BRIGADEIROS FOR THE FOURTH OF JULY

Brazil meets USA, big time! A traditional Brazilian delicacy dresses up in American colors for one of the biggest holidays celebrated here, Independence Day. We were invited for dinner and fireworks over at a friend’s home, and on a last-minute move, I prepared these babies to take with us. They are a departure of the classic Brazilian brigadeiros, made with cocoa powder. In this case, I flavored them with a touch of coconut extract, but probably should have added more than I did, the flavor was barely noticeable.


PATRIOTIC BRIGADEIROS
(from Easy and Delish)

2 (14-oz) cans sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or substitute 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract)
food coloring (Red and Blue)
red/white/blue sprinkles (optional)
white chocolate ganache to drizzle (optional)

Combine sweetened condensed milk with unsalted butter in a wide, no stick pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until smooth.
Mixture is ready when it thickens and starts to peel away or show the bottom of the pan when you scrape it with your wood spoon (about 10-15 minutes). The fudge mixture should be thick enough to reveal the bottom of the pan for a couple of seconds before the mixture levels out again.
When the fudge mixture is ready, remove from the stove top and stir in the vanilla or coconut extract. Next, spread 1/3 of the mixture in the center of a half-sheet pan coated with a little butter so that it won’t stick. 
Place another 1/3 of the mixture in a bowl and stir in  blue food coloring.  Place the remaining 1/3 of the fudge mixture in another bowl and stir in red food coloring. Transfer both the blue and red mixtures to the greased baking sheet, spreading them around side by side. Allow to cool completely.
Using a tablespoon as measurement, scoop out one spoon of the white/red/blue mixture (starting from the center to the edge of the plate) and with greased hands, roll out into balls. Place each little ball into a small paper liner  and decorate the way you want.  They can be kept in the fridge until serving time. 
ENJOY!
to print the recipe, click here

Comments: If you’ve never made traditional brigadeiros, or worse yet – have not even heard about them, please read my old blog post to fix this major gap in your culinary knowledge. It’s important. It was really fun to make these, I advise you to use two cans of condensed milk, so that you have enough to play with. With this amount, I made 26 brigadeiros. They are rich and sweet, so one or two is all you’ll need. But they bring me so many nice memories of my home country, I usually have a bit of a hard time stopping at two. So I accept my weakness, and move on. And jog on. Weight lift on. Kickbox on… you get the picture… damage control.

You can definitely use different colors to celebrate your favorite team, your school, your mood. Halloween Black and Orange brigadeiros might be the rage this year (wink, wink).

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PUMPKIN BRIGADEIROS

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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

PUMPKIN BRIGADEIROS
(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.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

prep

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

RIDICULOUSLY GOOD COCONUT BRIGADEIROS

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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.

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COCONUT BRIGADEIROS
(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.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

toasted

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

BRIGADEIROS: A Brazilian Party!

It’s time for a virtual visit to Brazil.  Brigadeiros are a mandatory sweet delicacy at children’s parties, especially birthday parties, but they’ll put a smile on  folks of all ages, at any celebration.   At a typical Brazilian birthday party hundreds of brigadeiros surround a beautiful cake in the center of a huge table.   Tropical Miss Manners states that brigadeiros should be enjoyed AFTER the cake, and until then they’re part of the party decor, but by age 5 each Brazilian has already developed his or her unique style of discreetly stealing a few. My Dad – whom I’ve already praised  for his expert kitchen thievery  (in stealing pasteis )  – used to  slowly circle the table while pulling  his white handkerchief from his pants as if to anticipate a sneeze. With a quick but quite elegant move, two or three brigadeiros disappeared into the handkerchief, adeptly pocketed for his later enjoyment while he was away from the other guests.

Remembering these little gems, it’s not surprising  that we all had a difficulty waiting for the candles to be blown.

BRIGADEIROS
(traditional Brazilian recipe)

1 can of condensed milk (for instance, Carnation brand)
1 + 1/2 T butter
1 + 1/2 T cocoa powder, sifted
pinch of cinnamon
chocolate sprinkles (enough for coating all brigadeiros)

Place all ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan (preferably enamel coated, but not absolutely necessary). Cook in medium heat until the butter melts, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring, until the mixture starts to pull out of the bottom of the pan. It should take between 10 and 17 minutes. If the mixture starts to boil too furiously, reduce the heat or remove the pan from the burner for a minute or so, always stirring.

Allow it to cool until you can handle it. It is OK to put it in the refrigerator to speed up the process.

Place the chocolate sprinkles in a shallow dish. Have a small dish with cold water to dip your fingers and moisten the palm of your hands. Using a teaspoon, grab portions of the cool chocolate mixture and roll into balls. Immediately roll them in chocolate sprinkles and place in a small paper cup.

Makes 24 brigadeiros.   Scale up the recipe for large gatherings.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Rolling brigadeiros kicks off the party. Usually a bunch of women sit together at a table working in factory-like style. When I was a young child, I recall feeling  jealous of my sisters, because being older than me, they were allowed to “enrolar brigadeiros,” whereas my job was to painfully open and prepare the little paper cups.  It seemed so unfair!   But, they were democratic as far as eating the misshapen ones:  I always had my share when all was said and done… or should I say “when all were rolled and done?” ;-).  As you may have already gleaned from the recipe, brigadeiros are not just about chocolate.  The sweetness and smoothness of the condensed milk cooks down into a retro, fudgy texture that you won’t forget!

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ONE YEAR AGO: Lemony Asparagus

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