My friend Peter, who runs a pousada in Brazil, recently passed through New England on one of those whirlwind, must-see-everyone visits that are always, always, always too short. We had a very small window in which to get together, and I planned to surprise him with brigadeiros, a traditional Brazilian chocolate truffle-like treat. Unfortunately, Peter and I missed each other on this visit, but the urge to make brigadeiros stayed with me. Named for Brigadier Eduardo Gomes, who ran for president of Brazil in 1922, these sweets were made by adoring female supporters, and sold to raise money for his campaign. The brigadier lost, but the chocolatey caramel bonbons endured. I used Ghirardelli sweetened ground chocolate, which more closely resembles the cocoa powder you'd find in Brazil; if you don't have any sweetened cocoa powder, try powdered hot chocolate mix. The chocolate sprinkles are traditional, but I couldn't resist the multi-colored ones. I'm sure the brigadier would have loved them.
Brigadeiros (Brazilian chocolate truffles)
Adapted from this recipe on About.com. Makes 14 1-1/4 inch bonbons.
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
4 Tbsp cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli ground chocolate; you can also use Nesquick.)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3 Tbsp butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Chocolate and/or multicolored sprinkles for decoration
Pour the condensed milk into a heavy straight-sided, deep 2-quart sauce pan. Stir in the cocoa powder and salt.
Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat. Keep the mixture barely at a boil to prevent burning and sticking.
Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring, until mixture becomes very thick and shiny and starts to pull away from the bottom and sides of the pan.
Remove from heat and vigorougly stir in the butter and the vanilla, until the mixture is smooth and all of the ingredients are incorporated.
Chill in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes. With buttered hands, roll the mixture into 1-1/4-inch balls, or use a cookie scoop with a quick release (called a disher).
Roll each ball in the sprinkles, pressing lightly to ensure that the sprinkles adhere, and place in a paper liner.
Chill until ready to serve. Can be made hours, or even days, ahead.
More sweet treats:
Dulce de leche milhojas, from The Perfect Pantry
Chocolate-mango-kiwi wontons, from The Perfect Pantry
Mom's peanut butter fudge, from Food Blogga
(Sort of) Brazilian sweetened condensed milk strawberry limeade, from La Fuji Mama
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