Brigadeiros (Brazilian Fudge Balls)
An iconic Brazilian treat, brigadeiros are easy to make creamy fudge balls, perfect for Christmas or any time of the year you crave fudge.
Aren’t these little gems? Can’t you just picture them on your plate of Christmas cookies? Perfect bites of creamy fudge that just melt in your mouth, covered in a colorful coating of your choice. I’m giving you a heads up, they are dangerously hard to resist!
About this Brigadeiro Recipe:
Pronounced bre-ga-DAY-ro, these fudgy little treats are so easy to make! Brazilian candy traditionally made with sweetened condensed milk, this brigadeiro recipe uses marshmallows instead for a creamy fudge that is easy to prepare. It cooks in less than 10 minutes and is pretty much fool proof. You won’t need a candy thermometer to make this confection.
Butter, marshmallows, sugar, and milk are blended together in a saucepan. It doesn’t take long for the marshmallows to melt into the butter and sugar, making a creamy base. Remove from the heat, add a teaspoon of vanilla, and stir in bittersweet chocolate chunks until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate is completely melted. Does anything smell better than warm melted chocolate? I don’t think so.
This warm mixture is poured into a small cake pan lined with parchment paper to cool. It needs to cool on the counter for 30 minutes, and then in the fridge for at least an hour. The colder the fudge, the easier it is to roll into balls. You can actually refrigerate it a couple of days, tightly wrapped.
When the fudge is good and cold, lift it out of the pan and cut into approximately 60 squares. This isn’t an exact science, but it’s nice if the size of the brigadeiros are relatively uniform. Really, you can make them however big or small you like them.
Tip: Use disposable food safe gloves when you roll the balls. This keeps the fudge from getting really sticky and you stay cleaner, too. Secure the cuffs of the gloves by slipping rubber bands over your wrists.
The rolling process goes pretty quickly. I like to put half the fudge back in the fridge to stay nice and cold while I’m rolling the first half.
Coat the brigadeiros in the topping of your choice. See below for some ideas.
PS: These are very similar to truffles!
History of Brigadeiros:
These chocolate treats have a fascinating history. According to Atlas Obscura, this iconic Brazilian treat was first created as a campaign incentive for Air Force Brigadier Eduardo Gomes, who was running for president of Brazil in 1945. He supported women’s rights, among other things, and was apparently a good looking bachelor. In fact, one of his campaign slogans was “Vote for the brigadier, who’s good looking and single”!
Women supporters, looking for a way to raise money for his campaign, sold chocolate “brigadeiros” at rallies. Traditionally, they are made with sweetened condensed milk, which was widely available and inexpensive.
How to make these Brigadeiros your own:
For this photo, I rolled my brigadeiros in cocoa powder, multi colored sprinkles, and crushed peppermint candies. Other options are:
- nonpareil (white) sprinkles, or any color sprinkles
- finely chopped pistachios for a lovely green color
- toasted walnuts, finely chopped, or another nut of your choosing
- powdered sugar
- ground freeze-dried raspberries (a beautiful pinkish red)
- bright green matcha powder
- To flavor the fudge to complement the coatings, replace the vanilla with ½ teaspoon pure peppermint extract, ¼ teaspoon pure almond extract, or 1 tablespoon raspberry liqueur, such as Framboise.
- For espresso flavor, add 2 teaspoons espresso powder to the sugar when you melt the marshmallows.
Brigadeiros can be stored in the refrigerator for at least 7 days in an air tight container, with parchment or waxed paper between layers. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months.
Wondering how long brigadeiros can sit out on a platter? They are fine for a couple of hours. They will get a little softer.
Other chocolatey recipes:
Who doesn’t love chocolate? Here’s a few more recipes to tempt you:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 cups mini marshmallows, or cut-up regular marshmallows (6 oz)
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup whole milk
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped, or chocolate chips
- Your choice of: pulverized peppermint candies; cocoa powder; powdered sugar; nonpareil sprinkles; colored sprinkles; finely chopped toasted walnuts; finely chopped pistachios; or ground freeze-dried raspberries; matcha powder
- Spray 9x9 pan lightly with cooking spray. Line with 2 pieces of parchment paper crossed over each other, leaving a 1 inch overhang. Spray parchment lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
- Combine butter, marshmallows, sugar, milk, and salt in medium sized saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until marshmallows have melted and mixture is smooth, 6-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in vanilla. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate until melted and completely mixed with marshmallow mixture.
- Pour mixture into prepared pan. Let cool 30 minutes at room temperature, then refrigerate until set, at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
- Grasp the parchment paper on each side, and lift the whole piece of fudge onto a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut the fudge into approximately 60 1 inch squares. Place desired toppings into small bowls. With gloved hands (to prevent fudge from sticking to your hands), roll into balls. Roll in toppings.
- Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container with layers of waxed or parchment paper between each layer.
- Wear disposable food safe gloves to roll the balls.
- To flavor the fudge to complement the coatings, replace the vanilla with ½ teaspoon pure peppermint extract, ¼ teaspoon pure almond extract, or 1 tablespoon raspberry liqueur, such as Framboise. You can also try adding 2 teaspoons espresso powder when you melt the marshmallows (with the sugar).
- adapted from Martha Stewart Living December 2019
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 60 Serving Size: 1 brigadeiros
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 93Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 23mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 2g
Husband’s take: Ben loves these too! He’s a big fan of anything chocolate.
Changes I would make: None are necessary, but there are so many fun twists you could make on these.