Chocolate and condensed milk—what could be better?
Picture a soft truffle, buttery and smooth. Now imagine that instead of a mixture of chocolate and cream, the chocolate treat was sweetened and thickened with condensed milk. If you you’re suddenly starting to drool, brigadeiros may be right up your alley.
“Brigadeiros are Brazil's national dessert,” Renata Stoica, founder of TinyB Chocolate told me in an email. “A cousin of the truffle, they're round balls—about 1 inch wide—and since they don't have a shell, they're completely soft.” The mixture of chocolate and condensed milk can be filled with more chocolate, coconut cream, or fruit, and are topped with chopped nuts or sprinkles.
Stoica explained brigadeiros became popular in Brazil in the 1950s, when a popular general, Eduardo Gomez, was running for the presidency. “At one point he found himself short on funds to continue to run,” Stoica explained. “His supporters decided to raise funds by inventing a sweet treat that combined two ingredients which everyone adored: chocolate and condensed milk.”
She noted that the name “brigadeiro” came from Gomez’s title, Brigadier General, or "Brigadeiro" in Portuguese. Apparently, the treats were a hit, and helped Gomez raise enough money to continue his bid. Though he didn’t win the election, the chocolates weren’t going anywhere.
Now, brigadeiros will pop up at any manner of Brazilian occasions, Stoica told me: birthdays, family gatherings, parties, and everything in between. Stoica also shared that in college when friends get together, someone will inevitably make brigadeiros, which are “usually shared before the chocolate even cools to be rolled into a ball—people eat it straight out of the pan!” Weddings are also an occasion to fill up on brigadeiros: “The rule of thumb is to serve at least 10 per guest,” said Stoica.
“Like so many Brazilians, I grew up with this treat and even now, after trying so many amazing things, they're still my all-time favorite.” Stoica, who now produces brigadeiros in San Francisco, hopes her US audience will like the treat as much as Brazilians. Judging by ingredients alone, I don’t think that’ll be too hard.