Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Trio of: Party Snacks. Brigadeiro (Brazilian Chocolate Caramels)

 ...A rather delightful, but ill-defined confection. Is it a caramel? Is it chocolate? Is it a truffle? Don't trifle yourself with these questions! Just make and enjoy. My camera does not do these little candies justice, they look like little jewels when the light hits them.

I'm also classifying this as an ingredient elimination recipe, with the feature ingredient, sweetened condensed milk. I had a small amount of condensed milk from my sweet potato pecan pie and was looking for something to do with it. I stumbled upon Brigadeiro, first on the blog Las Vegas Food Adventures, but I found the recipe duplicated verbatim many other places, so I don't know who gets credit for it! The original doesn't call for the cocoa to be sifted, nor does it include the salt or liquor. I was so happy with the outcome, that I made a full size batch, then another, and other for a Christmas party I was hosting.

Brigadeiro (makes about 20 candies)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/2 shot liquor of choice (I used peppermint schnapps, vanilla rum, and Irish cream in different batches)
  • pinch salt 
  • butter
  • red or green sugar, or chocolate sprinkles, for coating 
  • mini-candy cups 
1. Combine the condensed milk, cocoa powder, butter, liquor and salt in a heavy bottom saucepan using medium low heat. Initially, stir constantly and vigorously, incorporating the ingredients well.
2. Continue stirring frequently, for about 12 mins, making sure the chocolate doesn't stick or burn. At about the 12 min point, the chocolate should begin to thicken. 
3. Remove from heat, cool (I just put mine out on the porch, it was a cold day). Once cool and easily molded, it's ready to be formed into candies. 
4. Assemble several baking cups. Thoroughly butter your hands to prevent the candy from sticking. Roll into small balls (about 1/2 inch) and roll in the sugar, and place into cups. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. 

Kitchen Notes: Getting these to the right consistency can be tricky. If after you've cooled the chocolate it still cannot form into balls, heat the mixture on the stove for a few more mins until you get the desired consistency. You'll want to use a good quality cocoa powder as there's not much else in this recipe.

Verdict? A very easy, very delightful treat, with a lot of versatility. They have a rich chocolatey flavor and mild caramel flavor. They are smooth but chewy. These little candies are so beautifully festive looking, enjoy!

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