Strawberry Brigadeiros

Say it like a native: repeat after me….

I grew up enjoying brigadeiros, probably the most popular food item in Brazilian birthdays and wedding celebrations. They are pretty much mandatory in such occasions. Then, last month we were at my niece Raquel’s home and when it was time for dessert she marched into the dining room with a humongous batch of brigadeiros sent by one of my cousins who could not join us that day. Brigadeiros, home-made with love! Most were the normal, chocolate type, but some were pretty wild, with a bright neon-pink color. “What are these?”  The answer puzzled me: “These are bicho de pé.” A literal translation produces something definitely unappetizing. Bicho de pé is a type of flea-like creature that lives in tropical swamps. Walking barefoot in those places carries a high risk of having those creatures set territory in the delicate flesh between your toes. They happen to look a lot like strawberry seeds, therefore the name. With this explanation, I just proved to you that Brazilians have a twisted sense of humor… At any rate, I rather go with  “strawberry brigadeiros.”  They are addictive. It’s hard for me to decide if they are better than the traditional ones, but… they put up a decent fight for first prize.  Easy to make and even easier to wolf down.  You’ve been warned!

Strawberry Brigadeiros2

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

makes about 35 brigadeiros

2 cans of sweetened, condensed milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 package of strawberry gelatin
1 tablespoon of strawberry liquor (optional)
pink granulated sugar, or other coating of your choice

Add the condensed milk and butter to a saucepan, preferably non-stick. Cook over medium-low heat until the butter melts. Add the strawberry gelatin and the strawberry liquor, if using.

Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and starts to release from the bottom of the pan.  Keep it in low to medium-low heat, and stir often so that it doesn’t burn at the bottom of the pan.  When it is thick, remove from heat and dump it over a half-sheet pan to cool faster. You can also simply transfer to a bowl and stick it in the fridge.

Pour about half a cup of granulated sugar on a small bowl. Reserve. When the brigadeiro mixture is cool, form little balls with a teaspoon, and roll on the palm of  your hand. If you wet your hands with cold water it is easier to roll, and also helps the granulated sugar to adhere.  Roll each ball on granulated sugar, and place in little paper cups.

Set the brigadeiros on a platter, and…


to print the recipe, click here

PicMonkey Collage

Comments: Wanna try to guess how to say Bicho de Pe’? Hint: the “CH” in Portuguese has a sound of “SH.”  (try it then click on the sound file below to see how well you did)

Bicho de pé
is actually a registered trademark for these adorable candies. They were first made in a patisserie called “Amor aos Pedaços” (Love by the Slice) that opened in São Paulo back in 1982.  The person behind the store, Ivani Calarezi, made beautiful gourmet cakes and pies, and her customers could choose one, grab a slice (or several), and go. It was a huge hit. Today Amor aos Pedaços is a chain with 50 stores all over the country. From what I’m told, the quality is not compromised. Apparently Bicho de Pé was available since its opening, so it’s a bit surprising that I had never seen one until now. Better late than never!  I got the recipe from my cousin Yvone and made it right away after coming back home. A Halloween party was the perfect occasion…  Everyone loved them!

They are a little tangy, a little sweet, plenty delicious… You can use different gelatin flavors, raspberry, blueberry, to have a slightly different color and taste. You can coat with chocolate sprinkles or make a mixed batch with different coatings, whatever you decide to do, I know these will be a huge success. Kids will go crazy for them, adults will try to act with restraint. HA! Wish them luck with that… Everyone turns into a kid around a batch of brigadeiros



We freeze well too! Make a big batch, stick us in the freezer,
and we’ll be ready to party whenever you are…

ONE YEAR AGO: Pan-charred Veggies from Cooking Light

TWO YEARS AGO: Artichoke-Saffron Souffle

THREE YEARS AGO: Cinnamon-Wreath

FOUR YEARS AGO:  Yeastspotting 11.11.11
FIVE YEARS AGO: Oven-baked Risotto


      • Oh thanks to above! Maureen, if you had a problem pronouncing this can you possibly, just possibly imagine what it was like for a ‘New Australian’ gal barely into her teens to try and pronounce ‘proper English’ way back on arrival to good old Oz? Red faces most of the time most of the day tho’ the words were known 🙂 ! l!!!! Tho’ I have ne’er been to South America, this is a breeze in comparison, but so delightful to see you tried . . .and prob succeeded . . .:) !


  1. Making all different varieties would be an excellent choice for gift giving. Is it possible to chill too long, as in overnight? Also in the chocolate version you don’t specifically list it as sweetened condensed milk but no other sugar added. Can I assume it is the sweetened version too?


    • You can chill overnight – the first ones will be tough to scoop out and roll, but as they warm up it will be easier.

      And yes, it is sweetened condensed milk for all kinds of brigadeiros…. hope you try it!


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