Dealing with the aftershocks of the 2016 Summer Olympics, I have a hankering for something Brazilian. Since the athletes were out of reach, I decided to go for something sweet. For this edition, I will be making one of Brazil’s national icons, Brigadeiros. With four simple ingredients, it’s almost too easy. While also enjoyed in Portugal, Brigadeiros were first made in 1940s. The origin of these delicacies go back to World War II; with fruits, fresh milk, and sweets limited, Brazilians had to get creative. It turns out, condensed milk [brought to Brazil in the 1920s] and chocolate equal a heavenly combination. Brigadeiro got their name from Brigadeiro Eduardo Gomes, a revolutionary, failed politician, and a member of the Brazilian Air Force. A rather good looking man, Gomes used his looks to gain supporters for his 1945 presidential election [they were not enough].
The truffles bring back sweet memories for most Brazilians; typically consumed at birthday parties, weddings, and family dinners, it is also a common treat with one’s afternoon coffee. Brigadeiros are traditionally rolled in sprinkles, but the toppings vary anywhere from nuts to shredded coconut.
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons cocoa powder*
4 tablespoons unsalted butter*
Put two tablespoons of butter in pan.
Melt butter at medium-low heat on stovetop.
Once butter is melted, add can of sweetened condensed milk.
Now it’s time to add cocoa powder. (Cocoa powder does not dissolve well into condensed milk. Here’s a tip: put a bit of water into a glass. With a spoon, slowly stir in the cocoa powder until it dissolves and becomes a thick paste. Add the mixture into the condensed milk.)
Stir with wooden spoon; you will need to stir in a circular motion for at least 20 minutes although it can take up to 40 minutes. Make sure to scrape the sides from time to time to prevent the brigadeiro from burning.
As the brigadeiro continues to cook, it will become thicker and reduce in volume.
The brigadeiro is ready when a) you part the mixture in half and it remains separated for a few seconds OR b) you scoop up some of the mixture, turn it upside down, and it holds there for a moment before falling.
Now that it is ready, spread the mixture into a buttered pan and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour; it’s important the mixture firms because it’s easier to shape.
To make the balls, butter your hands and fingers. Using a spoon, scoop some of the brigadeiro, place it in your hands, and roll it into a ball.
Roll balls in chocolate sprinkles and place brigadeiros back in fridge for 15 to 20 minutes. Take out and enjoy!
*You can use up 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder for this recipe. You can use chocolate powder if you prefer: instead of 4 tablespoons, use 7 tablespoons. I must warn you, it will be intensely sweet.
*You can use salted butter although the flavor will be slightly altered.
*I didn’t have any so I used the cocoa powder instead. Don’t do this unless you like the taste of bitter dark chocolate.}