Kika is one of our product managers, and you might know her as the Kika of Kika’s Treats, the San Francisco company whose chocolate-covered caramelized cookies used to sit on our shelves. Shortly after our Valencia Street café opened its doors in 2010 she did a pop-up in our pastry kitchen, and we’ve been dreaming of the baked goods and confections she made when she was behind the stoves ever since. Her Brazilian cheese bread? Legendary. Her fresh fig and chocolate ganache galette? We’d do anything for a crumb. But every time we’ve thought about her chocolatey, creamy brigadeiros (pronounced bree-guh-DAY-rows) over the years, we’ve gotten more than a little swoony. (Oh, and by the way, Todd once made his own brigadeiros with cocoa powder he made himself instead of nibs. Have a look at his recipe for Black and White Brigadeiros from the vaults.)
Let us explain.. Brigadeiros are an extremely popular truffle-like confection from Kika’s native Brazil that everyone makes at home for parties or special occasions. They’re as popular as chocolate-chip cookies. Usually they’re overwhelmingly dense and sweet from concentrated sweetened condensed milk and sweet chocolate, but we love Kika’s version because the sweetness is really tame, the texture melts in your mouth, and the flavor truly highlights the chocolate. What’s not to love, really? It’s our single-origin chocolate made fudgey and creamy as it’s ever been. Then Kika rolls each brig with nutty cocoa nibs for crunch (and to keep your fingers from getting too chocolatey!). This recipe quite literally puts our chocolate into your hands, so you can make the shape as elegant as you want it, or just free form it with kids in the kitchen.
Oh, and just a word about Chef’s Chocolate. If you’ve never baked with our Chef’s Chocolate before, it’s super easy to use. Chef’s Chocolate is not cocoa powder. It’s the same 70% cocoa-beans-and-sugar-only chocolate we use for making bars, but it’s ground until into lentil-sized pieces and it’s not tempered (meaning it’s not snappy and shiny). And rather than having to stop and chop it like baking chocolate, it’s designed to go anywhere chocolate chips can go, and melt really fast for any drink or pastry that calls for melted chocolate. This is what we use in our own pastry kitchens for our hot chocolate drinks and pastries. Give it a try, and let us know what you think!
Makes: About 50 one-inch candies
Time: About 80 minutes active time
- Unsalted butter, for greasing, plus 1 tablespoon, divided
- 1 14-oz.can sweetened condensed milk
- 4 oz./120 grams/3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon Camino Verde, Ecuador 70% Chef’s Chocolate
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup (or glucose)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- About 12 oz./350 grams/2 cups Kokoa Kamili, Tanzania cocoa nibs (for rolling)
Lightly butter a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
In a medium-sized heavy-bottomed pot, combine 1 tablespoon of the butter, the condensed milk, the chocolate, the corn syrup, and the salt. Place over low heat and stir it constantly with a rubber spatula to prevent burning and sticking, paying careful attention to scraping the bottom of the pot.
After 10-12 minutes, the mixture will start bubbling and thicken until it streaks across the bottom of the pot. Remove the pot from the heat and pour the mixture into the buttered bowl. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the mixture to prevent a skin from forming. Allow it to cool at room temperature for about 4 hours until it’s cool enough to handle.
Meanwhile, lightly chop the cocoa nibs or gently pulse them in a food processor. Reduce them to the size of sprinkles, but be careful not to pulverize them too much. Pour them into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Grease your hands with butter and, using a tablespoon or a melon baller, scoop out rounded balls of the mixture and roll them between your hands. Place 4 or 5 at a time into the large bowl with the nibs. Tilt and shake the bowl until the brigadeiros are fully encrusted in the nibs.
Place each brigadeiro in paper candy cups or onto sheets of parchment paper to keep them from sticking.
Enjoy your brigadeiros right away and keep them away from heat. Store them refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week and let them come to room temperature before eating. Or for longer storage, double-wrap the brigadeiros in an airtight container and freeze them up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and let them come to room temperature before serving.