The first time I made this recipe, I had never eaten a brigadeiro. I had just learned that our family would be moving to Brazil for 4 years, and eager to get into the spirit of it all I researched recipes and decided to make these. They were disappointing: dry, crumbly, too sweet. I couldn't imagine what the fuss was all about. I've now been here 3 years and eaten dozens. Here are my tips:
1. DO NOT OVERCOOK. Combine ingredients, cook over low-ish heat, stir constantly, and turn off the heat the very second the mixture comes together and pulls away from the pan when you tilt it. IMMEDIATELY turn out into a buttered bowl. It will seem undercooked and too liquidy; it's not.
2. Let cool to room temperature before proceeding. Butter your hands, roll and dip into sprinkles. They will be very mushy. The sprinkles and the mini paper cups are in fact what help the brigadeiro retain it's round shape. When you bite into them they should be soft and caramel-y but not chewy. Overcooking by even a minute will ruin them.
3. Sprinkles: chocolate jimmies are the most common here. You can do better. High-end brigadeiro places will roll them in Callebaut dark chocolate flakes for a "meio amargo" (bittersweet) flavor -- see photo of one I made today . Kids love rainbow sprinkles, but use the tiniest little ball ones. Pistachios ground to a powder make an AMAZING brigadeiro. Or serve them poured into mini shot glasses and topped with sprinkles, and serve with a tiny spoon.
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The first time I made this recipe, I had never eaten a brigadeiro. I had just learned that...