I've been asked again to provide the sweet endings to a meal taking place next month celebrating multiculturalism. It's a fantastic opportunity in my eyes as the international options available are both astounding and mouthwatering. Last year for the event I prepared Alfajores (Peru), Linzer Cookies (Austria), and Baklava (Turkey) which were well received. Besides those three desserts, the sky is the limit for this years selections.
The menu has yet to be finalized but today seemed like a good day to do a little recipe testing for one of the treats I have in mind. Seeming as Valentine's Day is tomorrow, a little chocolate seemed appropriate. I present to you: The Brigadeiro.
Brigadeiros are sweet & rich chocolate bonbon originating in Brazil. Consisting of just a few simple ingredients, Brigadeiros are an integral element for just about every celebration, especially birthdays. By boiling sweetened condensed milk with dark cocoa to a fudge-like consistency, the confection is then cooled, shaped into bite-size balls and rolled in candy sprinkles or granulated chocolate.
How these bonbons came to be is attributed to the wife of a Brazilian brigadeir named Eduardo Gomes. In the 1940's, Mrs. Gomez would often serve the bonbons at dinner parties and political fundraisers for her husband. They proved to be incredibly popular and have been ingrained in Brazilian and Portuguese culture ever since.
The method and ingredients for making Brigadeiros couldn't be any simpler. Two tricky parts presented themselves in other recipes I sourced online. First, cocoa will not readily dissolve in the condensed milk so mixing it with the melted butter before adding it to the milk eliminates the issue. I've seen videos of the cocoa being dissolved in water, but that just lengthens the cooking process as we're trying the evaporate the water in the first place. Second, if you don't cook the confection long enough it won't its shape when rolled; if you cook it too long the bonbons will be too firm and hard to eat. Instead of relying solely on visual cues like thickness, using a digital thermometer takes the uncertainty out of the equation. That being said, if they end up to soft, you can always try to cook it down further or use as a cookie filling instead. If too hard, reheat and stir in a little heavy cream.
Brigadeiros - Recipe
Makes 18-20 bonbons
3 T unsalted butter
2 T cocoa powder
1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
1. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter, reserving remaining tablespoon for later. Into the melted butter stir 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder until dissolved. Combine condensed milk and chocolate mixture in a heavy-bottomed non-stick pot.
2. Over medium-low heat, gently bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom or corners. Cook mixture until it is thick, holds it shape on a spoon (doesn't drip right away), and a thermometer reads 232-235°F. Remove pot from heat.
3. Scrape mixture into a shallow bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cool, about 1/2 an hour.
4. Using a scoop or spoon, portion mixture into chunks a little bit smaller than a tablespoon.
5. Greasing you hands with a little bit of the remaining butter, roll the portioned chunks into smooth balls and drop into sprinkles or granulated chocolate. You may need to press the sprinkles in for the to stick.
6. Place Brigadeiros into individual paper cups and refrigerate. These bonbons will last several weeks if kept chilled and covered.
Eating. Drinking. Sharing.