How to Make Brigadeiros, the Popular Brazilian Fudge Balls
Making chocolate from scratch is a labor-intensive process that requires specialized ingredients such as cocoa nibs and cocoa butter, and specialized equipment such as a melanger, or stone grinder, which needs to grind the ingredients from 12 to 30 hours to make optimally smooth chocolate. This Brazilian recipe for brigadeiros, or fudge truffles, is a time-saving alternative you can make with ingredients available in a typical supermarket. They're especially popular for children's birthday parties in Brazil, but they're also perfect for everyday treats for anyone, anywhere, who loves chocolate. They're sweet and gooey, and they are the perfect size for your family to pop in their mouths. Kids love helping to roll the chocolate into balls and coat them in sprinkles. You might want to make a double batch—they disappear quickly! You can even skip the rolling step and enjoy "spoon brigadeiros," eating the chocolate mixture straight from the pan.
Total time: 45 minutes | Prep time: 15 minutes | Serves: 8
- 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, and a little more to grease your hands while rolling
- 1/2 cup chocolate sprinkles, dark or milk chocolate according to your preference
- In a thick-bottom saucepan, mix the sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder and butter. Cook on very low heat, stirring almost constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken and peel away from the edges of the pot. Don't let it boil. If it seems close to boiling, turn off the heat, let it cool down for a minute and then start cooking it again. This step will require your undivided attention, but it will be well worth the effort. For softer chocolate, stop cooking the chocolate as soon as it starts to thicken. For firmer brigadeiros, continue heating the chocolate mixture for a minute or two after it starts to thicken.
- Let the mixture stand for about 20 minutes, until it's cool enough to handle. To speed up this step, put the chocolate mixture in the refrigerator to help it cool.
- Grease your hands with butter and roll the chocolate mixture into balls the size of cherries. Roll each ball in chocolate sprinkles. You can make larger brigadeiros if you prefer, but cherry-size pieces give an especially appealing ratio of fudge to sprinkles.
Try rolling your brigadeiros in different toppings, such as shredded coconut, cocoa powder or chopped nuts.
Devra Gartenstein is a self-taught professional cook who has authored two cookbooks: "The Accidental Vegan", and "Local Bounty: Seasonal Vegan Recipes". She founded Patty Pan Cooperative, Seattle's oldest farmers market concession, and teaches regular cooking classes.