Monday, April 2, 2012

Coconut Brigadeiros

I made this recipe immediately after I saw it in the pages of Fine Cooking magazine...but that was three years ago. Since then it's sat in my 'blog posts in the works' archive - just waiting to find it's way here now. Why so long? I can't say really. I guess I was waiting for the right moment - when a recipe like this might fit in with a season, or a theme?
Seeing as I just recently published a post highlighting my son's 10th birthday party and Brigadeiros just happen to be very popular children's birthday party treats in Brazil...I thought now would be a good time.
I'm assuming that many of you are probably unfamiliar with the term, 'Brigadeiros' - and rightfully so, being that they're a Brazilian candy. Basically, they're bite-sized fudgy bonbons made with sweetened condensed milk and are most commonly flavored with powdered chocolate and decorated with chocolate sprinkles. Although less frequently seen, they are also made with coconut milk and shredded coconut, as seen here - or nuts, such as pistachio. Quite like a truffle chocolate here in America - these can be adapted and experimented with, using any number of flavorings or coatings. The texture inside, however, leans much more towards the creamy side than a truffle would.
The recipe itself is very simple and requires only a few ingredients - all of which I happen to commonly have in my pantry. The only area of this recipe I found a bit tricky was cooking the brigadeiro batter. The recipe said it should cook, on medium-low, for about 8 minutes - but when 8 minutes passed, the mixture didn't look near ready. So I cooked it longer, until it reached the consistency described in the recipe - which is thick enough that when you stir it the mixture stays together and you can see the bottom of the pan.
It must have been kismet that I waited so long to bring this recipe out from the closet, because in the time that's passed the recipe author has made a video describing how to make Brigadeiros. Watching it will help you determine when to stop cooking the batter. Note: In the video she's making chocolate brigadeiros, so the ingredients are slightly different - but the cooking method is the same.
Many of the recipes I've seen for coconut brigadeiros call for using unsweetened shredded coconut, just as is. But I love the flavor and slight crunch of toasted coconut - so I opted to toast mine. You can do the same by heating the shredded coconut in a 350 degree oven until golden brown.
Now that this recipe has risen from the archives, I'm eager to try making some using chocolate - especially after watching that video! They would definitely be more popular with my kids than coconut - but these babies were made strictly for my benefit. Enjoy!
If you love coconut as much as I do, you might enjoy these recipes - Coconut Cream-Filled Macaroons | Mango Coconut Milk Smoothie | Key Lime Bar with Toasted Coconut.

Coconut Brigadeiros

Adapted from a recipe by Leticia Moreinos Schwartz from Fine Cooking Magazine, March 2009
Yields about 3 dozen
[printable version]
Brigadeiros are Brazilian fudge candies made from sweetened condensed milk. They are most commonly seen in chocolate flavor, using cocoa powder and chocolate sprinkles and are very popular treats at children's birthday parties - or really any celebration. But I was most intrigued by this recipe for coconut flavored brigadeiros, because I'm a sucker for anything with coconut - especially if it involves coconut milk and toasted coconut.

1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup coconut milk {unsweetened, not light}
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut {divided}

Add the condensed milk, coconut milk, unsalted butter, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup of shredded coconut to a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn the heat down to medium low and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens. This should take about 8-15 minutes depending on the heat of your stove top and the saucepan you're using. You will know the mixture is thick enough when it begins to come together in one uniform mass and you can see the bottom of the saucepan as you're stirring. {Note: Some of the mixture will stick to the bottom edges of the saucepan while it cooks, forming a brownish residue. This is okay.}

Slide the mixture out into a bowl {you don't want to use a spatula here, because any residue in the bottom of the saucepan should stay there}. Let the mixture cool completely and then chill for 3-4 hours.

For the coconut coating - Spread the remaining 1 cup of the shredded coconut out onto a rimmed baking sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to ensure even browning {watch carefully as it toasts - coconut can go from golden brown to burnt quickly!}. Remove from the oven when most of the coconut is golden brown. Place into a bowl and let cool.

To assemble - With a small cookie scoop, or kitchen spoons, scoop the chilled coconut mixture and roll into 3/4" diameter balls. Drop each ball into the shredded coconut and toss gently to coat.
Serve right away at room temperature, or chill until ready to serve. For a smoother, softer texture serve at room temperature. For a firmer, more truffle-like texture serve chilled. It's up to you!

To make ahead - The brigadeiros can be stored in the refrigerator, in an airtight container for up to two weeks.


Joanne said...

I've been on kind of a coconut kick lately and really just can't get enough! I've heard of brigadeiros before but have never tried them or attempted to make them. I think it's time.

Quiqui said...

I absolutely love this post! I'm from Brazil and I know brigadeiros very well. They took a big part on my childhood. My mother used to make them for your birthdays. Now, I started the tradition with my son. I introduced the brigadeiros here in USA to our family last year on my son's first birthday. But I have never had coconut brigadeiros before. I definitely have to try them. Thanks for sharing!

Julia @The Roasted Root said...

South American sweets are some of the best I've tried...don't get me started on the alfajor! I've never heard of a brigadeiro but they look great and simple to make!

Bea said...

Here in Brazil the coconut version of brigadeiro is actually consider a different sweet called Beijinho, which means little kiss. It's also very popular at kid's birthday parties and is my personal favorite. Yours look pretty awesome!

LĂșcia said...

Beautiful Brigadeiros you made (or beijinho, as Bea stated)! It's really present in every birthday party (in my family, even the adults' birthday parties...). We also use brigadeiro (including the coconut ones) to cover and fill birthday cakes, instead of rolling them into balls. It's a hit! Every bakery has their own "brigadeiro cake" - chocolate cake covered and filled with chocolate brigadeiro and covered with chocolate sprinkles...
Once it was a simple thing, but now there are a lot of people specialized in making "gourmet versions" of brigadeiros - caipirinha, lemon, nutella, cocoa instead of powdered chocolate, every kind of nuts - you name a flavour, someone makes it. For weddings, as a gift in fancy boxes, for birthday parties...
I just love love love them!

Dina said...

they sound yummy!

katie said...

Thanks for all the info! I love learning more about these sweet little treats :)
I never realized the coconut flavored ones had their own name - I've only seen them called coconut brigadeiros, but it seems the ingredients for Beijinhos are nearly identical...minus the little clove in the top (which is very cute!).
Thanks for visiting and sharing :)

Laurie {Simply Scratch} said...

I.want.these! That picture with the scoop in the fudge.. OMG. I would find it hard to not stop there to devour the entire bowl! LOVE!~

Union Street Eats said...

done and done - totally making these this weekend!

Anonymous said...

These were a hit at my Argentina Themed dinner. I like my chocolate but the coconut flavor was the best, really.

Unknown said...

Aloha! Thanks for posting this recipe. I adapted it to make a coffee version and GUESS WHAT? The recipe won the Ka'u Coffee Triple C recipe contest in the candy division. I couldn't have done it without you! Check it out here:

Anonymous said...

This has to be one of the most delicious recipes I have tasted. My best friends mother which was Brazilian always made brigadeiros for us while growing up. Since we departed ways as we grew up I was left without any until I found this amazing company called Brigadeiro Palace. They have over 35 flavors I never even though would be possible to create out of brigadeiros. I definitely reccomend anybody that loved this recipe to check them out.

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