There are so many Lebanese folks who have immigrated to Brazil throughout the ages that I am willing to bet every single family in Lebanon has at least one (close or distant) relative in Brazil. (I do). I find remarkable too that there are more Lebanese in Brazil (and the rest of Latin America) than there are in Lebanon proper. In the Chouf region where we spend our summers, every village store has billboards advertising maté, the Latin-American tea. One can find maté sold in the most remote villages in Lebanon, the custom of drinking maté no doubt brought back to the old country by Lebanese immigrants.
Well, today I was in the mood for a little something sweet: Can’t think of anything faster to make, more luscious, more chocolaty, than brigadeiros.
INGREDIENTS: Quantity will make 25 pieces (minimum)
- 1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces or 395 g.)
- 3 Tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa
- 2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon of liqueur of your choice (optional, I used arak)
- Extra butter to shape the brigadeiros (I used a cookie dough scooper)
- Topping for the brigadeiros: Traditional, chocolate sprinkles or any topping of your choice (I used toasted pecans chopped)
NOTE: You can substitute the cocoa and butter for a good quality dark chocolate (60% cocoa minimum) or use a cocoa mix like Nesquik. If using a cocoa mix, use 1/4 cup (equal to 3 tablespoons) and if using a chocolate bar, use 2 ounces, cut in small pieces.
- Pour the condensed milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan; add the cocoa powder through a sifter and the butter. Place over low heat and start stirring until the mixture is smooth and no trace of cocoa remain. Raise the heat to medium and keep stirring continuously; steam will appear and the milk mixture will get gradually thicker. Keep stirring; when you see that the mixture is so thick that stirring it will leave a mark at the bottom of the saucepan (the metal saucepan bottom will show), it is time to remove from the heat and cool the mixture; add the teaspoon or so of liqueur at this point. It should be very thick.
- Spray a bowl with butter spray and transfer the milk mixture to it. Cool the mixture for about 30 minutes at room temperature. Form small truffles either using your hands (previously greased or buttered) or a cookie dough scooper (what I used). Dip the truffles into a bowl filled with chocolate sprinkles, or coconut, or chopped nuts or whatever you like.
NOTE: Store the candies in the fridge. Be very careful as you are stirring the mixture that it does not burn, regulating the heat to prevent this.
You can also find lots of demos on youtube for brigadeiros.