This week we were so lucky to receive some samples of a new product hitting the shelves at Costco throughout the Pacific Northwest! Brazi Bites, or Pao de Queijo, are gluten-free Brazilian cheese bread bites, made by a couple down in Portland. They come in four flavours, including original cheese, jalapeno pepper jack, bacon, and garlic asiago.
Seeing as I had a potluck to attend on Saturday night, I couldn’t think of a more perfect item to bring than these little cheesy bread bites. I figured pairing them with a cheddar bechamel to dip would be the best way to go, although these bites are so versatile you really can do just about anything with them.
I decided to go with the bacon and pepper jack flavours for the potluck, since I thought they would pair best with my cheese sauce for dipping. Brazi Bites are so easy to make, you just pop them on a tray lined with parchment while still frozen, and bake 20 minutes for golden brown bread bites.
The pepper jack Brazi Bites had a good savoury kick to them, without being particularly spicy. The bacon ones were also very good, with a hit of smoke and salt without having that fake bacon flavour. Although great on their own with a bit of the cheese sauce, I definitely would love to try some of their other recommended recipes on their website, especially their suggestion to slice the bites in half and use them as mini slider buns. For parties where gluten avoidance is questionable, these cheese bread bites are the perfect thing to bring that everyone can enjoy.
Since receiving our samples, we were also told that the founders of Brazi Bites will be on the TV show Shark Tank this Friday, November 20th! If you’re in the Pacific Northwest area and see these at your local Costco, definitely give them a try! I’ll update the next time I make something with the other flavours we were sent, and post the other recipes I tried out. For the Cheddar Bechamel sauce recipe, see below.
1 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tbsp flour
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups cream or whole milk
1 tbsp grainy moustard
1 cup packed grated cheddar, or any other hard cheese with a good salty flavour
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Sprinkle flour over the butter, and whisk continually until smooth. Keep over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the butter and flour mixture reaches a deeper golden brown colour. Add salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in the milk or cream, whisking constantly to keep the mixture smooth, until all liquid is mixed in. Whisk in grainy moustard until combined. Cook mixture, whisking occasionally, until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add in the grated cheese, and whisk until all the cheese has melted, forming a smooth sauce. Taste again, and adjust salt and pepper levels one last time. Pour in a serving dish while still warm and dip your Brazi Bites!