While looking through the recipes for Brazilian sweet treats my American friends like the most I realized that a lot of them are based on condensed milk: Paçoca, Mango Mousse, Manjar Branco, Avocado Cream. I guess it is the definite proof that Brazilians have a sweet tooth.
So, here is another one: Palha Brasileira or Brazilian Straw in its literal translation. Many places still call it Palha Italiana or Italian Straw, although no such treat exists in Italy as far as we know. It is thought that European immigrants made a version of the ‘Chocolate Salami‘ using the Brazilian brigadeiro.
So this recipe is yet another variation on the famous Brigadeiro, of which I have already posted a Passion fruit version.
What I love most about Palha Brasileira, besides the fact that it reminds me of my childhood, is the contrast between the soft and chewy brigadeiro and the crunchiness of the cookies. You can heat it up shortly in the microwave before serving it with ice cream. YUM!
You will need:
- 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
- 1 generous Tbsp of unsalted butter
- 3 Tbsps of cocoa powder
- 2 packages of Maria cookies (total of 7 ounces) OR
- 1 package of animal crackers (about 7 ounces)
- about 1 pounds of granulated sugar or powdered sugar
- In a medium sauce pan combine the condensed milk, the cocoa powder and the butter.
- With the heat on low, slowly mix the ingredients till well combined.
- While stirring constantly let the mixture heat further up till it bubbles.
- The mixture will at first become more fluid than slowly thicken up.
- It is done when the the mixture loosens from the bottom of the pan when you turn it (about 20 minutes in)
- If you are using the Maria cookies break them up in smaller pieces. If you are using animal crackers you can use them as is.
- Mix the cookies pieces into the mix.
- Pour onto a square coated pan.
- Refrigerated for several hours for the mix to harden.
- Cut into squares or rectangle and press into the granulated sugar to coat from all sides.
For a variation, forgo the cocoa powder and you will end up with a caramel version of Palha Italiana.
If you prefer you can also roll them into balls like these by Panelaterapia.
Chocolate Palha Brasileira
Caramel Palha Brasileira
Photographs by Palha Brasileira