It was a full-color photo that initially brought Brigadeiros—the gooey, chocolatey, caramel-y Brazilian candy treat—to my attention. They were irresistibly cute, all decked out in brightly colored sprinkles. I had to try them.
Sure, you could buy Brigadeiros in specialty bakeries, but as simple confections they’re on the expensive side (especially as a niche trend in the post-cupcake era). Plus, they have the extra cache of looking really fancy, despite a recipe that couldn’t be dead simpler.
Prepared for an inevitably complicated candy recipe at the onset of my DIY project, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Brigadeiros contained only three ingredients, required no candy thermometer, and involved only one cooking technique: stirring. Sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder and butter are cooked until very thick and poured into a dish, chilled and then rolled in any number of fun toppings. With so few ingredients, you can’t really go wrong. (Consider this my “3 Ingredient Guarantee.” When I was growing up, our local weatherman had a “3 Degree Guarantee” that he would get the temperature within 3 degrees every day. He was surprisingly accurate.) And taste? They are the perfect bite of sweet chocolatey goodness.
Over time I’ve adjusted my recipe to emphasize the chocolate. While upping the cocoa powder derogates from many of the more authentic recipes, I love the extra hit of chocolate flavor.
How simple is this? You only need to combine 1 (14-ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk, ½ cup Dutch process cocoa powder, and 2 tablespoons butter. It’s practically foolproof—the magic word is stir.
If you don’t stir the chocolate frequently while it cooks over medium-low heat, it’s going to burn and you’ll have to start over. You have to stir for a while, about 25 minutes.
When the chocolate holds a spatula-wide line like this, you’re done.
Pour the mixture into a greased 8”x8” pan and refrigerate until chilled, at least 30 minutes. The mixture can be chilled up to 24 hours.
Pinch off roughly tablespoon-size (no need to get too technical) pieces of chocolate.
Roll them into 1-inch balls. If they are sticking to you, spray your hands with a bit of cooking spray to make things easier.
Now the fun part: sprinkles! Gently roll each brigadeiro in the coating of your choice. Pouring the accoutrements in little bowls makes rolling easier.
I prefer to have as many options as possible. Chocolate sprinkles, colored sprinkles, nonpareils, blinged-out gold and silver sugars… really, the possibilities are endless.