Brigadeiro is a traditional Brazilian dessert. Its inception came at the end of World War II when Brazil experienced a shortage of basic products, so it is made from a few simple ingredients – condensed milk, cocoa powder and butter.
Legend has it that it is named after a Brazilian officer – in the rank of Brigadier, who ran for the Brazilian presidency in the late 1940s to help promote his election campaign.
Perfect Brigadeiro – tips for success
Shaping: the balls tend to shrink a bit and turn into small domes in the refrigerator. It doesn’t change the taste at all, but those who want can keep the mixture and the nuts separately in the refrigerator and roll into perfect balls just before serving.
Fixes: if you cook the mixture too much and it hardens into a solid candy, there is nothing to do but start over. If you cook too little and after cooling the mixture is soft – return to the pot and cook for a few more minutes.
Cleaning: As with making any candy, clean the bowls and pots with boiling water.
Ingredients for Brigadeiro
- 1 container (397 grams) condensed milk
- 3 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) butter
- 1/2 cup packed (80 grams) candied citrus peel very finely chopped
- 3/4 cups (75 grams) sliced (slivered) blanched almonds
1. Line a wide bowl with parchment paper.
2. Cook condensed milk, cocoa and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for about 7 minutes until the mixture thickens and begins to separate from the sides (but not completely separate). An easy way to know that you have reached this point is to drip some of the mixture into a glass of cold water. It should become a soft lump that can be shaped by hand.
3. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and cool slightly. Mix in citrus peels, cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator for at least an hour (or to the freezer for 30 minutes) until the mixture is firm and easy to shape.
4. Meanwhile, toast almonds in a dry pan until golden. Roughly chop and transfer to a deep plate.
5. Form balls the size of walnuts from the mixture (it's easiest to roll on a surface) and roll in almonds. If you want, you can roll the balls again on a surface, so that the almonds sink into the ball in a mosaic pattern.
6. You can eat immediately, but it is advisable to chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour for the perfect texture. The balls are kept in an airtight container lined with baking paper in the refrigerator for up to a week and in the freezer for up to a month. *You can also skip the rolling and eat them directly from the bowl as is sometimes done in Brazil
- Replace the citrus peels with 1/2 cup of finely chopped cookies, dried fruit, coconut or nuts.
- Roll the balls in colored candies, cocoa powder or grated and toasted coconut.
The volume of a standard can of condensed milk weighing 397 grams is exactly one cup. A tube is 1/2 cup. This information is essential when you keep condensed milk regularly in the refrigerator and want to use it occasionally.