It is always the simple things in life that matter. Sometimes they become the most extraordinary things. Brigadeiro, a delicious Brazilian chocolate ball candy that is known all around the world is a classic example to the above context. An effortless sweet with no complex ingredients or techniques involved, has unanimously won the popularity contest.
What is the origin of brigadeiro?
The history of the brigadeiro recipe has some interesting spins to it including a tragicomedy situation. But let’s stick only to the more plausible and known scenarios.
One of the popular stories is that the sweet originated in 1945 with a political context to it. The then Brazilian Brigadier (Brigadeiro in Portuguese) Eduardo Gomes contested for the Presidential elections that year. Being single and handsome, he was very popular and admired among the female circles.
They came up with an excellent idea and advocated for him raising the slogan – “Vote for Brigadeiro, who is beautiful and single”. Then they also made these sweet little candies and sold them on the streets requesting votes from the people for the elections.
The other version says that his wife made these during his campaign fundraising parties and they instantly became a massive hit. Everyone started talking “did you have the brigadeiro’s candy?” and hence it came to be known as Brigadeiro. Thus the world famous Brazilian chocolates came into existence.
When and where are they made?
Now, this custom is further extended to weddings and other celebrations as well. One of the main reasons that it is so popular in Brazil is because it is a true party food. You can have fun right from the beginning of making it to wiping it clean off the pot. All you need are a few friends to gather around.
The popularity of this Brazilian candy is definitely not limited to the Portuguese-speaking country alone. A sweet that was usually made during children’s birthday party, has gained an exotic status in the dessert category. According to one’s choice, confectioners around the world are embellishing it in different ways.
How to make brigadeiro
Traditionally, these little candies are made using only three ingredients. Many ingredients including the basics like milk, sugar, eggs, and fresh fruits, generally the key ingredients in making confectioneries or candies, were rationed during the World War II period. So this dessert was improvised using concentrated milk (condensed or reduced), cocoa and butter.
Even though it is very simple to make, you have to know how long and how much to cook. The right consistency depends on it. In the native language, it is called ponto certo, meaning the right point to take it off the stove.
But don’t worry; mastering it is not a herculean task. If you are familiar with fudge and candy preparations, you can easily identify this in one or two attempts at the maximum. What is important is to cook on low to medium heat and to remove it from the heat when the whole mixture slides off the pan when you tilt it.
Keeping this is mind, you can make these little confectionaries without hassle. And if you really love the taste of these Brazilian delicacies, you can make a brigadeiro cake (bolo de brigadeiro), by using the same mixture for the filling and the icing.
- 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- Chocolate sprinkles (for garnish)
Grease a plate with butter. Set aside.
- In a pan, add the condensed milk, chocolate and butter.
- On a medium-low heat, for about 10 to 15 minutes, keep stirring until the mixture separates from the pan. If you scrape it with the spoon, the bottom of the pan will be seen clearly.
- Transfer to the greased plate and spread it. Let it cool completely.
- With butter-greased hands, shape these into small balls. Roll them in chocolate (or colored) sprinkles. Repeat this with the remaining mix.