Last Updated on August 9, 2023 by Share My Kitchen
Biscoitos de Maizena, a Brazilian cookie that melts in your mouth, are very popular. These cookies are different from other cookies because they contain cornstarch, and that’s the primary ingredient.
“Biscoitos de maizena” literally translates to “cornstarch cookies.”
This recipe can be made with or without coconut. Coconut is not a common ingredient in all recipes, but it is very popular.
But, don’t worry if you don’t have coconut. The Biscoitos de Maizena will still taste delicious.
They will taste more like sweet cookies than a coconut-flavored cookie.
Cornstarch, also known as corn flour, is the main ingredient. However, the recipe still does include flour. This flour helps stabilize cornstarch and makes it more cookie-like.
You can leave it out to make these gluten-free, but you should replace it with an egg. If you don’t, you will have a sweetened cornstarch, and there’s nothing enjoyable with that texture in your mouth.
Surprisingly, almost all the Brazilian recipes have read called for margarine, not butter. This recipe calls for oil in order to avoid margarine whenever possible.
But, if you prefer to use butter, you can use 1 cup to replace 3/4 cup of oil.
WHAT YOU NEED
- Dry measuring cups and spoons
- Liquid measuring cup
- Baking spatula
- Mixing bowl
- Baking paper
- Cookie sheets
- Cooling rack
TO CHILL OR NOT TO CHILL?
Oil cookies don’t need to be chilled.
It has not made any difference when it is chilled or placed into the oven directly.
BAKING WITH OIL
Oil in baked goods generally gives a better texture than those made with butter.
Also, oil cakes bake taller and have a better crumb. These are moister and more tender than butter cake recipes.
Moreover, these are lighter in texture than those made with butter because oil is lighter than butter.
It also creates a tender crumb as oil is 100% fat while almost all American butter is usually 15% water.
This is because the extra water strengthens gluten, which results in a more dense crumb.
WHICH TYPE OF OIL TO USE
You must use neutral oils such as vegetable oil, canola oil, and safflower oil. It is not uncommon, however, to use oils with stronger flavors, such as olive oil or coconut oil.
Pure olive oil is better if you are using olive oil as it has a milder taste and a higher smoking point.
BAKING WITH OIL CONVERSION CHART
You can convert butter recipes to oils by using a butter to oil conversion chart.
HOW TO MEASURE FLOUR AND OTHER DRY INGREDIENTS
Use a dry measuring cup to scoop the ingredients out of the bag or spoon them in the cup.
Then, use an upside-down butter knives to level the ingredients.
Brown sugar is the exception to this rule. You should pack brown sugar down, and then scrape off any extra.
DRY VS LIQUID MEASURING CUP
Have you ever wondered why measuring spoons come with a set measuring cups? It just didn’t make sense why we needed a set, when we could use one large measuring cup.
But, you will find the answer to this question after a quick Google search. The large measuring cup can be used to measure liquids while the set can be used for dry ingredients.
It turns out that if you use a liquid cup to measure dry ingredients, the measurements can get misaligned.
You first pour the cocoa or flour in. Next, you shake it to level it and then add more.
When you shake it, the powder settles. If you add more, you will end up with more than you need.
WHY SIFT FLOUR AND OTHER POWDER INGREDIENTS
Sifting flour and other ingredients, such as cocoa, has many benefits:
This removes all unwanted debris, and allows you to get a more precise measurement than if the item is packed tightly in a bag.
It will also eliminate any lumps in the batter that could be difficult to break down later or missed entirely before baking.
Sifting powdered ingredients together will help you combine them better and make it easier to mix with other dry ingredients, such as sugar.
If you have baked before, sugar may seem simple. But questions have been raised before, so here’s the explanation.
There are many types of sugar: white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla sugar, powdered sugar, turbinado sugar, and demerara sugar.
If a recipe says “sugar,” but doesn’t specify anything else, it’s regular white sugar.
White sugar is sometimes called table sugar, granulated, or white granulated sugar. It is made from either beet sugar or cane sugar that have been refined.
It is easy to find and the most commonly used.
Brown sugar is white sugar that with molasses added.
It is used frequently in chocolate chip cookie recipes. However, it is rare for a recipe calling for brown sugar to not also include white sugar.
If a recipe says “brown sugar,” but does not specify the type, it means that it refers to light brown sugar.
There are different types of brown sugar: dark brown sugar, light brown sugar, or demerara sugar (very common in Israel).
Keep in mind, however, that each product will have a different flavor and color.
Turbinado sugar is also known as “raw sugar.” However, this sugar is not “raw,” despite its name.
It’s actually partially refined sugar, which retains some of its original molasses.
It is possible that the term “raw sugar” may give off an impression that it’s somehow healthier.
But, in reality, turbinado sugar has nutritional similarities to white sugar.
Demerara sugar is a well-known and well-used sugar in Israel. It is delicious when added in tea and can also be used in baking.
This only undergoes minimal processing as much as white sugar, so it retains some vitamins.
It is not as healthy as white sugar, however.
Vanilla sugar isn’t very common in the United States. It is, however, very common in Israel and other parts of Europe.
This sugar has vanilla beans added to it for a longer period of time, which gives it a vanilla taste.
This sugar is very common in the United Kingdom.
Its grain is finer than white (granulated sugar) and larger than powdered sugar.
Caster sugar is usually used in delicate baked goods such as meringues, souffles, and sponge cakes.
A 1:1 conversion rate can be used between white (granulated) and caster sugar.
Powdered sugar is also known as confectioners’ sugar. It is a sugar that has a powdered texture.
It is rarely used in baking. Instead, it is used to dust desserts, snd make frostings and icings.
Powdered vanilla sugar is also available in some countries.
It’s made in the same manner as regular vanilla sugar. But, the sugar is powdered and not granulated.
VANILLA EXTRACT VS VANILLA SUGAR
This recipe does not indicate which type of vanilla you will use because vanilla extract is used exclusively in the United States.
However, vanilla sugar is also common in Israel and many other European countries.
Both vanilla extract and vanilla sugar can be used in most, if not all, recipes.
You can substitute vanilla sugar for extract 1:1 in recipes that call for it.
REPLACING SUGAR WITH HONEY
You can use honey in place of sugar with good results.
Honey can be twice or thrice as sweet depending on what you use. So, instead of using 1 cup of sugar, you can use 1/2 or 2/3 cup of honey.
Honey adds liquid so you will need to remove some in order to balance it out. Remove 1/4 cup of liquid for every cup of honey.
It also burns quicker than granulated sugar, so lower the baking temperature by at least 25°F or 4° C. You should also check it early often to reduce the chances of burning or overbaking.
TYPES OF VANILLA
Vanilla is from a pod, also known as “vanilla bean,” which are from vanilla orchids.
Vanilla pod, which has been used to flavor since the Aztecs, was brought to Europe by a Spanish conquistador along with cocoa.
Vanilla beans are soaked in alcohol for a while to create vanilla extract. This is the most popular type of vanilla.
Vanilla sugar is a common ingredient in Europe and certain parts of the Middle East, like Israel.
It is made of vanilla beans in sugar, vanilla bean powder combined with sugar, or sugar with vanilla extract.
You can also find vanilla powdered sugar in some countries, like Italy. This sugar is used to make confections.
Vanilla paste is a specialty item. This thick paste is made from a mixture of vanilla extract and the vanilla pod seeds that have been scraped.
It can be used like vanilla extract, and will leave vanilla bean flakes just like what you see in vanilla bean ice cream.
Imitation vanilla, also known as imitation vanilla or vanilla essence, is made from synthetic vanilla.
This is the naturally occurring compound found in vanilla beans and gives it its flavor.
CAN I USE IMITATION VANILLA?
Many people will tell you to use only the highest quality vanilla, exactly like what they would say you need to use the best cocoa.
However, most people won’t be willing to buy the high-quality ingredients at a steep price.
Vanilla is very expensive, so is the extract.
Therefore, if you don’t have regular vanilla extract, you can use imitation vanilla.
ADJUSTING FOR A CONVECTION OVEN
A regular oven heats food by enveloping it in hot, dry air. This air heats the outside of food, which gradually penetrates into the food’s interior until it is cooked through.
These days, the fan generates extra energy in a convection oven. It blows the hot air around and produces around 25-30 percent more energy depending on how powerful the fan is.
Hot spots can also occur in regular ovens. However, convection ovens have a fan that circulates the air to even out temperature variations.
Convection ovens produce more heat so you will need to lower the temperature or reduce the cooking time in order to compensate.
If recipes include temperatures and cooking times, they are for traditional ovens. This is except if the recipe is for convection ovens.
The easiest method is to lower the oven temperature by 25°F to 50°F than what the recipe calls for.
It is a good rule of thumb to reduce the temperature by 25°F for baking cookies and pies, and 50°F for roasting meats. There are separate settings on some convection ovens for baking and roasting.
Alternatively, you can leave the temperature as is, but reduce the cooking time by 25%. For example, if your recipe calls for baking for 60 minutes, you can check the food after 45 minutes.
Keep in mind, however, that some convection ovens can adjust the heat for you. This means that a convection oven might adjust to 325°F to compensate if it is set at 350°F. So, before making any adjustments, make sure to check your manual.
WHY IS IT TAKING LONGER THAN DESCRIBED TO BAKE?
Over time, oven thermostats can become a bit off. This causes some ovens to heat up while others will cool down. This is why you will see recipes that say “10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown” instead of “10 to 15 minutes.” Don’t worry, you can keep baking until it’s done.
WHY DID THE RECIPE COME OUT TOO DRY?
Some ovens run cool while others run hot. Bake the items at a lower temperature if your oven runs hot. Ideally, to determine the temperature at which you are baking, use an oven thermometer.
HOW TO STORE COOKIES
Allow cookies to cool completely. Then, put the cookies in a resealable bag or an airtight container. Keep at room temperature for up to one week.
HOW TO FREEZE COOKIES
Allow cookies to cool completely. Cookies should be frozen on a tray, so they are frozen as individuals. Then, transfer them in a resealable freezer bag.
If this is not feasible, you can also freeze the cooled cookies in a resealable freezer bag, and freeze that way.
Cookies can be kept for up to 3 months. The quality of the cookies begins to decrease after that.
Take out the bag of frozen baked cookies and allow them to thaw at room temperature.
To recreate the fresh taste and texture of freshly baked cookies, gently reheat the thawed cookies in an oven at 275°F or 140°C until they are soft.
To make these gluten-free, you can use cornstarch only. Instead of melting in your mouth, it will feel like you had just taken a spoonful of cornstarch. It was not good.
|Prep Time||10 mins|
|Cook Time||7 mins|
|Total Time||17 mins|
- 1 2/3 cups cornstarch (215 grams)
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour (45 grams)
- ⅔ cup white sugar (135 grams)
- 3 tablespoons grated coconut, optional
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup oil* (175 milliliters)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 375°F or 190°C.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and coconut (optional).
- Then, add oil and vanilla. Mix well.
- Make balls from the dough and place them on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Use a fork to lightly flatten the dough.
- Bake for 7-10 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly colored on the bottom and white on top.
- Allow to cool down for 3 minutes before you transfer it to a cooling rack.