A Fork on the Road

Flavors of South Florida, both savory and sweet



Shortbread Squares

If you’d rather do your own holiday baking, try these simple, butter-rich cookies adapted from tablespoon.com.

1 cup salted butter, softened

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and vanilla with a spoon. Stir in flour. (If dough is crumbly, mix in a little more butter.) Roll out to a thickness of 1/2 inch on lightly floured surface. Cut into small squares. Place 1/2 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 14 to 16 minutes, until bottoms are light golden. cool on a wire rack. Makes about 4 dozen 1 1/2-inch cookies.

Per cookie: 64 calories (55 percent from fat), 4 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat, 1 g monounsaturated fat), 10 mg cholesterol, 1 g protein, 6.5 g carbohydrates, 0 fiber, 27 mg sodium.


Looking for an out-of-the-ordinary taste of South Florida to share with friends and family over the holidays? Here are a two delicious possibilities.


Venezuelans celebrate the season with savory pan de jamon (ham bread) and hallacas (meat-stuffed tamales). Family-owned Charlotte Bakery offers logs of the bread made with yeasted dough or house-made puff pastry enhanced with garlic. A filling of ham, bacon, pimiento olives and raisins is rolled up jelly-roll style. The golden brown loaves create a pinwheel pattern when sliced.

Harry Coleman and his wife, Michelle, turn out 300 loaves a day through Christmas; order ahead to ensure you get one. On Christmas Eve, they’ll offer roasted turkeys, pork shoulder and pot roast with rice and beans for a take-home feast.

Charlotte Bakery, 1499 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-535-0095; pan de jamon $25, hallacas $6, take-home feasts $80-$140.


Guatemalan-born Clara Santana bakes banana cakes from a 100-year-old recipe that was passed down from her Tia Martita. Made with all-natural ingredients including bananas from local farms, they’re so moist they don’t need frosting. The flavor is rich and full of banana with a hint of cinnamon.

The loaf-shaped cakes are baked to order in a leased commercial kitchen, so they are always fresh. Variations are available with blueberries, walnuts or chocolate chips. Delicious for breakfast or as dessert with a dollop of whipped cream, the cakes are available year round.

Martita’s Banana Cakes; large cakes $8, small cakes $4; order at 786-223-7264 or martitasbananacake.com.

Linda Bladholm is a Miami food writer and personal chef who blogs at FoodIndiaCook.com.

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