Thursday, May 23, 2013

Recipe: Brigadeiros

Brigadeiros have been among my favorite desserts ever since an exchange student from Brazil made them for her farewell party in high school. It's been about... 10 years now. And how often have I eaten them since? Only once or twice, when I was actually in Brazil.

The reason for this is that brigadeiros aren't well-known outside the country. What a shame that the rest of the world is missing out on soft, chocolate-sprinkle-covered fudge balls made from evaporated milk and cocoa!

I haven't been able to find restaurants or shops that sell them, and until recently I was not confident enough in my cooking and baking skills to attempt to make them myself. The recipe is quite simple though, with very few ingredients and steps. So, today I made brigadeiros for the first time. -  And they turned out perfect! I am so excited, because it means that I no longer depend on anyone else to satisfy my cravings. Maybe one or two of you are curious enough to give the following recipe a try as well?

All you need is:

- 1 can condensed milk (14 oz)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- chocolate sprinkles
- a big pan
- a wooden spoon
- two bowls
- baking cups

First, melt the butter in the pan over medium heat. Stirring, add the entire can of condensed milk and the cocoa powder. One website offered great advice saying that it's better to first mix the cocoa powder with water, as the powder does not dissolve well in the evaporated milk/butter mixture. 

Do not leave the stove and do not stop stirring, otherwise the mixture will burn. Keep the heat on medium-low as it thickens. This process took 8-10 minutes for me, but it might take a lot longer depending on the type of pan you are using. 

The most critical decision you need to make is when to take the mixture off the stove. If you take it off too early, you will end up with a thick chocolate sauce that cannot be molded. If you take it off too late, the brigadeiros will be hard or chewy. The mixture is done when a) you divide it with your spoon and it remains divided for a moment, i.e. your spoon leaves a trail in the pan, or when b) you scoop up some of the mixture, turn the spoon upside down, and it sticks to the spoon for a moment before falling back into the pan.

Now transfer the mixture into a bowl, let it cool down to room temperature, and put it in the fridge for about one hour.

Once the mixture has cooled, scoop out small portions with a tablespoon and mold them with your hands. This is easier if you apply some butter to your hands before. Once you have shaped a small ball, roll it in the chocolate sprinkles (in a second bowl) and make sure it is covered all over. You might have to continue shaping it a little, especially as the mixture gets warmer. Finally, place it in one of the baking cups.

The recipe makes about 20 small or 10 big brigadeiros. They keep up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

This website provides you with more background information (for example on where the name came from), and has a great video showing you the entire process of making the brigadeiros with detailed explanations. Enjoy!

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