Brigadeiro – Brazilian BonBons

Brigadeiro | She Paused 4 Thought

When I was in Rio de Janeiro I fell in love with Brigadeiros. A Brigadeiro {Bree-gah-day-roo} is a caramel fudge-like truffle. It is a popular candy in Brazil that is served as a dessert and most birthday parties. One bite of this soft and chewy deliciousness, and I knew I had to make them.

My first taste wasn’t at a party or a restaurant, but at a school in the favelas (slums) of Brazil. Read my post about the Favelas of Rio here.

As part of a favela tour, we were taken to Para Ti, a local school in Vila Canoas which was founded by an Italian family living in Brazil, and operates mainly through volunteers and donations.

Favelas| She Paused 4 Thought

As teaching is primarily by volunteers the children learn anything from math, reading and writing to music, handicrafts and cooking, depending on the volunteer’s particular skills.

Favelas in Rio de Janeiro| She Paused 4 Thought

This is the bar at the school, run by volunteers and set up for tour participants. Who wouldn’t want to partake of something delightful here, bar where the service came with a generous smile?

Favelas in Rio de Janeiro| She Paused 4 Thought

I bought several Brigadeiros at Para Ti, where they are sold for a little over a dollar. I vowed to stay there until someone taught me how to make them. No one would then, but they assured me I wouldn’t have any trouble so I continued with the tour, savoring every bite of my new found infatuation as I went.

I appreciated that our tour of the favelas helps fund the school with a percentage of the tour’s revenue. We were also able to buy things to support the school, all while raising awareness of life in the favelas. What an enriching experience it was.

Today’s Recipe:

When I returned home I scoured the library for Brazilian cookbooks. I found quite a few and soon realized that every recipe was the same. I guess some recipes are so perfect there isn’t need for variation.

Brigadeiro is just 4 simple ingredients; sweet condensed milk, cocoa powder, butter and chocolate sprinkles.

Brigadeiro | She Paused 4 Thought

I am all for traditional recipes, but I am not happy until I have added my own spin. I decided to also try Organic Cocoa Nibs from Melissa’s Produce, which I thought tasted better than sprinkles.

Brigadeiro | She Paused 4 Thought

I learned the secret to mixing the cocoa powder into the condensed milk is to mix the cocoa with water first.

Brigadeiro | She Paused 4 Thought

A non-stick pan is essential. After stirring it for 15-25 minutes it will need to be refrigerated for 30 minutes before you roll them by hand.

Brigadeiro | She Paused 4 Thought

One bite and I think you will want to make these over and over again.

Brigadeiro | She Paused 4 Thought

4.0 from 1 reviews
Brigadeiro - Brazilian BonBons
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Brazilian
Candy making doesn't get easier than this. These soft and chewy chocolate caramel bonbons are sure to be a hit with your family.
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa (some recipes call for up to 4 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (I use Kerrygold)
  • Chocolate sprinkles / Organic Cocoa Nibs
  1. Oil an 8-inch pie dish or a plate with butter and set aside.
  2. Place 1 tablespoon of water per tablespoons of cocoa powder used in a small and slowly whisk in the cocoa powder to make a paste, which this will allow the cocoa powder to blend more easily with the condensed milk.
  3. In a nonstick heavy pan, melt the butter, then add the condensed milk and the cocoa mixture, stirring constantly with wooden spoon until it boils. Reduce the heat to medium-low; cook 10 to 15 minutes, continue stirring constantly, until mixture is thick and shiny and starts to pull away from bottom and side of saucepan when the pan is tilted.
  4. NOTE: You will know it is done when you scoop some Brigadereio mixture up with the wooden spoon and turn the spoon upside down, and it holds there for an instant before falling back into the pan.
  5. Pour mixture into pie dish; refrigerate until it is firm, about 30 minutes.
  6. Place sprinkles and/or cocoa nibs in separate small bowls. Lightly rub your hands with butter and roll about a teaspoon of Brigadiero between your palms to form 1- ½-inch balls. Roll the balls in the chocolate sprinkles to cover it completely. Place in mini paper baking cups.
  7. Store tightly covered at room temperature up to 2 days or in the refrigerator up to 1 week. Also can be frozen for 30 days. Makes 15-20 Brigadeiros.

These candies also captured the heart of Haagen-Dazs with a new flavor that came out this year called Tres Leches Brigadeiro.

I believe that once you try them, they will capture your heart as well.
…and then, she paused for thought.

I leave you with a final slice of life in the favelas as seen from Para Ti School.

Favelas in Rio de Janeiro| She Paused 4 Thought

About Cathy Arkle

Cathy Arkle is a food blogger, culinary explorer, graphic artist, and cooking class junkie. Her inspirations come from her travels across the globe (50 countries) in the last 20+ years partaking in various ethnic cuisines while working as a graphic artist for major networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX & ESPN). She has collected a few Emmys in the field of graphic design for sports & entertainment. Cathy is also a graduate of the Pro Chef courses at The New School of Cooking in Culver City, CA

, , , , , , , , , ,

36 Responses to Brigadeiro – Brazilian BonBons

  1. Maggie Zeibak April 18, 2015 at 10:35 am #

    Making my mouth water! Try Droste chocolate powder for an even richer taste.

  2. Leslie Macchiarella April 18, 2015 at 2:02 pm #

    What a powerful little school in the favelas. Thank you for sharing your always fascinating travels. My lesson plan for today includes the 3 B’s for Brazilian Brigadeiro BonBons. Or is that 4 B’s? 😉

  3. Cathy Arkle April 18, 2015 at 2:08 pm #

    LOL Leslie! 4 ingredients you probably have in your pantry just waiting for you to combine them. 🙂

  4. Julie April 18, 2015 at 2:13 pm #

    Yum~ fun~adventurous and chocolate is GOOD for you right??? Thanks Cathy! One of those and a cup of Brazilian coffee ought to kick one right out of any afternoon energy slump! I vote for the cocoa nibs, can’t wait to try! love, cousin julie

    • Cathy Arkle April 18, 2015 at 7:48 pm #

      You have the right idea Julie! I know you will like these!

  5. Rona Lewis April 18, 2015 at 6:07 pm #

    I’m in sugar shock already….

    • Cathy Arkle April 18, 2015 at 7:47 pm #

      LOL Rona, you don’t eat all of them at once… well at least you try not to.

  6. Pamela Damato April 19, 2015 at 4:08 am #

    Can’t wait to try one!!! BTW…love the photo with the cat in it!!!!! Classic!! 🙂

    • Cathy Arkle April 19, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

      I will make you some next time you are over. Kai will love these.

  7. Christina @ Christina's Cucina April 20, 2015 at 7:47 pm #

    Absolutely need to make these now! I bought Barry cocoa at Epicure Imports (super dark French cocoa powder). How can I not?!

    • Cathy Arkle April 20, 2015 at 8:10 pm #

      Oh Christina that would be perfect! Let me know how it goes.

  8. Simone April 20, 2015 at 11:53 pm #

    O those look lovely! We had a treat very similar when growing up. I had totally forgotten about it until seeing these… I’m gonna try and find a recipe for that too!

    • Cathy Arkle April 21, 2015 at 9:21 am #

      Simone I would love to try any variation of this recipe. I do hope you blog about it as I find it a fascinating treat.

  9. sippitysup April 22, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

    The nibs were inspired. I’m stealing this recipe. GREG

    • Cathy Arkle April 23, 2015 at 11:32 am #

      Greg, this recipe is worthy of stealing. I should know. LOL

  10. myimpkitchen April 25, 2015 at 7:21 am #

    Ohhhhh! I’ll take a dozen, thank you! 😉

    • Cathy Arkle April 25, 2015 at 12:52 pm #

      Thanks Sara, they are that good. 🙂

  11. nusrat2010 April 28, 2015 at 5:18 am #

    Thank you for picking up the vibrance and happy hues from Rio and sharing it with us. Such a fascinating post! And those sweet balls! Bless your recipes! Always inspiring, simple yet splendid! Hugs.

  12. ShePaused4Thought April 28, 2015 at 7:43 am #

    So happy you enjoyed it.

  13. CHERI NEWELL April 28, 2015 at 5:50 pm #

    What a colorful place… literally! If I ate one of these concoctions I would never stop… so I will just look at the beautiful pictures! My blood sugar will thank me only to look!

    • ShePaused4Thought April 29, 2015 at 5:10 pm #

      LOL Cheri, yes, these treats are not blood sugar friendly… and they are addicting. 🙂

  14. Lentil Breakdown April 30, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

    I’m glad to see your spin included butter instead of the margarine that was on that sign. And I “liked” your last photo on Flicker before I saw this post. It was one of my faves, too!

  15. Cathy Arkle April 30, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

    I totally missed the margarine ingredient. It always amazes me people still use it.

  16. lynne @ cookandbemerry May 1, 2015 at 7:25 pm #

    Whoa, those look so rich and mouth-watering. I’m imagining them melting as I chew those chocolate nibs on the outside. Lovely!

    • Cathy Arkle May 4, 2015 at 12:43 pm #

      Thanks Lynne! They do melt in your mouth… now if they would only melt off your hips. 🙂

  17. Natalie May 11, 2015 at 5:57 pm #

    These sound absolutely amazing!!

    • Cathy Arkle May 11, 2015 at 8:17 pm #

      Natalie, they are. I know you would love them. 🙂

  18. Coco in the Kitchen May 12, 2015 at 2:05 pm #

    These are such a treat, like South American truffles!
    I will need to make some very soon.

    • Cathy Arkle May 12, 2015 at 7:53 pm #

      They are such a treat. The trick is not to eat too many of them. Enjoy!

  19. Tricia Aufiere-Smith January 17, 2017 at 10:03 pm #

    I am American but grew up with these for my birthday every year (for or with breakfast) I started making them for my son who will be 10 in February and I find the simple 4 ingredient recipe the best…thanks for reminding people simple is better & original

    • Cathy Arkle January 20, 2017 at 8:24 am #

      Hi Tricia, thanks for stopping by. Eating Brigadeiros for breakfast is a revelation! That is so cool that you grew up eating these. After tasting just one, I wondered where they had been all my life. 🙂

  20. Anelise Mota October 12, 2017 at 7:16 pm #

    Congratulations Tricia. I’m from Brazil and your Brigadeiro’s recipe is amazing. Exactly away you need to do it. When you eat this recipe you absolutely will gonna be a dreams! Your experience in Brasil look likes wonderful!


  1. Christmas Gingerbread Bon Bons | She Paused 4 Thought - December 10, 2015

    […] this year in which I had my first experience with a popular homemade soft and chewy candy called Brigadeiro. They traditionally combine chocolate and caramel, but the possibilities are endless as you can […]

  2. Top Recipes of 2015 | She Paused 4 Thought - December 31, 2015

    […] #4 | Brigadeiro (Brazilian Bon-Bons) […]

  3. Blueberry Pie & a Tribute to my Dad | She Paused 4 Thought - April 7, 2016

    […] Brazil last year. Read my post about the favalas in Rio de Janiero here, and find a recipe for Brazilian Brigadeiros (Bon-Bons) here, or about the vibrant street art in Valparaíso, […]

Leave a Reply