Broas

Fresh lime juice, fresh lime zest, nutmeg and cinnamon are the dominant notes in these delightfully refreshing cookies. Very much like sugar cookies, they are crisp and buttery. To use Ms. Herbst’s descriptor they have a citrusy “sparkle.”

In investigating the source of the word broa and Ms. Herbst’s assertion that the recipe for these Georgetown lime cookies comes from British Guyana (also spelled Guiana, but now simply Guyana, no British necessary) I admit to once again being a bit frustrated. Google tells me that broas are Philippine lady-fingers, and contain no lime, but sometimes include the strained contents of cans of fruit cocktail. The only other online reference to the cookie is Ms. Herbst’s own recipe, reproduced in full in a Food.com entry.

And so, I turned my attention to the word. I found that broas is the bread part of the Portuguese for corn bread. I found that, in Portuguese, broa is gem. Could this be Ms. Herbst’s sparkle? I also found that broas de mel are scones with honey in Portuguese, or cookies made with the syrup of sugarcane. But enter broas in the translator, and I get broas for the English. Enter scones and bread, I get bolinho and pão. And while Portuguese and Spanish are common second languages in Guyana, English is the dominant language. So if these are a recipe from Guyana, why Portuguese?

And why from Guyana? These are questions I may not be able to answer without visiting an actual library… However, visit Wikipedia and tell me you have no desire to go to Guyana. I don’t know if it’s that wood-frame church, or the exotic bird, or the landscape, but it looks like a lovely place to be.

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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.

6 Responses to Broas

  1. Abi says:

    LOL! I clicked on the link because I was hoping you made the Philippine version of lady fingers! It definitely does not have lime… but garnished with canned fruit for “special occasions”. I just like it plain with my coffee. 🙂

  2. I am not sure cookie names have any sort of logic. OK, some do, (peanut butter cookies), but snickerdoodles? or even brownies–sure they are brown from the chocolate, but there are plenty of other chocolate cookies…and one my favorite, Magic cookies? (which should really be called opens and pour cookies…cause that is all you do) Names are tricky things. sometimes they mean something, and some time, the name is just a name.

  3. Marianne says:

    Those sound delicious!

  4. Sarah says:

    These sound delicious!

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