Brazil’s National Truffle: Chocolate Brigadeiros

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When I decided to try to find a good pumpkin spice syrup and did my recipe tests, I bought a bunch of condensed milk. I don’t normally use condensed milk for much of anything, so I thought heck, why not find a recipe to use up the ingredients?

I didn’t want anything too terribly complicated, and I’m not familiar enough with condensed milk to make something up on the fly. That’s when I stumbled across a recipe I had wanted to make years ago, but forgot about because I didn’t bookmark it. As you’ve probably guessed (since I spoiled it in the title) it’s the Brigadeiro.

In researching recipes, I learned a few things about this sweet little truffle.

First of all, while they’re Brazilian in origin, they’re also kind of not? That is, there’s some evidence to suggest that it’s basically just a recipe Nestle made up to sell condensed milk when they started selling it in Brazil in the 20s.

Of course, that’s not how it got popular. That, as well as the name, comes from the confectioner Heloisa Nabuco de Oliveira, when she made them to promote the presidential campaign of Brigadier Eduardo Gomes. Hence the name.

These days, from what I can tell, these chewy little treats are a popular sweet snack used to celebrate special occasions, like birthdays. They’re super easy to make, only require a couple of ingredients, and they store quite well (if you let them last long enough to store at all.)

Making the Brigadeiros

The actual recipe for Brigadeiros is really simple. It’s just condensed milk, cocoa powder, some butter, and whatever topping you want to coat them in.

Unlike more American ganache truffles, these don’t really harden up. They stay firm and chewy when they’re chilled, and soften up into something almost gummy when they’re room temperature. I like them chilled, but apparently people even eat them hot.

All you have to do to make the truffles is mix together the ingredients over med-low heat and stir it while it heats. This mixes all the ingredients and incorporates them together. Then you pour it into a bowl or on a plate and let it chill in the fridge for a couple of hours. This leaves you with a pretty firm but malleable batter. Scoop it into balls, roll it up, coat it in a sprinkle of your choice, and pop ’em back in the fridge. They’re ready to go whenever!

My recipe here is super simple and makes easy chocolate balls. You can modify it to add different flavors, choose different toppings, or whatever you want. I’ve seen:

  • Adding some chopped fruit and using white chocolate to make fruit and cream versions.
  • Adding a dash of mint or orange extract to add depth to the chocolate.
  • Using coconut milk and coconut flakes for a coconut treat.

You can do basically anything! All you’re really doing is flavoring some condensed milk, cooking it into a more solid form, and rolling it in a coating.

Like these? Making them for some kind of celebration? Let me know in the comments!

Homemade Brazilian Chocolate Brigadeiros

A soft and rich chocolate truffle made using condensed milk, pulled right out of Brazilian history.
Servings 18 Truffles
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Chill Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 20 mins

Equipment

  • Skillet or Sauce Pan
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Shallow Plate
  • Cookie Scoop or Spoon
  • Bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk 14 oz.
  • ½ Cup Cocoa Powder Sifted
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 Pinch Salt
  • Sprinkles of Your Choice

Instructions

  • In a shallow sauce pan or skillet, combine the condensed milk, cocoa powder, butter, and salt.
  • Heat this mixture over medium-low, stirring constantly.
  • Continue to stir and scrape the bottom of the pan to mix the chocolate together. You're done when scraping your spatula across the bottom of the pan leaves a gap that takes 2-3 seconds for the chocolate to flow in and fill.
  • Pour the hot mixture into a shallow bowl or a rimmed plate to allow it to cool. Place in the fridge for about two hours.
  • Once chilled, form the balls. I found it easiest to use a spoon and lightly grease my hands with butter to roll them out.
  • Pour your sprinkles of choice into a bowl and roll the brigadeiros to coat. Set aside, re-chill if you like, or serve immediately.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Brazilian
Keyword: Chocolate, Truffle

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