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Pao'r Rangers

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Brazilians are sexy bunch, there's no arguing that fact. Could it be their diet of mostly lean meat and bread made with low-carb tapioca flour? Brazilian cheese bread is a delicious and healthy snack, breakfast or side dish, and there's at least one company bringing it to the masses in Sonoma County.

The Cosmic Cookie Jar specializes in gluten-free baked goods, one of which happens to be pao de queijo (pronounced "pow dah kay-zhoo"). Literally translated as "bread of cheese" from Portuguese, it's made from oil, water, milk (or soy milk), salt, tapioca flour, garlic, Parmesan cheese and eggs. The dough turns out like cottage cheese but bakes up into light, spongy, rich bread balls that explode with flavor without feeling too heavy.

The bakery has other flavors, like pesto, hot pepper, gorgonzola, curry and sundried tomato. "I'm not sure that anyone mixes in the flavors the way that we do," says Olga Jones, who makes up half of the Cosmic Cookie Jar team with husband, Craig.

In Brazil, they're sometimes stuffed with Catupiry (a brand of cream cheese), guava paste or dulce de leche, all but negating their healthy aspects. If America is going to catch on to these tasty balls, cream cheese and dulce de leche can only help.

Cosmic Cookie Jar can be found at farmers markets around Sonoma County and online at www.thecosmiccookiejar.com

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