Brigadeiros are the perfect chocolate confection to add to your holiday cookie tins

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These chocolate truffles can be topped with anything from chopped hazelnuts to shredded coconut, or traditional chocolate sprinkles.

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Truffles, fudge, buckeyes… I have tried them all. I love a small piece of chocolate or three. This drive for finger-food treats led me to the brigadeiro.

What is a Brigadeiro?

In 1945, Eduardo Gomes, a Brigadeiro ran for president in Brazil. His campaign slogan “Vote for Brigadeiro, he is handsome and single” was the siren call among Brazilian women who campaigned for Gomes in the first Brazilian national election after they won the right to vote. To raise funds for his campaign, Lavish parties were created. A signature sweet was the brigadeiro.

They used condensed milk, cocoa powder and butter to make the treat.

Paula DaSilva is the director of culinary and beverages at the restaurant. Ritz-Carlton in Fort Lauderdale, Florida remembers brigadeiros as staples growing up in Brazil. “They were on every table at every party or holiday. They were even tried by my sister and myself a few more times. She loves to make sweets, whereas I prefer the savory,” DaSilva said.

How To Make Brigadeiros

Brigadeiro is one the easiest chocolate desserts you can make. There are only six ingredients and no oven. You can add any toppings, from chopped hazelnuts, shredded coconut, or crushed red hots. However, the best topping is the classic one, which I love. These are not made with vegetable oils, but high quality chocolate sprinkles.

Chef chocolatière and Callebaut ambassador in Brazil, Renata Arassiro gave some insight into the current recipe: “A few years ago Brazilians re-interpreted this treat adding a high-quality, traditional Belgium chocolate in the recipe instead of cocoa powder, and rolling them in real chocolate sprinkles. It raised the status of this confection to Gourmet Brigadeiro.”

DaSilva cautions though, “They are much like making risotto; you can’t leave them unattended. To prevent it from sticking to the bottom or burning, you need to constantly stir and mix. Once the mixture is thickened, you can quickly roll it. You want the mixture to cool just enough for you to handle it. However, too much cooling will cause it not be easy to roll perfectly formed balls. Get ready to heat it up! Place them in little cups and roll them in the chocolate sprinkles. They are a decadent bite of sweet and rich chocolate with chocolate sprinkles that are eaten way faster than they take to make.”

:Get the Recipe: Brigadeiros

I replaced my traditional fudge With brigadeiros holiday cookie tins These sweets are made for family and friends, and they have become my most popular sweet. It’s best if making a large batch to make the fudge the week before. Fudge will keep for seven days in the fridge.

After you roll them and top them, they will last five days in an airtight container. They can be frozen for up to one month. I prefer to make them a few days ahead and then distribute the holiday cookie containers to ease the stress of baking.

I’ve also included these in my annual children’s holiday cookie decorating party. It’s fun (and a little messy) to let the kids roll and top the pre-made fudge into brigadeiros. Be careful though—it’s like strawberry picking; they eat more than they put in the baskets.

“I have such good memories of my mom preparing brigadeiros for my birthday parties—me and my three sisters seated around the table watching every movement. The best part was when we scraped the pan with spoons! That’s a wonderful taste memory, a simple bite or scent of chocolate transports me right back there,” Arassiro said.

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