Brazilian Brigadeiro

Chocolate Brigadeiro Recipe (Chocolate Fudge Balls)

Okay so here is one of my favorite Brazilian desserts; small chocolate fudge balls covered with chocolate sprinkles, what’s not to like? The best part is that they’re really easy to make and the prep time is only 25 minutes!

What is Brazilian Brigadeiro?

Brigadeiro (pronounced: bree-gah-DAY-roh) is a traditional Brazilian dessert made of just a few simple ingredients: cocoa powder, sweetened condensed milk, butter and (chocolate) sprinkles to cover the outside layer. These bite-size chocolate fudge balls are often served at birthday parties, or when having friends over. I can always find a good excuse to prepare some!

What do Brigadeiros taste like?

Brigadeiros come in all kinds of flavors such as lemon, strawberry, white chocolate, and the most popular: chocolate. The chocolate brigadeiros are sweet and their structure is fudgy and gooey. I have a sweet tooth, but even tasty brigadeiros can be too sweet for me. That’s why I would advise you to use unsweetened cocoa powder when preparing them. The (sweetened) condensed milk is more than enough to create that sweet taste.

Who invented Brigadeiro?

There are several legends about the origin of Brigadeiros, but the most plausible one – if you ask me – would be the one about a presidential campaign in the 1940’s. According to this story, it is named after the presidential candidate Eduardo Gomes, who was a brigadier (Brigadeiro in Portuguese) in the army.

Right after World War II ended, the presidential campaigns were at full speed. Mr. Eduardo Gomes was very popular among women because he was good looking and single. 

Therefore, a group of his most devoted supporters came up with the idea to raise funds for Gomes’s campaign by hosting parties and putting him even more in the spotlight. Instead of selling the usual electoral merchandising, his supporters made a candy that was sold at these parties. Fresh supplies such as milk and sugar were scarce in the period right after WW2, so they used condensed milk, butter, and chocolate instead.

Back in the day, the chocolate treat was called “the candy of the Brigadeiro” and was used as a tool to win votes for Eduardo Gomes. Even though the candy was a great success, Eduardo Gomes was not elected as president. A few years later, the rest of Brazil ‘adopted’ the candy and its name was abbreviated to ‘Brigadeiro’ as it is known nowadays.

How to store Brigadeiros

Now, you’ve made yourself some delicious chocolate fudge balls and you’re wondering how to store them. Well, I’ve got good news for you! Brigadeiros can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for around 2 to 3 days or up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator. 

In case you store the brigadeiros in the refrigerator, you might want to bring them to room temperature before serving; that’s when they taste best!

In case you store the brigadeiros in the refrigerator, you might want to bring them to room temperature before serving; that’s when they taste best!

Ways to enjoy Brigadeiro

You can enjoy Brigadeiro in a few different ways! In this recipe, we’ll focus on the cute little fudge balls which are great for sharing at parties or when having friends over. They are usually covered in chocolate sprinkles and served in cupcake cups, which makes a great presentation. 

I like to spoil my friends and family with treats, so I sometimes change the sprinkles to match the time of year. For example, they can be covered in red, heart-shaped sprinkles to surprise my wife on Valentines Day, or in colorful sprinkles for playful events such as birthdays. When making a batch of 20, it gives a very cute effect to use different sprinkles for 4-5 of them :-).

However, if you don’t feel like rolling the balls (or if you just can’t wait to eat them!) you can also just grab a spoon and eat the chocolate fudge from the pan. In Brazil, this is called Brigadeiro de Colher. I’d freely translate this as Brigadeiro off the spoon.

Last but not least, you can use the gooey chocolate mixture to fill a cake or as a cake topping.

How to make Brigadeiro

Now, you might be wondering how you can prepare these Brazilian fudge balls yourself. The answer to that is short and simple, really! When my wife – who is Brazilian – and I just moved in together, I could tell that she started missing the sweets she used to eat back in Brazil. That’s when I decided I wanted to prepare something for her to ‘ease the pain’. Since Brigadeiro is the most popular Brazilian dessert, I decided to prepare this. 

I was fairly new to cooking in general, but I still managed to pull it off! And well.. if I can do it, so can you! All you need is a few ingredients, a small pan, and two hands. That’s it. 

Now, enough talking. Let’s get our hands dirty and make some delicious Brigadeiro! Let me know what you think in the comments!

Brigadeiro Recipe

Brigadeiro Recipe

Brigadeiro Recipe

Yield: 20
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Simple, elegant, but most of all YUMMY! These chocolate fudgeballs are possibly the most popular Brazilian dessert. In just 30 minutes, you can make them yourself! They're great for sharing at parties, but if you rather keep them all to yourself, I can't blame you 😉 !

Ingredients

  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 30 grams of butter
  • 3 heaped table spoons of cocoa powder
  • Chocolate sprinkles
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat
  2. Once the butter has melted, add the condensed milk, cocoa powder and salt
  3. Heat the mixture while stirring continuously until it comes off the bottom of the pan. Note to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan now and then to provide burning
  4. Take a bowl and cover the inside with some butter. This prevents the brigadeiro mixture from sticking to it
  5. Now poor the mixture into the bowl
  6. Put the bowl in the refigerator for about 2 hours until it has cooled down completely
  7. Put the sprinkles in a bowl or deep plate
  8. Remove from fridge. Butter your hands and roll small balls from the chocolate fudge
  9. Roll the balls in the sprinkles until they're fully covered
  10. Keep the brigadeiro in the refrigerator until serving time.

Notes

I know it's hard to wait, but it is important to let the chocolate fudge cool down; If it's still too warm, the Brigadeiros won't keep their ball shape.

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