I usually make confections for our annual holiday party, and brigadeiros -- a Brazilian truffle-like dessert made with condensed milk -- have been on the tentative party menu more than once. Somehow they have never made the final cut, but I figured that not being able to use my oven meant it was finally time to give brigadeiros a try.
Brazilian-American chef Leticia Moreinos Schwartz contributed recipes for three different varieties of brigadeiros to Fine Cooking: chocolate, coconut, and pistachio. I decided to try the coconut recipe since I happened to have a lot of desiccated coconut on hand.
The recipe requires only five ingredients. You cook condensed milk, coconut milk, butter, corn syrup, and unsweetened shredded coconut until the mixture thickens. My mixture did reach the consistency of buttercream frosting, but it never got to the point where it would slide to one side of the pan in a blob (as specified in the recipe). I was worried about overcooking or burning the mixture, so I just went with it. I transferred the mixture to a bowl, let it cool, and put it in the fridge overnight.
I tried to cut one open and take a picture of the cross-section for this blog post. But even after being stored in the fridge, the brigadeiros were still essentially the consistency of buttercream and my knife smushed the brigadeiro into two parts instead of cutting it cleanly to reveal the interior. Still, I thought they were delicious. The brigadeiros were sweet, creamy, and had wonderful texture and flavor from the coconut in both the cooked mixture and in the coating. That said, I thought the soft-ish texture was a bit difficult to manage. You could easily just squish one by pressing down on it with your finger. And I couldn't help feeling like I was just eating small balls of coconut frosting. While I would have preferred a firmer texture (like what would get in a typical truffle), I can't deny that I enjoyed them anyway!
I mentioned the squishy texture in an Instagram post and Chef Leticia was kind enough to leave a comment where she said: "They are supposed to be squishy, fudge like, not too soft, not too hard." To me, "fudge like" and "squishy" are two different things in the confection context, so I'm still at a loss as to the proper brigadeiro texture. But I'd like to give the chocolate and pistachio brigadeiro recipes a try as well, so hopefully I will eventually figure it out!
Recipe: "Coconut Brigadeiros" by Leticia Moreinos Schwartz, from Fine Cooking.