After a few trips to São Paolo, I have finally decided to explore the world of Brigadeiro. I went to a few shops to pick the right one with a Brazilian friend who is also a chef. It didn't leave a good impression as the Brigadieros we tried were old and almost off.
Despite the lackluster survey, I was determined to get my hands on this South American bonbon. It strikes some similarities with our own Yema as Brigadieros are made chiefly of condensed milk except that there are no yolks added.
The story goes the wife of a Brazilian Brigadier of influential political stature came up with this delicacy and always served it in official gatherings until everyone started asking "where is the Brigadier's sweets?".
You won't probably believe there are just three (3) ingredients to get you started with the Brigadeiros: Condensed milk, cocoa powder and butter.
Without further ado, here is the recipe:
Tips for success:
I find Nestlé condensed milk yielding a better quality Brigadeiro - less sweet, thickens well and more creamy. I also find using dutch cocoa powder producing a more intense chocolate flavor (if that is your preference). In most cases, Hershey's or Tcho's natural cocoa powder impart that milder and comforting flavor which reminds you of Grandma's chocolate concoctions.
In this recipe, I provided two options:
- use of 99% dark couverture chocolate
- use of 100% cocoa powder
Yield - about 40pieces
Beforehand, prepare any of the following:
- pistachio, chopped, lightly roasted
- almonds, flakes or chopped, lightly roasted
- desiccated coconut, lightly roasted
- chocolate sprinkles (the most traditional)
- hazelnuts, chopped, lightly roasted
- grease a shallow pan with butter setting it aside for later use.
2 x 14oz cans (395g each) Condensed Milk (Leite Moça in Brazil)
30 grams Cocoa Powder (or 99% dark couverture chocolate)
30 grams Butter, unsalted
- If using cocoa powder, dissolve first the cocoa powder in some amount of water to form a slurry.
- Put in a heavy bottom saucepan the condensed milk and slowly mix in the cocoa slurry. If using dark couverture chocolate combine this with the rest of the ingredients all at once.
- Add in the butter.
- Over medium heat, and using a strong wooden spoon, continuously stir the mixture until it becomes very thick you can run through the spoon at the bottom of the pan and the mixture does not flow back immediately. You may also lift a spoonful of the mixture and it won't fall off the spoon when turned upside down.
- This will take about 20-30 minutes.
- Patience is the fourth additional ingredient in this regard.
- Pour the mixture into the greased pan.
- Lay a sheet of cling film directly on top of the mixture.
- Allow to cool in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or until it is completely set.
- Using a tablespoon (measuring spoon), a large melon baller or a dinner spoon, take about 18 - 25 grams of the chocolate fudge. With hands previously greased with butter, form the piece into a ball. Roll it it with your desired coating.
- Place in small foil or paper cups.
- It can be kept in ambient temperatures (away from sunlight of course) for about a day or in an airtight container in the chiller for about a week.