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platter1Originally, this post would have a simple and straightforward title:  “Coconut Brigadeiros”.  I made them late on a Sunday evening to take to our department next day.  Phil tried one, and was silent for a while. Then, he said “Sally, these are ridiculously good”.  And that, my friends, is how a new title for my post was born.  I could not let that one pass…😉

Those of you who do not know what is a “brigadeiro” are invited to jump here and read a post I made a couple of years ago.  It explains everything you need to know about the most traditional sweet served at Brazilians parties and kids’  birthdays (particularly kids younger than 91 years old).   Coconut brigadeiros are simply a variation on a classic, but wow… they ARE ridiculously good.   Make a batch. And you will be hooked.


(adapted from Fine Cooking magazine, original recipe from Leticia Moreinos Schwartz)

1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut (divided)

Add the condensed milk, coconut milk, unsalted butter, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup of shredded coconut to a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn the heat down to medium low and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens.  Depending on your stove, it should take 15 minutes or a little more.  If the mixture boils too furiously, lower the heat.   Keep stirring at all times or you might end up with brigadeiros that are not totally smooth. The mixture is ready when you can see the bottom of the saucepan as you stir.   Slide the mixture out into a bowl, avoid scraping the stuff that glued to the pan. Let the mixture cool completely or until it is cool enough to handle.

Spread the remaining 1 + 1/2 cups of the shredded coconut out onto a rimmed baking sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to ensure even browning. Remove from the oven when most of the coconut is golden brown. Place into a bowl and let cool.

Scoop the coconut mixture with a small spoon (it helps to wet the palm of your hand with cold water) and roll into 3/4″ diameter balls. Drop each ball into the shredded coconut and toss gently to coat.  Serve right away at room temperature, or chill until ready to serve.

This recipe will make 26 to 36 brigadeiros. I tend to like them a little bigger, so I normally end with less than 30.  The recipe can be doubled.   For a different take, roll the coconut brigadeiros in chocolate sprinkles.


to print the recipe, click here


Comments:  A friend of mine from Brazil goes to the extent of sautéing the shredded coconut in butter for the coating.  I think toasting in the oven is good enough.  Sometimes you can find shredded coconut in smaller pieces than the ones I used. It will work fine too.

Brigadeiros can be served at room temperature, or straight from the fridge. They will have a different texture, some people (me included) prefer the soft, room temperature version.  While we were in Brazil a couple of months ago, my niece Raquel  served us a variation on brigadeiros that might very well be my favorite: brigadeiros de cupuaçú.

Now, I don’t expect too many Americans (or Europeans for the matter) to know what I’m talking about.  Cupuaçú is a fruit native of the North of Brazil, the same region where açaí grows and where my Dad was born back in 1920.  He absolutely loved both fruits! It has a very unique taste, sweet and sour at the same time. In São Paulo you can easily find cupuaçú pulp  in frozen form, which is what Raquel used for her  brigadeiros.  One of the best things I’ve ever had!  Here in the US I settle for coconut, so you can make it too…  😉

Love Brazilian cooking?  Consider getting Leticia Schwartz book, The Brazilian Kitchen.  For my review of her book, click here.

ONE YEAR AGO:  A bewitching move ahead… (from OK to KS!)

TWO YEARS AGO: Double-hydration focaccia

THREE YEARS AGO: Pierre Nury’s Rustic Light Rye: Bougnat


  1. I’m not a fan of coconut but, I have to admit, Sally, that I’d be willing to put aside my differences and gobble them up! They look incredible!
    Thanks for the tips on getting around the Google “abandonment”. I need to check out your suggestions.


    • THe Google thing is a major pain indeed. We tend to get used to certain “virtual gadgets” and then it’s hard to see them go.
      But, I am ok with Feedly, getting used to it.

      As to the brigadeiros, maybe you could try the original, chocolate version – it’s really delicious too…


  2. I want to taste your Brazilian fruits, I love exotic fruits – and a little tray of these (or a big tray) would be delicious too. Is the coconut fresh shredded coconut? I don’t think we get that here, sometimes we get fresh whole ones in the shop, but mostly they use that dried stuff for little cakes. Anyway they sound competely dreamy, the sort of thing one should have to hand on a cold wet May day with a good potboiler of a book and a rug cuddled up on a sofa with a couple of poodles…. xx jo


    • Joanna, even in Brazil – where people can get freshly grated coconut, most people still use the dried version, since it’s so easy to keep in the pantry. I happened to find great quality coconut from India in the freezer section of a grocery store. I used what I needed, and kept the rest in the fridge. It was moister than most I’ve used, but don’t let that prevent you from making these.


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