Brazil is the country with the largest number of Lebanese expats and immigrants, especially the county of Sao Paulo; one of my grandmother’s brothers, Georges, left the family to make a life there as a young man and my grandmother never saw her brother again. Today, his descendants were traced back and cousins are planning a reunion to meet Georges’ grandsons for the first time.
I met a few Brazilians while in Dallas, and they were all totally familiar with Lebanese food; in fact, one of them, Ana, would make her version of tabbouleh every single day to eat for lunch at work.
In Lebanon on the other hand, Brazil is part of the food landscape as most of the meat (beef, veal) is imported from Brazil.
These Brazilian candies are easy to make and fun to eat; one is enough per person as they are rich and sweet. All you need are some fresh grapes, a can of sweetened condensed milk and a touch of butter to make them. Food coloring is optional, (I used green).
INGREDIENTS: 20 candies
- 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tbsp of unsalted butter
- 1 tsp of vanilla
- 3 drops of food color (optional)
- 20 small grapes (washed and dried)
- 1/3 cup of granulated sugar or sprinkles to roll the candies in
- Grease a deep plate with butter and set aside. Pour the condensed milk in a heavy-bottomed medium size saucepan; add the butter and set the heat to medium-low. Using a wooden spoon or a wire whisk, stir the mixture continuously for 10 minutes; it will thicken to where you will be able to see the bottom of the saucepan. At this point, add the food color and vanilla and stir again to combine well. The mixture should be thick and smooth. Pour the mixture into the greased plate and let it cool for 30 minutes.
- Start shaping the candies: Grease your palms with butter; take one grape and a lump of cream the size of a small walnut; enclose the grape in the cream and roll between your palms to shape into a ball. Set it aside. When all the candies are shaped, dip into a bowl of granulated sugar or sprinkles. Set in a serving dish or in individual paper candy cups. Keep refrigerated until serving time.
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