Brazilian Brigadeiros

Brazilian Brigadeiro

“’I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it’s very difficult to find anyone.’
‘I should think so — in these parts! We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!’”
― The Hobbit


I am a bit like a hobbit. I don’t really want adventures and tea time sounds much more lovely than getting thrown into the middle of “nasty disturbing uncomfortable things.” I like to garden and eat good food. Really, a well planned party is about as much excitement that I could ever want.

But if you are well acquainted with hobbits, you know that even when they protest and avoid scary adventures, they somehow end up finding themselves in the middle of one anyway. And so, much like Gandalf saw the “Tookish” side of Bilbo as he sat in his garden enjoying the bliss of an uneventful morning, God asks me to share in adventures that I would never consider taking on my own.

Brazilian Brigadeiros

When I was 15 my family moved to Brazil. For 6 months I hated everything. It’s so very difficult to describe culture shock. It’s a feeling that doesn’t make sense in that way because you can’t find the words to describe the specific thing that makes you feel so out of place. I hated how I couldn’t understand what anyone was saying, how people hugged and kissed you even if you had never met them, I hated that it was so hot and sticky all the time. I missed Target, libraries, my school and the grand selection of drive thru options. I missed being in control, and I missed being comfortable. But little did I know that Brazil was the adventure of my teenage years. After the initial shock wore off I truly learned to love it. Brazil has a little piece of my timid heart.

Brazilian Brigadeiro

I even miss it a little. So every once in a while when the little brasileira inside of me starts yearning, I make the food that brings me back to the adventure days. Rich, salty beef perfectly seared on an open grill, silky beans and perfectly cooked rice, each grain separate from the other. The sharp vinegar, onions, and tomatoes of Brazilian vinegrette next to a fluffy crunchy pile of farofa and fried mantioc.

It is food perfection, my friends. Goodness, those people know how to eat. Brazilians don’t have a huge array of desserts. They are more fans of the savory and salty dishes, but the few desserts that they do enjoy are incredible. After a big party when the bbq has settled down a bit and you feel like maybe you have enough room in your tummy fora bite of something sugary, you can count on a fudgy brigadeiro.

Every single birthday party, get together, or celebration in Brazil has brigadeiros. They are more iconic than cake, even. They are decadent beyond belief and you only need one to be satisfied. Think of them like a Brazilian truffle. Only they are softer, sweeter, and much much easier to make. Hallelujah!

Brazilian Brigadeiros
Look at that impeccable fudgy center! So. Good.

It’s the simplest recipe in the world and takes less time than cookies. It only takes four ingredients and that’s including the chocolate sprinkles you roll them in. Whenever I am standing over the stove stirring the sweet chocolate for brigadeiros, I always wonder why I don’t make them more often since they are easier than easy and delicious. You probably have all the ingredients in your pantry right this moment.

Basically it’s sweetened condensed milk, a little butter and cocoa powder cooked down until it’s thick. Then you let the mixture cool in the fridge, roll them into bite sized balls and baptize them in sprinkles. In other words, you can do this! Traditionally you make this with regular sweetened condensed milk and Nesquick powder instead of cocoa. But I’ve found that while Brazilians really like the super-intense-hurt-your-teeth sweetness, people here in the United States aren’t so enthusiastic about it. So I’ve modified it a bit to make it more North American. 😉 Using chocolate sweetened condensed milk and regular unsweetened cocoa powder make these little beauties a little less of a sugar bomb and more suited to our obsession to anything ‘double chocolate.’

Brazilian Brigadeiro

That’s a dessert I can get behind. I’m pretty sure even Bilbo would approve of this chocolatey adventure. He does know the value of a tasty bite after all.

Brazilian Brigadeiros
Serves: 16
  • 1 14 oz. can of chocolate or regular sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, plus extra for rolling
  • 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Chocolate or Rainbow sprinkles
  1. In a medium sized sauce pan over medium high heat, place the sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder, and tablespoon of butter.
  2. Whisk the cocoa powder with the sweetened condensed until smooth and continue to stir as you bring the mixture to a boil. Cook the mixture for about seven minutes until it is thick and shiny. (Make sure to stir the mixture the entire time to avoid scorching)
  3. Transfer the mixture to a plate or bowl and place in the fridge.
  4. Chill for about 2 hours or until the mixture is firm and cold. Now it's time to shape them!.
  5. Prep your workplace before you start, otherwise you'll get butter or chocolate all over everything. Generously butter your hands.
  6. Then, using a spoon or your fingers, pinch off about a tablespoon of the fudge and start rolling it into 1 inch balls. Roll in chocolate (or rainbow!) sprinkles.
  7. Serve in mini paper baking cups. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.


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