Brazilian Brigadeiros

CATEGORIES: Brazilian, Candy

Brigadeiros.  Probably one of the most iconic Brazilian foods and part of a whole food classification they enjoy there called “Docinhos” or “Little Sweets”.  Bite-sized confections that make appearances at almost every party!  Of all the “little sweets” Brigadeiros are the most beloved.  They involve only 3 main ingredients and are basically little balls of chewy soft chocolate fudge, kind of like a really soft taffy.  This Brazilian Brigadeiro recipe couldn’t be easier, and it’s especially appropriate because Brazilian Independence day is this week.  But you don’t have to have any interest in Brazil, or their holidays or traditions, to enjoy this easy-to-make chocolate confection!

Brigadeiros start with one of Brazil’s most used kitchen ingredients: Sweetened condensed milk.  Just pour one whole can into a small-ish pot or sauce pan.  

Then add a couple tablespoons butter and some unsweetened cocoa powder.  In Brazil, almost everyone uses Nesquik powder- like the instant chocolate milk powder.  But I prefer using unsweetened cocoa powder. You certainly don’t need the added sweetness of the drink mix and cocoa powder adds a much cleaner flavor profile.  I do suggest always running the cocoa powder through a fine mesh strainer as you sprinkle it in your pan to avoid clumps. 

That’s it!  Just 3 ingredients.  You’ll heat them and whisk together until you have a smooth chocolate sauce and then simmer to thicken it into what will feel like kind of a soft fudge consistency.   You’ll know it’s done when you run a spatula over the bottom of the pan and the line clearly stays put like this photo below:  

After it’s done cooking, I always scrape the mixture out onto a silicone baking mat to cool off to room temperature.  You can also just place it on a buttered plate.  Once it’s cooled enough to touch, you’ll just roll little balls and dunk them in sprinkles.  

I can’t tell you how many times I sat around a table chit-chatting with Brazilian ladies as we rolled brigadeiros. It helps to have a stick of butter out so you can rub a little on your fingers to avoid them getting sticky.   The traditional size is about a 1/2 tablespoon, I would guess.  Small enough that you could pop the whole thing in your mouth.  A mini cookie scoop works well to get uniform shapes. 

Traditionally these are rolled in chocolate sprinkles/jimmies, or sometimes rainbow ones,  but you can be creative and use any color you like.   Little mini muffin pan liners work great for holding them, or you can buy small candy cups at party supply stores. 

Que gostoso!  I hope you make and enjoy these easy chocolate fudge balls!  

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Brazilian Brigadeiros (Brazilian Fudge Balls)

  • Author: Sara Wells

Description

Easy little soft chocolate balls perfect for a treat or snack. 


Ingredients

1 14oz can Sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
chocolate sprinkles/jimmies
Small paper cups for serving


Instructions

Empty can of sweetened condensed milk into sauce pan.  Add butter and sift cocoa powder in.  Turn heat to medium-low and whisk to combine all ingredients. 

Bring mixture to a low simmer and cook until a rubber spatula leaves a clear streak on bottom of pan when scraped with the spatula (usually about 5 minutes, but varies depending on your pan, could be 5-10 mins)

Place mixture on a silicone baking mat or a plate to cool to room temperature, or just barely warm so you can roll it in your hands. 

Rub a little butter on your hands and then roll into small balls (1/2-1 tablespoon is normal size, a mini cookie scoop works great) and then roll in sprinkles. Place in mini muffin liners/candy cups for serving.

30 comments

  1. Tried to post this before, but it doesn’t seem to be showing up. Has anyone every tried making these with peanut butter powder? I don’t like chocolate (I know…), but I this PB sounds great! But I don’t want to buy PB powder just for this if it doesn’t work…

    1. You can definitely make vanilla ones by simply leaving out the cocoa powder. In Brazil they often roll the vanilla ones in coconut! I think PB is a great idea though and I bet it would be delish!

  2. Hypothetically, could one use powdered sugar instead of cocoa powder? I would like to make these for a party, but one of my friends is allergic to chocolate. (Isn’t that the saddest thing you ever heard?)

    1. There is a lovely coconut version of Brigadeiro that you could do! You don’t need to add powdered sugar, simply leave out the cocoa in this recipe and make as usual and then roll in coconut after. Or you could add a bit of extract to flavor your brigadeiro and roll in sprinkles of your choice 🙂

    1. Well they are the national treat of Brazil, so they do pretty well haha. I suppose in excessive heat they’d get pretty soft and maybe lose shape, but they’d also be extra delicious.

    2. If I am serving them at something outside I just store them in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight to help them hold up longer.

  3. Thanks for all your Brazilian recipes. My daughter is serving a mission there and I love to bring a taste of what she’s eating into our home.

  4. Okay, these are getting added to my Christmas Sweet List right now. They sound easier than fudge and just as tasty.

  5. Thanks for posting this! All four of my kids are in a Portuguese immersion program and through it, have come to love Brazil. Today at school they celebrated Brazil’s Independence Day, and they thought I was SO amazing for having these for them tonight. They didn’t know American moms could make them! 🙂

  6. I too adapted the recipe to use with cocoa powder when I started making them about 10 years ago. My Brazilian friend that I was teaching me to make them said she liked them. My husband served his mission in Brazil too. 🙂 Thanks for posting this now I have a good link to send to friends when they request the recipe.

  7. Is it like tootsie rolls? The picture kinda reminded me of them. …or tastes more like fudge? (Which I much prefer!) Would love to see the texture of one from the inside, like cut in half.
    Thank you!

  8. Can these be made ahead and frozen, or will they keep for a week since they are candy? I saw the missionary theme going, need to make these for next week…first Grandson heading to Brazil, Juiz de Fora 🙂

    1. hmm, good question! I’ve never tried freezing them so I can’t say for sure! But you could definitely make them several days in advance. Exciting for your grandson!

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