Thursday, March 20, 2014

Brigadeiro - easy to make, delicious and authentic Brazilian



Growing up, I'd never been a big fan of chocolate, maybe because it was an expensive delicacy for a family as big as ours (four kids!), or maybe just because we used to have so many delicious fruit compotes and other home-made desserts to choose from that chocolate could be almost forgotten, at least when we were in the comfort of our home. But over time, and especially after I moved to the U.S., I started to appreciate chocolate more and more, both as an ingredient and per se - the more cocoa content, the more I like it!

Brigadeiros are "the" chocolate confection of Brazil, and lately they were so in fashion that one could find "brigaderias" everywhere in Brazil, selling all kinds of variations of this national favorite. But the authentic brigadeiro has only one simple and authentic recipe, which is inexpensive, ridiculously easy to make and, the best of all, you can find the ingredients for it almost anywhere in the globe. There's one thing, though, you probably won't be able to find, at least in the U. S.: the cute, tiny little paper cups they are traditionally served on.

Brigadeiros became popular in the 1940, and are named after a president candidate at that time, Brigadeiro (Brigadier) Eduardo Gomes. In some parts of Brazil, it is also know as "negrinho" (literally, little black boy). It is a mandatory item in birthday parties, especially kids' parties. Mind you brigadeiros are rich and extremely sweet, that's why they are usually made the size of a truffle - roughly 1 in. in diameter. 

Authentic Brigadeiro


Ingredients:
1 can sweetened condensed milk (I always buy La Lechera or Carnation)
3 Tbsp good quality cocoa powder
1 Tbsp butter
1 cup chocolate sprinkles (jimmies), approximately
butter to grease the plate and hands

Method:
1. Grease a dinner plate with butter.
2. Combine sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder and butter in a saucepan.
3. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for approximately 10 minutes, or until the spoon leaves a track on the bottom of the pan (see picture).
4. Pour onto buttered plate. Let cool completely.
5. Place the chocolate sprinkles in a bowl. Arrange the paper cups (if using) on a tray or plate.
6. Grease your clean hands lightly with butter and roll the dough into 1 in balls (about 1 tsp).
7. Roll each ball immediately in the chocolate sprinkles (if you wait, sprinkles won't stick to it) and place on prepared paper cups. 


Chef's Tips:
- To make brigadeiros even more delicious, I add 1/8 tsp instant coffee and a pinch of salt to 1/4 tsp vanilla, stir well and add to the pan, together with all the other ingredients.
- If the dough is too soft to roll, place it in the fridge for a few minutes to make your job easier. You may also want to wash your hands every now and them to keep them clean. Don't forget to butter them before rolling the brigadeiros.
- You can improvise with the paper cups, or used the smallest one you can find lined with a square or round of cellophane wrap. They look wonderful when displayed on a tray or table.
- Brigadeiros don’t need refrigeration and can be kept for up to one week in a sealed container. Or maybe more -- mine never survived that much!

Coma com moderação!    ;o)