Brigadeiros (Portuguese for 'Brigadier') are delicious bite-sized bonbons made of basically 2 simple ingredients - condensed milk and cocoa powder. It's possibly one of Brazil's favourite treats!
It is a must-have in every party such as birthdays, weddings, corporate events and any other celebrations... really, even when we have friends over for a casual dinner we order a couple of brigadeiros to serve with dessert... just coz we can :)
Brazilians also use it to frost cakes, fill pies and spread over pizza dough. Yes, there is even brigadeiro pizza that comes covered in chocolate covered bonbons. Talking about indulgence, eh!
Nowadays our chefs have been developing this dessert and adding different ingredients - nutella, coconut, nuts and so on. In larger cities, there's a huge buzz around 'gourmet brigadeiros' and we are happy to try each and every one of the new variations.
Today Cris and I had lunch together (Carpe Digi crew, yay!!!) and for dessert we treated ourselves to a couple of stunning brigadeiros from Fabiana D'Angelo, our Brigadeiros' Goddess from Rio.
If you feel like trying it yourself, here goes the recipe...
- 3 tbsp of unsweetned cocoa powder
- 1 can of condensed milk
- 1 tbsp of butter (real deal!)
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine cocoa, butter and condensed milk. Cook, stirring, until thickened, about 10 minutes. The mixture needs to be thick enough not to stick on the bottom of the pan! Remove from heat and let rest until cool enough to handle. Form into small balls and eat at once or chill until serving.
Ok, but why “Brigadeiro“?
This wonderful chocolate treat was named after the Brazilian Brigadier, Eduardo Gomes, who in 1945 started his Presidential Campaign. With his good looks and his sweet (no pun intended!) speech, he attracted a group of female fans who created those chocolate “balls” and sold them to raise funds for his campaign. At that time, the Campaign parties were very expected by the public and soon people were calling friends to go eat the sweet: “Let’s eat the Brigadier’s candy!” The bite-sized chocolate ball was then, named “Brigadeiro“. The traditional recipe calls for condensed milk, chocolate powder and butter.
Eduardo Gomes did not win the elections despite all the efforts, but his chocolate treat has become more and more popular over the decades.
There are a few versions of the origin of the Brigadeiro, but this is the most popular and my favourite!