Brigadeiros are the most popular Brazilian candy, mandatory item at Birthday parties. I blogged about them here, and shared a coconut variation here. This recipe has been sitting on my Pinterest cooking  board ever since I saw it on Denise’s site, From Brazil to You, around Halloween.  You should definitely stop by her site to see how she shaped each one as a cute little pumpkin.  Knowing my limitations, I simply rolled them as traditional “brigadeiros” and coated them with the shimmer sugar Phil recently bought for me, adorable husband that he is.  And, by the way, in Portuguese, pumpkin brigadeiros = brigadeiros de abóbora.  if you want to say it as a native Brazilian, listen to yours truly by clicking this audio link

(slightly modified from Denise’s blog)

1 (14 oz or 396 g) can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Granulated sugar for rolling

Grease a dish with unsalted butter and set aside. Place about 1 cup of granulated sugar on another plate and set aside.

Mix the condensed milk, pumpkin puree, butter, and spices in a saucepan over medium heat. Non-stick is best.  Cook, stirring constantly in order to avoid burning, until thickened enough that the bottom of the pan shows through briefly when the mixture is stirred, and runs to the sides of the pan slowly if gathered in the center of the pan with a wooden or plastic spoon– this should usually take approximately 10-12 minutes, depending on your stove.

Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla, and pour mixture into the greased dish. Let cool. The brigadeiro dough can be refrigerated for about 20 minutes before rolling into balls if desired. Then wet your hands with cold water and shape the brigadeiros into balls, using a tablespoon as measure. Roll each one in sugar, and place in small paper cups.


to print the recipe, click here


Comments:  This was a delightful take on a Brazilian classic!  They are sweet with all the condensed milk, but the pumpkin offers a nice counterpart.  I took a batch for a potluck dessert party,  and lots of people asked me for the recipe, so I guarantee that whenever you make these babies, they will please your guests!

I bet  you cannot eat just one…😉

Pumpkin Brigadeiros

ONE YEAR AGO: Pumpkin Espresso Loaf

TWO YEARS AGO: Caramelized Carrot Soup

THREE YEARS AGO: Miso-Grilled Shrimp

FOUR YEARS AGO: A Special Holiday Fruitcake


  1. Hi, Sally! I am so glad to see this version of my recipe here. You did a wonderful job!!! They are simple yet pretty! I wish I could devour them all (my eldest daughter would think the same since we are both crazy for pumpkin brigadeiros). Wishing you and Phil a very Merry Christmas. xx


    • It is a pretty nice twist, a little savory taste goes well with the cooked down condensed milk – reminds me of some Indian desserts that take condensed milk and saffron. I gotta make that sometime…


    • I bet you would love these, even with the pumpkin – it is not easy to figure out what is in them, they are just delicious! Another thing you could do is use 50% of pumkin and a little white chocolate… wow, I am getting excited about trying THAT! 😉


    • I had never seen that sugar for sale around town, but Phil managed to grab the bottle when he found it at Marshall’s – it is a very interesting type of store, you never know what you will find, and the fact it was there one day doesn’t mean it will be there in a week, a month, or a year! 😉


  2. fantastico o poder do brigadeiro! desde o meu intercambio em USA quase 40 anos já se passaram, e ainda tem brigadeiro por lá.
    bem, ensinei a minha host sister fazer brigadeiros, desde então todo natal ela faz “brazilian chocolate balls” para a família, como ela é professora na elementary school as treat, ela ensina os alunos fazerem, Cokato – MN já está na segunda geração de brigadeiros lovers, recentemente saiu até no jornal local. os seus ficaram maravilhosos!
    bjs e boas festas


    • Realmente, o poder do brigadeiro me faz pensar no “poder da mandioca frita” – sao duas coisas que todos os estrangeiros ficam loucos quando experimentam… e pasteis… e farofa…. 😉


  3. Oh Sally, I do not think I have seen anything so festive, special and appealing for ages!! That shimmer sugar!!!! Meanwhile may I wish yourself and your husband the happiest of Yuletides and thank you for having been such a wonderful and fun teacher throughout the year🙂 ! Blessings!!!


  4. Love the shimmer sugar!!🙂 (not sure why I have such a hard time finding little novelty items like that — they’re so much fun).

    Your little treats are so pretty and festive looking Sally — all aglow — and I’ve never had anything quite like them before. I’m glad you decided to share them with us again — a piece of your native Brazil;a perfect touch of tradition at Christmas time…wishing you a beautiful holiday Sally! xo


  5. How cute! And these seem so much simpler than most candies (at least I always imagine candies as hard to make). I absolutely love the diamond shimmer sugar Sally. I should find some of that for Miss A. She would go absolutely nuts for it – as would I. Have a wonderful holiday season!!! Here’s to a fabulous New Year as well. Many hugs!


  6. A recipe, an introduction to shimmer sugar, and a language lesson. How you spoil us, Sally! These do look good and shimmer sugar could be used on a number of desserts to give them that “special” effect.
    Obrigado, Sally. 😉


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