I have a confession – I’m not really a “dessert” person. Don’t get me wrong, I love a bite of something sweet after the end of a great meal or when we go out to dinner, but I’m usually fine with just a bite. Now give me a bowl of Chips and Salsa with a side of Queso, and I will go to town! Sweets…not so much…UNLESS, it’s one of my favorites. THIS dessert just happens to be one of my favorites…sort of… :o)
Growing up with Brazilian parents, our desserts where a little…ok, a LOT different than the desserts my friends had in their homes. While they were eating apple pie, chocolate chip cookies and ice-cream cake, we DeMelo’s were eating Bolo de Rolo (looks like a pumpkin roll, only made with a light yellow cake and filled with guava paste then rolled in sugar), Canjica (like rice pudding on crack) and Brigadeiro…hmmm, how do I describe this one? Like a mix between a caramel and a truffle…with a touch a tootsie roll LOL. It’s hard to describe, but just I love it! It’s probably one of the most popular desserts in Brazil, and one you’ll see at every child’s birthday party.
I have SO many memories of my mom, my sisters, grandmother, aunts and cousins all sitting around the table making just a TON of these, and so many other little treats. I have so many great memories around these little chocolate jewels, and maybe that’s part of why I love them so much.
My sister, Sheyla, always mixing things up in the kitchen, decided to combine two of her favorites: brownies and brigadeiro, and let me tell you, match made in heaven! If you’re looking for something new to put out on the dessert table this holiday season, give this one a try. I hope you love it as much as we do!
I broke this one up in two steps – the actual brownie and then the brigadeiro filling. You’ll need a box of your favorite brownie mix, and whatever else it calls for on the back of the box. In my case it was oil, eggs and water.
Next for the brigadeiro you’ll need good ole’ fashioned Nestle Quick Chocolate Powder (do NOT get all fancy and start buying Dutch cocoa etc…trust me on this and just get the Nestle Quick), Sweetened Condensed Milk, a touch of unsalted Butter and some Chocolate Sprinkles.
Get some helpers and then just follow the instructions on the back of the box of brownies, the only difference being that you’re going to use mini muffin tins and only bake for about 15 mins. Start checking it with a toothpick at the 10 min mark, and once it comes out clean, it’s done. I used my convection setting, and they were perfect in about 15 minutes.
Make sure to spray the pan wells with non-stick cooking spray. I used about a TBS measuring scoop for the batter, which left me with 4 empty wells. Make sure you add a little bit of water to each well so that the PAM you sprayed doesn’t scorch in the tins while it’s baking.
Once they come out of the oven, let them cool for a few minutes…
…then using the back of a spoon or small glass (shot glass works great here), push down in the center of each brownie to make some space for the brigadeiro mixture.
Then remove the brownie bites and place on a cooling rack or dish so they can finish cooling completely.
***NOTE: Do NOT make the brigadeiro mixture first!!! Wait until AFTER the brownies come out of the oven. Why you ask? Simple, this is a type of caramel, and if you’ve ever worked with caramel/candy, you know the longer it sits, the thicker and harder it gets. If it gets too hard, you won’t be able to “pour” the brigadeiro mix into the brownies.
For the Brigadeiro caramel, it doesn’t get any easier than this method!!! In a microwave safe bowl (use one that’s deeper than you think you’ll need since the caramel will tend to bubble up in the microwave and you don’t want it to run over and make a mess), add the Nestle Quick and can of Sweetened Condensed Milk, and stir well to combine.
Put the dish in the microwave, and microwave for ONE (1) minute, and then add the butter…
Once you add the butter, stir until the butter is melted, then put back in the microwave and this time, it will go in for TWO (2) minutes, then with a whisk, give it another few good stirs…
Then BACK into the microwave again for ONE AND A HALF (1 ½) minutes and immediately take out of the microwave, and with your whisk, stir the heck out of if to stop it from cooking. As it cools, it will start to thicken. Once it looks like this when you…
…pull your spoon down the middle, it’s ready! It will continue to thicken as it sits, so you want to spoon out the mixture and pour into the center of the brownies while it’s still gooey and pourable.
I used about ½ to 1 TBS in each brownie, then topped with some of the chocolate sprinkles.
Fudgy, sticky, gooey and OH SO GOOD!!!
Now what do you do with the rest of the mixture?! You make (my personal favorite) Brigadeiro’s! Just pour the rest of the mixture onto a plate, and spread it to make one layer and let it cool for another 10 minutes or so.
Pour some of the chocolate sprinkles into a bowl and set aside.
Once it’s cooled enough to start rolling out, you want to take a smear of butter onto your hands…
…and rub in so they are shiny, but not sticky. If you use too much butter, it tends to get a little messy. Don’t skip this part, if you don’t use butter on your hands, they will stick like crazy and won’t roll.
Scrape some of the brigadeiro mix from the outside edges then lightly roll into a ball.
Drop the ball into the sprinkles, and roll around to coat.
See, nothing stuck to my hand! The trick is to take from the outside of the dish, which will be the most firm, and just keep working around the dish, making your way to the middle. If you start at the center, it will still be warm and too sticky to work with.
Now just repeat the process until you’ve used up all of the yummy Brigadeiro filling and enjoy!!! I like putting them in cute little wrappers that look like tiny cupcake wrappers.
Sheyla’s Brigadeiro Brownies
* A box of your favorite brownie mix and all the ingredients it calls for on the back of the box. I like using Ghiardelli brownie mix.
* 1 can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
* 1/3 TBS (‘pad’) of butter (keep the other 2/3 of the TBS of butter to use on your hands)
* 6 TBS Nestle Quick Chocolate Powder
Add butter, stir until melted
2 more minutes…whisk, whisk, whisk
1 ½ more minutes and then remove from microwave and immediately start whisking to stop the cooking and to help thicken it. See above for more detailed directions :o)