Recently I visited my friend Steve and he mentioned a classic Brazilian treat that I had never heard of. A brigadeiro is kind of like a truffle, but a thousand times easier to make. You simply take a can of sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder, butter, and sugar, and then cook them in a saucepan until some of the moisture evaporates. When cooled, this creates a gooey, sticky ball that you can coat in whatever you like.
Recently, we worked with a machinist to develop a cocoa butter press and I’ve been left with a lot of excess cocoa powder. This seemed like a perfect excuse to try out something new. There are many different variants of the brigadeiro online, many of them using Nestle Quick as the powder. Since our cocoa powder has no added sugar, I decided to add sugar and reduce the cocoa powder in our version.
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon sugar
For the toppings:
… or anything else you like
1) Combine the ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.
2) Keep stirring until thickened (you should be able to see the bottom of the pan for a few seconds after each scrape).
3) Pour into a small glass pan (3×5), set aside to cool.
4) Once cooled, roll into small balls and coat with a topping.
That’s it. It really was a simple and easy treat to make. It didn’t taste quite like anything I had tried before, but was very tasty… sort of like a gooey, sticky toffee ball. The pearl sugar added a nice crunch but made it very sweet. The ones I coated in cocoa powder had a nice, chocolate-y punch. I tried a version coated in nibs, but I wouldn’t recommend it as it was a bit overwhelming.
On the chocolate making front, it was good to try this recipe as learned something new about our cocoa powder. The germ is a dense part of the bean that we usually remove as part of our winnowing process. This cocoa powder was made from some quick test chocolate that we hadn’t winnowed fully and so you could actually taste small bits of germ in the center of the brigadeiros. It wasn’t bad actually, they were almost like small, chocolate poppy seeds, but definitely something we will thoroughly remove next time unless we are specifically aiming for that texture.