Submitted by Janeth Palacio Barrera
When she makes these palitos de queso or Colombian cheese sticks, Janeth Palacio Barrera gets a little homesick. She lives in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, but for her, home will always be Medellín, Colombia, where she was born and grew up.
”When I was little, we helped my mother mix the dough, grate the cheese and roll them into braided cheese sticks,” says Janeth. “And of course, we helped eat the palitos, which were always calientes y llenos de amor”—piping hot and filled with love. “Mi mamá always served them as dessert for our family. They are easy and fun to bake.”
Now Janeth is the one teaching her kids how to make this traditional treat. ”I make them with my children in our Chicago home. My version is a bit healthier than the ones you will typically see if you go to Colombia. I bake, instead of fry my palitos. I hope you enjoy them!”
For more Colombian traditional dishes, try Janeth’s family-famous recipes, including patacones con hogao (plantain fritters with the country’s traditional, deeply loved tomato-garlic sauce), her mother’s flan de queso and whole fried mojarra fish, which Janeth remembers her mom making when they went to the beach on childhood vacations. Janeth loves passing on these recipes to her kids. Check out how Janeth and her daughter Luna, 7, make Colombian arepas with queso—just like the Madrigal family made in Encanto!—and these delicioso buñuelos.