These sweets made with condensed milk and chocolate belong to that marvelous category of Brazilian "docinhos." They are perpetual favorites with children and adults alike. I don't think I've ever seen a Brazilian birthday party without them and they are a huge success with Americans, too.
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 stick of butter or margarine (you can use only 1 Tbsp and it will still work out)
2 heaping Tbsp of Nestlé Quick or 1 Tbsp of Quick and 1 of Hershey's Cocoa. I actually even use Suchard breakfast chocolate when I can get it from Switzerland.
In a heavy saucepan mix chocolate with condensed milk and add the margarine. Cook in low heat stirring constantly until you can see the bottom of the pan. Continue to stir for another two minutes. Pour onto a plate and let cool completely before you form the little balls (I usually leave it in the cupboard until next day). Butter your hands slightly to form the little balls. Roll the balls in chocolate powder or jimmies and put them in small paper cups.
If you make them really small, you can serve them with coffee, right on the saucer next to the cup. It looks very chic! If you cook the mixture a little less, you can serve "Spooned Brigadeiros" in small, decorative cups with tiny spoons (see photos at the top of this page; courtesy of Margaret and Nanda Carino of Doce Mistura in Rio). These two new ways of serving brigadeiros are all the rage in Rio right now.
Now, the name. Don't ask me why, but they were named after Brigadeiro Eduardo Gomes, a very famous Air Force commander from the forties. Actually, a considerable number of Brazilian desserts are named after a famous personality; one that comes to mind is Martha Rocha Torte, named after the beauty from Bahia who was Miss Brazil sometime in the fifties. Here's a video where you can watch little kids making brigadeiros in London, of all places...but, hey, why not?
A little cultural note: Have you noticed how many Brazilian recipes are made with condensed milk? It came to Brazil from Switzerland over a hundred years ago. It's made by Nestlé and because the label featured the picture of a milkmaid, the cans became known as the "maid milk' and that's what condensed milk is called to this day (Leite Moça).
Brigadeiros are also known as Negrinhos in Rio Grande do Sul.
Check out our Docinhos page and others for more pictures and recipes.
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