A Brigadeiro is a small Brazilian dessert made mainly with condensed milk, butter and chocolate. Other ingredients normally used in the making of brigadeiros include heavy cream, light cornsyrup, and cocoa powder. In Brazil, It is rare to find a Brazilian citizen who has not tasted or at least heard of the famed treat (Mikles).
During the mid-1900s, Brazil was involved in a war that limited their importation of items such as fruit and nuts, which are common ingredients in many of their desserts (Moskin). At this time, the Nestlé Company had also recently introduced its chocolate powder and condensed milk products, which was gaining vast popularity. The availability and easy access to these products led to the creation of brigadeiros. Brigadeiros emerged at a time when there was a need to replace imported sweets, and Brazilians were looking for simple yet delicious alternatives.
The average batch of brigadeiros yields about 30 single treats. Though they can be seen in nearly every Brazilian bakery, brigadeiros are usually made in the home. It takes roughly 15 minutes for the mixture to be made on the stove, and another hour for it to reach room temperature and settle. The mixture is then rolled into 1-inch sized balls, about that of a golf-ball, and each brigadeiro is placed in its own small, paper, baking cup (Mikles). At this point they can be coated, if desired, and served.
The most commonly seen coating for brigadeiros are chocolate sprinkles. Other coatings include coconut, sugar, and crushed nuts (Todino-Gonguet). It is suggested that they are served at room temperature for the best flavor and texture. The treats can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Even coming from the refrigerator, it is suggested that they be brought back to room temperature before serving (Bars, Brownies and Bites).
Due to the ratio of condensed milk to chocolate, brigadeiros do not have a pronounced chocolate taste, even though they are often described similar to fudge balls. They have a rich dark brown coloring and have a consistency almost like soft caramel. The taste can be more accurately compared to a chocolate flavored caramel candy (Mikles). Brigadeiros can be loosely linked to chocolate truffles, mainly due to their similar size and shape. However, brigadeiros are a little creamier than the former and are often coated with sprinkles rather than cocoa power (Bars, Brownies and Bites).
Many tourists who venture to Brazil seek out the famous treat, and often rave about its simple yet delectable taste, which is unlike anything they have ever had before.
Lexicographer: Rachel Clayton, Tulane University
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Todino-Gonguet, Grace. "A Tasty Melting Pot." Faces: n. pag. MAS Ultra - School Edition. Web. 7 Oct. 2013. <http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?sid=dc2977c5-ce4c-4998-baea-1336d307a06c%40sessionmgr112&vid=1&hid=128&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#db=ulh&AN=36681473>.Photo Credit: