This Brigadeiro Recipe shows you how to make the chocolate fudge balls that are a sentimental and history-filled dessert in Brazil. They are made with sweetened condensed milk and are normally topped with sprinkles!
It’s here, everyone! The moment you all (ahem, I….) have been waiting for! Its BRIGADEIROS DAY!!! I’m clearly very excited.
Brigadeiros are the perfect dessert because they take literally 3 ingredients, 20 minutes, and 2 steps to make. And then—and this is the best part—when they’re done, they taste like little balls of chocolate frosting.
They’re thick enough to hold their shape, but once you take a bite, they melt in your mouth and turn into this awesome, portable frosting treat that just makes me want to sing.
Why is Brigadeiro Important to Brazil?
It’s story time…
Once upon a time, in the year 1945, Brazil was in the process of electing a new president. One candidate in the running was named Eduardo Gomes.
Prior to running for president, Gomes had served in the military and had held the ranking of Brigadier. Over the course of the election, Gomes became known simply as “El Brigadier.” His slogan was (translated), “Vote for Brigadier; he is handsome and single.”
As the election began, Gomes was short on money for his campaign. His supporters wanted to help, so they worked together to develop a plan to sell candy in order to raise money for Gomes’s campaign.
However, World War II had just come to an end, and milk and sugar were scarce. Instead of making typical candy, Gomes’s supporters had to make the chocolate balls using only sweetened condensed milk as a replacement for the butter and sugar.
The sweets were so delicious that they became widely known across the country. Because they were the campaign sweet of the Brigadier, the citizens started calling the chocolate balls “Brigadeiros”. Unfortunately, Gomes did not win the election, but his legacy has lived on in the form of these wonderful chocolate treats.
How Brigadeiro Contribute to Brazilian Culture
Brigadeiros hold a special place in the hearts of many Brazilians. Similar to how Americans celebrate birthdays with birthday cake, Brazilians celebrate birthdays with Brigadeiros. In fact, even if a cake is served at a Brazilian birthday party, Brigadeiros are also served after the cake.
Brigadeiro boutiques also exist plentifully around Brazil and serve a fancier version of these homemade Brigadeiros.
Some are, of course, still simply sweetened condensed milk, chocolate, and butter. However, others are filled with cheese, nuts, dried fruits, alcohol, Nutella, peanut butter, and more. The options for artisan Brigadeiros in Brazil are endless.
What Ingredients are In this Brigadeiro Recipe
Sweetened condensed milk
Brown or colored sprinkles
How to Make this Brigadeiro Recipe
In a medium pan, combine sweetened condensed milk and baking cocoa before you turn on the heat. Use a spatula to mix the ingredients together until the cocoa dissolves and the sweetened condensed milk looks brown.
Add the unsalted butter and the salt into the mixture.
Turn the stove onto medium high heat and place the pot over the flame, stirring continuously for about 15-20 minutes. You know that your Brigadeiros are done cooking when you can use your spatula to draw a line through the middle of the mixture and the mixture is too thick to mold itself back together.
Transfer the mixture to a cool bowl and allow to cool for about an hour and a half in the fridge.
Once cooled, break off portions of the mixture and roll into one inch balls in your hand. Roll the balls in your colored sprinkles and enjoy.
Leave a review on this post letting me know what you thought!
The Secret to Making this Brigadeiro Recipe
The secret here is simple, but vital. Make sure to add all of your ingredients together BEFORE you turn the stove burner on.
Before discovering this secret, I heated my sweetened condensed milk up before adding in the butter and the cocoa powder. If you do it in this order, the cocoa never quite combines with the milk and the Brigadeiros end up with some lumps. We don’t want that!
Instead, pour your sweetened condensed milk into the pan, and add the cocoa while it’s still cold. Use a spatula to mix the ingredients until the cocoa has dissolved and the sweetened condensed milk now looks brown. Then, add the butter into the pot, turn on the burner, and start a-mixin!
How Do You Thicken Brigadeiros?
The key to thickening your Brigadeiro is simple: time and heat. Put your pot on the stove and stir consistently for about 20 minutes. The longer you stir, the thicker your mixture will get.
You want to make sure that your Brigadeiro is sufficiently thick before allowing it to cool. If they aren’t, they won’t hold their ball shape and will instead melt into a puddle.
If you’ve been stirring your Brigadeiro for quite some time (maybe a half an hour) and it’s not thickening, try adding another teaspoon or two of baking cocoa to allow it to to thicken. Stir for a few minutes more, then add more baking cocoa if necessary until the mixture reaches your desired consistency.
Knowing When Your Brigadeiros are Ready
You know that your Brigadeiros are done cooking when you can use your spatula to draw a line through the middle of the mixture and the mixture is too thick to mold itself back together.
Once this happens, allow your Brigadeiro mix to cool for about an hour. Use your hands to roll the mix into one inch balls and then roll those balls in the sprinkles. Enjoy!
Adding Sprinkles to Your Creation
The sprinkles on the Brigadeiro are a fantastic added touch, too. Most Brigadeiros come with chocolate sprinkles on top, but some can be served without. I’ll let you in on a secret…. I’m an avid sprinkle HATER.
I never, ever want sprinkles on any of my desserts. That is, unless my Brigadeiros come rolled in them. In that case, sprinkles are my very best friend. I don’t know what it is about this Brigadeiro Recipe that changes my opinion on sprinkles, but just trust me on this one, okay?
How Long Can You Keep Brigadeiros?
Your Brigadeiro should last in the fridge for about a week. There aren’t any easily perishable ingredients in this recipe, so there is no need to worry about them staying fresh.
However, once the can of Sweetened Condensed Milk is open, I normally give it about a week before I throw it out. I would follow the same guidelines for your Brigadeiro.
If you make this recipe and love it, don’t forget to leave a comment on my post telling me what you thought! And ALWAYS remember to post a photo on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #TheForeignFork and tag @TheForeignFork.
If you liked this recipe, don’t forget to check out some of the other recipes on my site I’ve picked out just for you!:
- Sacher Torte from Austria
- Liege Waffles from Belgium
- Colombian Hot Chocolate with Cheese
- Chocolate Molten Lava Cake Recipe
- Chocolate Glazed Donuts Step by Step
Brigadeiro Recipe (Chocolate Fudge Balls) from Brazil
- 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 3 tbsp baking cocoa
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 pinch sea salt
- Brown or colored sprinkles
- In a medium pan, combine sweetened condensed milk and baking cocoa before you turn on the heat. Use a spatula to mix the ingredients together until the cocoa dissolves and the sweetened condensed milk looks brown.
- Add the unsalted butter and the salt into the mixture.
- Turn the stove onto medium high heat and place the pot over the flame, stirring continuously for about 15-20 minutes. You know that your Brigadeiros are done cooking when you can use your spatula to draw a line through the middle of the mixture and the mixture is too thick to mold itself back together.
- Transfer the mixture to a cool bowl and allow to cool for about an hour and a half in the fridge.
- Once cooled, break off portions of the mixture and roll into one inch balls in your hand. Roll the balls in your colored sprinkles and enjoy.
- Leave a review on this post letting me know what you thought!