour, cocoa, white and brown sugars, cinnamon, melted butter, coffee and ground Brazil nuts) isn’t difficult to mix by hand, and its consistency reminded me a lot of no-bake cookies. The small dollops spread whilst baking into thin, lacy wafers that set up on the cookie sheet shortly after removing them from the oven. The cocoa, coffee and Brazil nuts taste exquisite together. Packing the cookies up for the freezer made me wish we had ice cream in the house, they are so delicate and friable. All the leftover crumbs would have been delicious with a scoop of vanilla.

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About pattiblaine

Raised under the name of Snyder in the upstate NY town of Vestal, I've worked as a typesetter, a fast food salad bar tender, an art reviewer, a waitress, a part-time nanny, and a very-bad-with-phones temp. Once upon a time I was all-but-thesis toward a Masters in Art History. Now I'm just a mom with a lot of fiber squirreled away throughout the house. We call it insulation. In 2013 I completed a life-long learning program at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and am a postulant toward the diaconate in the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, NY. In addition to coordinating volunteers for the soup kitchen, I volunteer as a tutor at a deeply impoverished city elementary school, and am a docent at the Memorial Art Gallery.
This entry was posted in Extracurricular, On the fly (aka from a mobile device), The Joy of Cookies and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Biscoito de Renda Brasileira

  1. Too late now, (but there might be a next time)–Freeze the brazil nuts before attempting to crack the shells. 24 hours in the freezer doesn’t make the job easy–but easier. (or just cheat, as i do, and buy them pre-shelled!)–The cookies sound wonderful a bit of sunshine baked.(all those tropical ingredients)

    • pattiblaine says:

      Thank you for the tip, Helen! I couldn’t find shelled Brazil nuts at our grocer, but I didn’t look very hard either. They aren’t my favorite nut, I guess! Delicious cookies though so maybe in the future…

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