Yara's brigadeiros

The bite-size Brazilian chocolate dessert is traditionally coated in chocolate sprinkles, but can be topped with chopped nuts or shredded coconut too.

The bite-size Brazilian chocolate dessert is traditionally coated in chocolate sprinkles, but can be topped with chopped nuts or shredded coconut too.

Where does it come from?

The most loved of Brazilian sweets, the brigadeiro is a dense, fudgy bite-size chocolate dessert made from condensed milk, butter and cocoa powder. The national dessert is a staple of children’s birthday parties in Brazil, though they are a firm favourite among adults too. Brigadeiros are traditionally served in individual paper candy cups and coated with crunchy chocolate sprinkles, though you can also use grated chocolate, toasted shredded coconut, or finely chopped nuts if you wish.

Using just three ingredients, they are ridiculously simple to make and often get made with children, which Yara Rodrigues Fowler documents in a scene in her book Stubborn Archivist.

The sweet is thought to be a tribute to Eduardo Gomes, a handsome Brigadier who ran as Presidential candidate in 1945. Parties were organised to raise funds and promote his campaign, and these candies were made to be sold at these events and named ‘the Brigadeiro’.  

Although they are easy to make at home, you can also purchase batches of them from gourmet brigadeiro shops. If you are looking for where to buy brigadeiros in London, Yara recommends getting them from Giba Barbosa at http://viarocambole.com/

Ingredients (makes around 12)

1 tin of sweetened condensed milk

200 g cocoa powder

1 spoonful of unsalted butter

To decorate:

Chocolate sprinkles

How to make it?

1.     In a small sauce pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter, condensed milk and cocoa powder, stirring continuously until thickened, for about 10 minutes

2.     Remove from heat and let rest until cool enough to handle 

3.     Pour the sprinkles into a deep plate or bowl and set aside.

4.     Grease your hands with butter and roll the brigadeiros into little bite-size balls

5.     Roll the balls into chocolate sprinkles

6.     Place them in mini paper baking cups

7.     Enjoy!