I’ve got a very simple one for you today. A sweet, easy treat from Brazil. These are less a chocolate truffle and more a chocolate caramel/dulce de leche-type deal, but they’re rich and creamy and totally worth the twenty minutes it takes to make them. A bit of stirring transforms sweetened condensed milk into a rich masterpiece. Married with cocoa powder and a hint of butter, the milk attains a luxuriously creamy consistency without having to worry about the science of the perfect temperatures or over-mixing. These are really hard to mess up.
Brigadeiros were a favorite with Brigadier Eduardo Gomes, one of the heroes in the 1922 lieutenant revolt at the Copacabana Fort. When he was a candidate for the Brazil presidency in 1945- the first year Brazilian women could vote for president -ladies who supported him sold these chocolate sweets in fundraisers. How Eduardo Gomes’s campaign slogan, “Vote no brigadeiro, que é bonito e é solteiro” (Vote for the brigadier, who’s good-looking and single), didn’t grant him victory, is beyond me. Seriously, if good looks and chocolates don’t win you the presidency I really don’t know what will.
If I had found these before the World Cup I would have been all over them. I discovered them thanks to London Eats, just a little late, but better late than never. I’ve made quite a few batches of these, varying the toppings from cocoa powder, coconut, pistachio, crushed pumpkin seeds (for a seasonal touch) and sprinkles. I feel like I should ditch my day job and open up shop as a chocolatier, apron around my neck, hair tucked under a hat, arranging little treats like little works of art, honing the craft and science behind rich and wonderful chocolates and chatting with customers…but I digress.
For all of you celebrating Rosh Hashana, make a batch of these for a sweet New Year. I’ve got a challah experiment in the fridge as we speak (fingers crossed that I don’t bake a brick). I’ll hit you up with that recipe next week if it actually works out. Until then, make these. I won’t tell anyone if you take the spoon directly to the bowl and eat them before forming them. Amid the array of amber-colored treats on the tables right now, this simple, fast dessert is definitely one to keep on the burner.
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- toppings (chocolate sprinkles, coconut flakes, pistachios, whatever you want)
- candy wrappers/mini muffin tins (they’ll make you look totes profesh)
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine cocoa, butter and condensed milk. Cook, stirring, until thickened, about 10 minutes. You’ll know when it’s done, when you run a spoon through it, you’ll be able to see the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and let rest until cool enough to handle. Form into small balls and refrigerate. Serve when they’re nice and cold. Look like a hero.