Because I kind of like corn…

August 7, 2009

Corn has a pretty bad reputation if you think about it. All those bright green stalks that symbolize summers of my childhood; those crisp, sweet kernels from a just-picked ear. Their beauty has been tarnished because of all the not-so-great things that corn is turned into. You know the syrups and starches, the vast overabundance of it in the food supply, not to mention it being on the don’t-eat list for those once popular low-carb diets. Oh, poor corn.

The truth is when it comes to fresh corn and more natural things made of corn, I like the stuff. Corn is very popular where we are in the Brazil. When we have visited the coast, you can find people selling it on the beach, there are restaurants in town completely devoted to items made of corn, it is a common pizza topping and then there’s fubá.

It took me a while to figure out the exact origin or makeup of fubá . By the way it is pronounced fu-BAH, with a big emphasis on the BAH. Most sources equate it to cornmeal in the U.S.; however it is a very fine cornmeal. It is used as a flour here and can be found in the form of cakes (bolo de fubá), cookies (biscoitos de fubá) and, according to a recipe on the package, even soufflé.

I wanted to try making some things with fubá so over the past couple weeks I gave the cake and the cookies a try. I also should mention that I didn’t do any playing around with different (i.e., less processed) ingredients because I really want to try the original first.

The cake was once given to us as a gift and I’ve had it at parties, so I was able to compare what I ended up with. I baked it in a loaf pan instead of a Bundt or sheet cake pan and I really liked it like this. I could enjoy it as more of a bread. It is similar to a sweet cornbread, although not as course and the butter makes it incredibly rich. It is one of those cakes that can very tempting for breakfast with some coffee.

Bolo de Fubá

200 grams butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup fubá
½ cup all purpose white flour
½ cup milk
1 tsp baking powder
2-3 Tbsp finely ground, unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a standard Bundt pan, large loaf pan or square cake pan. Cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs and mix well. Add the fubá, flour, milk and baking powder, mix well. Stir in coconut.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown and baked through. Let cool and de-pan.
Cookies made with fubá have quickly become one of my favorites here. The first time I had one we took a chance at a bakery and ordered it by looks alone before I knew of the flour and I was intrigued. It is a slightly sweet cookie, and rather dry, but this is actually a good quality that makes it unique. This cookie stands out because it contains erva doce which is anise, so it has that very slight liquorice flavor. I’m not a huge fan of anise, but I find I enjoy it when it is subtle as with these cookies or pitzels.

When searching for recipes on the web, I found a ton, all with something a little different. So I decided to take the easy route and go with the simplest one. They are not exactly like the ones we’ve had at the bakery regarding texture, as shown in the picture above, but the flavor was just as tasty.

Biscoitos de Fubá
Adapted from Tudo Gostoso

1 ½ cups Fubá
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
2 egg yolks
½ Tbsp anise seeds
½ cup butter, melted
¼ cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Stir the fubá, flour, sugar and anise seeds in a mixing bowl. Add the egg yolks and butter and mix well until the dough is dry and crumbly. Add enough milk to make the dough stick together so that you can form a ball. This was about ¼ cup for me.

Roll the dough into balls about the size of a golf ball. Place them on an ungreased cookie sheet, 12 per standard sheet pan. The original recipe includes the step of rolling them in cornmeal first, but I didn’t do this. Flatten the cookies by hand or with a glass. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the sides and bottoms are lightly browned. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on a wire rack. Makes about 18 cookies.

So I’m wondering – have any of you who frequent ethnic/cultural markets come across something similar to Fubá? I’m interested if I can find a similar product when I’m back in the U.S.

Also, for a great variation of Bolo de Fubá check out 5 Star Foodie (winner of the Mango Challenge and box of Brazil goodies ).

You Might Also Like

  • Tangled Noodle August 7, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Seriously, if you find it when you return to the States, you’ll have to tell us! I wonder if Masarepa, which is used to make arepas (Colombian/Venezuelan corn cakes) can be used? These cake and cookies look phenomenal – I most definitely want to make them. These recipes will be bookmarked until I find fuba somewhere!

  • Amy August 7, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    I’ve never seen it but that looks SO good!

  • Emily (A Nutritionist Eats) August 7, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Coconut and corn? Are you going to open a bakery when you come back Lori?!?!? 🙂

  • Erica August 7, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    I agree- poor corn! I love corn, especially on top of salads! Those Biscoitos look amazing. No idea about its availability state side. Hope you guys have a nice weekend

  • burpandslurp August 7, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    no way did you say corn has a bad reputation! It’s always been a metaphor for tasty stuff for me! Those baked goods look freaking awesome. My dad used to tell me that back when Korea was still really poor, the Americans donated a lot of cornbread to them. He still has fond memories eating cornbread.

  • Chow and Chatter August 7, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    looks lovely and soft
    oh check out the site you may like it lol

  • lesley August 7, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    I am a corn lover myself! I have so many good memories of going and picking corn early in the morning then going home and eating fresh ears of corn all day while my mom froze it : ) (and there’s still no better frozen corn than frozen corn like that ; )

  • 5 Star Foodie August 8, 2009 at 4:59 am

    I still have some fuba left, so I will definitely be making those cookies, yum! I haven’t looked for fuba since I still have it, but I will be on a lookout here and hope to find it. Thanks for the link!

  • kat August 8, 2009 at 7:59 am

    I wonder if processing corn meal in a food processor would work instead of Fuba

  • sangeeta August 8, 2009 at 11:32 am

    i’ll be making these in winters for sure…as this cornmeal ( called makki ka atta here) is available only in winters here….good one lori.

  • OysterCulture August 8, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    These goodies look so delicious. I’m on the look out for fuba now. I love the addition of anise, I bet these little guys are perfect with a cup of tea.

  • Reeni♥ August 8, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    I love all of these goodies – but the biscuits are especially calling out to me! I’m a big fan of anise.

  • Alison August 9, 2009 at 5:36 am

    Yummm…that sounds great! I’ve love to track that down. We have lots of Mexican markets around town but I don’t know if we have any Brazilian ones. I’ll ahve to look.

  • Lori August 9, 2009 at 6:41 am

    TN – I will. That is a good idea about the Masarepa. I know of arepas, but have never had them or seen them made. I would think any form of finally ground (even doing it yourself) cornmeal would work.

    Amy – Thanks! Glad you like them.

    Emily – Ha! I’ve always wanted to do something like that. A bakery with different sweets from around the world. That would be fun if it wouldn’t put me into debt. Ha, ha!

    Erica – Yes, I love it fresh and all the great things that other cultures make out of the meals and flours.

    burpandslurp – Glad to hear you are a corn fan! 🙂 Glad you liked the recipes. That is so interesting about your dad.

    Chow and Chatter – Thanks for sharing the site. I follow them on twitter and check it out every now and then.

    lesley – Nothing beats the corn out of my Dad’s garden. I’m sure yours was the same. It is so crisp unlike anything I’ve purchased at a market or in a restaurant.

    5 Star Foodie – Hope you like the cookies. I loved what you did with the cake!

    kat – You know, I thought the same thing. It is worth a try.

    sangeeta – I hope you enjoy them!

    OysterCulture – Oh yes, they are perfect for a tea break. Let us know if you find fuba.

    Reeni – They are really unique to other cookies I’ve had. A nice change and great flavor.

    Alison – Perhaps there is something from Mexico that is similar. I’m not familiar enough with cultures that use a lot of corn products to know. Hopefully someone will find it!

  • Michelle @ Find Your Balance August 9, 2009 at 8:08 am

    Mmmm those look great! I have to admit that all the bad press on corn lately has gotten to me. But good quality organic corn used for something like this is eons away from GMO corn in soda or oily french fries!

  • Sweta August 9, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    This sounds great!!
    I’m sure you’re going to miss a lot of Brazilian stuff when you get back to the US 🙂

  • NoMeatAthlete August 9, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    I’m not a huge corn fan (not because of any of the processing issues, I just don’t love the taste), but corn fritters, corn cakes, and cornbread are always delicious. This looks wonderful, as always.

    By the way, I made the Vitamina smoothie I saw here a while back; it was very oddly tasty! My wife especially liked it. Thanks.

  • Sagan August 10, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Never even heard of fuba! But that looks SO good, and I love cornbread, and I completely agree with you about how good corn is when it’s in it’s natural REAL state.

  • Anna August 10, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    I love fuba cake, but I never had fuba cookies, will definitely try. Must be yummy.

  • Debinhawaii August 11, 2009 at 2:03 am

    Both the cake and the cookies look delicious. I love corn. 😉

  • Sophie August 11, 2009 at 6:00 am

    MMMMMMM,…these patties look so yummie!

    A must try!

  • Lori August 12, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Michelle – Yeah, I’ve felt the same way at times.

    Sweta – Oh yes, there will be plenty I miss.

    NoMeatAthlete – So glad you liked the avocado and banana mix. I agree, oddly tasty. It’s kind of unexpected.

    Anna – The cookies are my favorite. You’ll have to try them.

    Deb – Thanks! Me too.

    Sophie – Thanks!