Brazil's Brigadeiro: A beloved dessert and national icon
In Brazil, men and women of all ages, colours, and religions unite for their love for brigadeiro. Brigadeiro (also known as negrinho in the south of Brazil) is made of condensed milk, butter, cocoa powder and usually has rainbow or chocolate sprinkles on top.
The brigadeiro became an alternative to the truffle when Brazilians discovered they could replace whipped cream with condensed milk.
According to Gastronomia, the brigadeiro was born in 1920. However, another version says it was created after World War II as it was difficult to obtain fresh milk, eggs, almonds, and sugar.
For this reason, Brazilians tried mixing chocolate with condensed milk. ABC reports that the brigadeiro is a memorial to Eduardo Gomes, brigadier of Brazil’s air force and candidate for the presidency with the National Democratic Union in 1940.
Gomes’ campaign slogan was “Vote a Gomes que es bonito y soltero“, which means “Vote for Gomes, who is beautiful and single.”
There are rumours that a woman from Minas Gerais (an estate located in the Southeast of Brazil) was the first person to make brigadeiros for Gomes, and these treats became widely known for becoming his favourite dessert.
On the other side, some people say that the Brigadier didn’t like the tribute, so every time he would attend a party, his crew would confiscate the brigadeiros before he arrived.
Women who supported Gomes’ prepared brigadeiros and sold them to raise funds for his campaign. They called them docinhos de brigadeiros (brigadier sweets) but with time, they were named only brigadeiros.
Gomes’ patented the sweet, and despite the fame, he lost the election to general Eurico Gaspar Dutra, who became the 16th president of Brazil.
Types of Brigadeiros
As previously mentioned, a brigadeiro is made of condensed milk, cocoa powder, and butter, but Brazilian creativity has led to newer versions.
The coconut version of brigadeiro is named beijinho (little kisses). Beijinho follows the same preparation process and the same ingredients as the brigadeiro, except that the cacao powder is replaced by shredded coconut.
What differentiates gourmet brigadeiros from regular ones is the higher quality of the ingredients. Gourmet brigadeiros are also more sophisticated as they have pistachios, almonds, and hazelnuts instead of sprinkles. They also come in elegant presentations and are served with cups, jars, small pots, tubes, spoons, and small boxes similar to jewelry boxes.
Brigadeiro boutiques often offer over 50 flavours that go from the original recipe that only needs powdered chocolate to a more exotic recipe that includes dry foods, fruits, alcoholic beverages, Belgium chocolate, white chocolate, among other ingredients.
Brigadeiros in Calgary
Lady Ant Chocolate Corporation is an online shop in the city that serves regular and gourmet brigadeiros. According to its website, owner Luciane Milhoretto Porto moved to Canada five years ago and has several years of baking experience in the Brazilian market. Lady Ant offers gourmet brigadeiros with flavours such as milk chocolate, brazilian churros, and dulce de leche.
This shop also serves brigadeiro cake or cakes filled with brigadeiro, a true Brazilian dream.
Brigadeiros are an easy dessert to prepare, that's why you can find them at most Brazilian parties. If you would like to make your own brigadeiros, there is good news for you: they’re super easy to prepare.
Here’s the recipe that makes 10 brigadeiros!
1. A can of condensed milk (400 ml)
2. Butter ( 30 gr)
3. Cocoa powder (20 gr)
Rainbow or chocolate sprinkles (put them on a plate)
In a small or medium pot, add the condensed milk, 30 gr of butter and the 20 gr of cocoa powder.
At medium heat, mix the ingredients for 10 to 12 minutes until they begin to detach from the bottom of the pot.
Remove the mix from the pot and put it on a deep plate. Then, put the mix in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes.
After the brigadeiro mix has cooled down, take a piece of the mix and start making small balls to later move them into the plate with the sprinkles to cover them.
Put on mini paper cups and serve.