This post was sponsored by World Market. Because of the exciting things going on in Brazil right now and my family’s origins in Brazil, they wanted me to share a recipe with you!
Friends, don’t hate me that I’m not sharing my Haven recap with all those paint/stain combos I promised… I will share that FRIDAY! But today, because of everything that is happening in Brazil right now and because I FREAKIN LOVE Brazil (my husband was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro), I’m going to share with you our favorite quick treat that transports us back to Brazil whenever we miss it. Say hello to my lil friend: BRIGADEIROS!! Of all the Brazilian recipes for desserts I know, this one is by far the easiest and is known by all Brazilians. I was taught to me by Bruno’s family. But it is so dang easy and so delicious, you will be hooked, trust me. The main ingredients are found at World Market!
The closest thing I can think of that is tastes like is tootsie rolls. But better. And the ones with the cocoa coating taste a little more decadent with the bitterness of the cocoa balancing out the super sweet filling.
To give you a little back ground about Brigadeiros, they are the Portuguese word for Brigadier and was named after a Brigadier who was running for political office in Rio a long time ago. He was trying to win over the hearts of people to vote for him by giving them this little chocolate treat that a small group of his supporters came up with. He had the right idea and let’s be honest, I’m fully in favor of political parties doing the same when campaigning. Have Brigadeiros? Will vote. 😉
While the guy didn’t end up winning, this bite-size dessert ended up being super popular (because duh), and decades later is the most popular thing served at ANY party. It basically isn’t a party without Brigadeiros. Bruno ate them at every single birthday party growing up, and at every wedding he went to. I’m pretty sure his mom made it every Sunday for him and his brothers as well. He usually can’t even wait for me to roll it into balls, and we just scoop some out on a spoon and eat it. We are classy like that.
Here is another little tidbit you might find interesting… almost ALL of the Brazilian desserts that I know of (which is A LOT) have sweetened condensed milk as one of the ingredients. So basically, you aren’t Brazilian if you don’t have at least 1 can of leite condensado in your pantry. If you don’t like sweetened condensed milk, well then you need to take a long hard look at your life and reevaluate. And I’m not sure I can trust you fully.
haha I’m kidding… sorta…
When I was in college, after I married Bruno, I found myself loving the food, the laughter, the warmth of his family, but torn because I was often on the outskirts of conversations, since I didn’t speak Portuguese. I would ask him to translate conversations but he would instead give me a 1 sentence synopsis after a 5 minute conversation with another family member. I was missing out and being the 5th child in my family, I DID NOT want to miss out. So I enrolled in Portuguese classes at my university. It was one of 2 universities in the nation at the time that offered Portuguese at a college level, so I was very lucky for that opportunity. I studied for 2 years, learned to read, write, pronounce words correctly, and speak (albeit slowly). It wasn’t until we moved in with his aunt for a few months, that I was forced to practice my Portuguese every day until I started to pick up on some fluency. Then a year later, we traveled to Brazil for 1 month for his brother’s wedding, and that was when I no longer translated anything in my head before speaking. I started dreaming in Portuguese. And I fell in love with Brazil.
Above is a picture I took in Florianopolis (in the south). We used snow boards to slide down the sand dunes.
Below is a picture of Bruno and Owen on one of the beaches. Brazilians are very proud of the natural beauty in their country. Sure they have their problems, but what country doesn’t? Lately they are being judged on a huge, world-wide scale and while there have been some hiccups, they really are trying hard to make others feel welcome and hope others can see the vast beauty that is far greater than any of the problems that exist. I was telling our family the other night, that when someone speaks badly of Brazil lately, or points out the poverty or corruption, I feel defensive! It’s like when someone speaks badly of your sibling… We can do it, but outsiders can’t! 😉 I mean, I’m *technically* an outsider, but I’ve been “adopted” because my love runs deep.
This picture was taken of me, almost 10 years ago in Goiania, a city just south of the capital, Brasilia, and where a lot of Bruno’s family lives. I know what you are thinking… “Where are her eyebrows?!” I’m very sorry, but no one had introduced me to the eyebrow pencil. It was tragic…
The incredible city design of Brasilia.
This was always where I was asking to go, in every city we went to, the “feiras” or outdoor markets. They are full of inexpensive items from food to hand-made jewelry and home decor items.
While we were there I tried all kinds of Brazilian foods and beverages. Just in case you are planning on ever visiting Brazil either sooner or later, here are some of my favorites that you can easily find from street vendors:
Pastel– this is similar to an empanada, but a lighter, crispier dough and often filled with just ham and cheese.
Coxinhas (pronounced phonetically: co-sheenyas)- a deep fried dense moist dough with bread crumbs on the outer layer in a cone shape, filled with shredded chicken and cheese. I like to dip it in ketchup.
Pamonha – (pronounced pah-moh-nya) Sort of like a tamale in that it is also wrapped in corn husks and boiled, but with more of the mashed corn dough inside and the center can be filled with chicken, cheese, sausage or other savory things, but my favorite kind is when it is filled with sweetened condensed milk, so it tastes more like a dessert.
Tapioca de leite condensado – Tapioca flour and shredded coconut pancake made with sweetened condensed milk.
Pão de Queijo – cheese bread made from tapioca flour, parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Best when hot and even better with a little requeijão in the middle (their version of cream cheese).
Abacate com Limão e Açucar – Halved avocado with the center filled with lime juice and sugar.
Brigadeiros e Beijinhos – I’ve already explained Brigadeiros to you, but beijinhos literally means little kisses. They are the same sort of dessert, but without chocolate. Many times there is added shredded coconut and they are rolled in white sugar.
Guarana – the best soda ever. It comes from the Guarana fruit and tastes a little like Ginger Ale but better.
ALL THE FRUIT JUICES! – Basically U.S. fruit juices suck and are super watered down compared to Brazilian fruit juices. They are legit, fresh squeezed all the time and usually have no added sugar. My FAVORITE is ‘Suco de Caju’ or cashew fruit juice. Did you know the cashew nut comes from inside the seed from the cashew fruit? Most Americans don’t know that a cashew is actually a fruit!
Limonada Suíça– This is what Americans call Brazilian Lemonade. In Brazil it’s called limonada suiça for whatever reason. It is basically limeade with sweetened condensed milk. It’s amazing.
Churrasco– (pronounced shoo-ha-skoh) Brazilian barbecue with the best cuts of cow meat, sausage, chicken hearts, and pretty much anything your meat-loving heart can dream up. Oh and grilled pineapple with a brown sugar glaze, which is everything.
Feijoada com Farofa – Feijoada is traditional black bean stew filled with all parts of the pig– usually sausage, salted pork, bacon, etc. The farofa is toasted manioc flour with some seasonings and adds a wonderful texture to the feijoada on top of the rice. Most of the time the Feijoada is served on a large plate next to some sautéed collard greens and garlic, and some fresh orange slices.
Stroganof de Frango – Adapted from the german dish (huge german communities exist in Brazil, especially in São Paulo), but instead of a mushroom base sauce, it is a tomato and cream sauce that you can add mushrooms and shredded or bite-sized chicken. Served over rice and alongside batata palha (shoestring potato sticks).
In general I love ALL Brazilian food. It is not spicy like most latin american countries’ food. Except for 1 state (Bahia), the rest of the country doesn’t serve much, if anything, spicy. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t unique and strong flavors. The great thing about Brazil is it is a melting pot of many cultures, so the food reflects that. Besides many people claiming Portuguese heritage, there are huge German, Japanese, and Italian communities throughout the southern half of Brazil. Up north there are more indigenous people mixed with Portuguese. Bahia probably has the highest concentration of people with African heritage, and is also where the beautiful martial-arts dance of Capoeira originates. Capoeira was banned in the late 19th century but to keep that part of the culture alive, the people incorporated many of those same beautiful movements into soccer. That unique Brazilian way of playing soccer is called “Ginga” and is referred to as ‘joga bonito’ or ‘the beautiful game’. How’s that for a little history? 🙂
So now on to the actual recipe….
Happily, this recipe only requires 4 ingredients and 2 are easily found at World Market– they have an excellent selection of quality international foods. They even sell Guarana (my fav soda) there!
Add 1 can of sweetened condensed milk (I prefer this hispanic brand– I find it to be a little thicker, but you can use any brand), 2 Tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder (I love the Droste brand Dutch cocoa powder I found at World Market), and 1 Tablespoon of margarine to a saucepan.
Turn on heat to about medium and stir CONSTANTLY. It can burn easily, so do not leave this one and walk away. It cooks fast, so that is a plus. It starts out looking a dark brown and starts to lighten a little as the cocoa fully combines with the rest of the mixture (after a few minutes).
You will want to stir until it starts to get bubbly. Once it is bubbly, stir for another 5-7 minutes. Once the mixture starts to pull from the bottom of the pan when you tilt it, it is done. I did a little video showing how it is supposed to look:
Turn off the heat and pour chocolate mixture into greased pan or dish. Let it cool COMPLETELY before you start to make the little balls.
Step 4: Grease your palms with margarine and using a melon-baller, scoop out some of the brigadeiro mixture and roll it into a ball in your hand. Then drop it into a bowl filled with chocolate sprinkles (I love these De Ruitjder brand dutch dark chocolate sprinkles I got at World Market). Coat on all side, and roll the chocolate brigadeiro in your palms again so all the sprinkles adhere.
Optional: Coat some of the brigadeiros in the unsweetened cocoa powder for some variation.
And because I was having too much fun in the kitchen, I came up with a variation of these Brigadeiros! They are called…
Brazilian Coconut & Guava Paste Beijinhos
(Beijinhos de Côco e Goiabada)
The process is the same but the ingredients are a bit different. I thought of this because I found Guava Paste at World Market which is called Goiabada in Brazil, and also they had sweetened condensed coconut milk, which I’ve never seen anywhere else, but I thought that would make a delicious addition to traditional Beijinhos which is normally made with sweetened condensed milk.
Mix 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, 1 can of sweetened condensed coconut milk (only found at World Market), 1 Tablespoon margarine, 1/2 cup of shredded coconut, and 1 cup of cream cheese in a medium saucepan. Turn on heat to medium and start stirring with a whisk. The whisk will start to break up the cream cheese and then it will melt faster.
Stir the mixture for about 7-10 minutes or until it starts to bubble. Stirring constantly, boil for about 10 more minutes or until the mix starts to pull from the sides when the pan is tilted. Pour the mixture out on a greased dish and let cool completely. Once cool, place in the fridge for about 1 hour until it hardens up a bit.
While you are waiting for the mix to cool, cut up small (about 1/4″x1/4″ squares) of guava paste (found at World Market).
Using a greased melon baller, scoop out a fairly large amount of mix and place it in your palm. Make an center indentation with your thumb and place a small square of guava paste in the indent. Close the mixture around the guava paste and roll into a ball. It will be a bit sticker than chocolate brigadeiros, so make sure your hands are good and greasy with butter.
Drop the ball into shredded coconut or granulated sugar and roll it around until it is completely coated. Place all the balls on a dish and refrigerate before serving.
I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about me, about the beautiful culture I married into and consider myself a part of. Let me know if you have any questions about Brazil or anything I’ve discussed today, I’d be happy to answer!
Here is a printable version of both recipes:
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 T. margarine
- 2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 c. chocolate sprinkles
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 can sweetened condensed coconut milk
- 1 T. margin
- 1/2 c. shredded coconut
- 1 c. cream cheese
- 3- 1/4" thick slices of guava paste, cut into small 1/4" x 1/4" squares
- 1/4 c. granulated sugar or shredded coconut (for topping)
- For Brigadeiros:
- Combine sweetened condensed milk, margarine, and cocoa powder in a saucepan. Turn heat to medium and stir mixture until bubbling. Stirring constantly, let boil for 5-7 minutes until mixture pulls from pan when it is tilted.
- Turn off the head and pour out mixture onto a greased dish. Let cool completely. Using a melon-baller, scoop out some of the mixture and roll it in between your greased palms. Roll ball in chocolate sprinklers until it is entirely coated.
- Repeat with remaining mixture and place out on a dish. Can be refrigerated, covered, for a week. But I bet they won't even last that long! 😉
- For Beijinhos:
- Combine sweetened condensed milk, sweetened condensed coconut milk, butter, coconut, and cream cheese in a medium saucepan. Mix up with a whisk on medium heat until bubbly. Keep stirring constantly for about 10 minutes or until the mixture pulls from the sides of the pan when the pan is tilted. Pour mixture onto a greased dish and let cool completely. Place in the fridge for an hour to let cool further and become firm. Scoop out balls of the mixture with a greased melon-baller and place on palm. Use your thumb to press an indent in the ball and place a small square of guava paste. Close the sweetened condensed milk mixture around the guava paste, roll into a ball and drop into either the granulated sugar or shredded coconut. Coat the entire surface of the ball and then place on a plate and refrigerate.
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