Brigadeiro – A Brazilian Dessert/Un postre brasileño

-traducción en español al fin de esta entrada-

Well, well, well.  Has it been too long since I’ve put up a new entry?  Unfortunately it has!  I am looking at the date that my last entry was posted and I am ashamed of myself for letting this blog go so long without any kind of maintenance.  The good news is that though I haven’t beent he best blogger there have been nearly 60 people everyday who still visit The Handicapped Kitchen.  So, thanks goes out to all you who have been visiting!  Truth be told, the last months of my work in Peru were absolutely so jam-packed it was ridiculous to even think about mustering up something in the kitchen and then set up studio to take pictures.

To update you on where I am at, I have recently moved from Puno, Peru to Quito, Ecuador and am now living at only about 9,000 feet above sea level!  It doesn’t matter much, the air is still thin and anything beyond a brisk walk turns into my lungs becoming coughed out onto the sidewalk.  But, Ecuador is a beautiful country, so that makes up for it!

As for the dessert, I wanted to share with you all this very popular Brasilian dessert.  It is called brigadeiro (pronouned bree-gah-day-roo).  They are little balls of chocolate that taste something like tootsie rolls, but much more delicious.  And they are simply easy to make!

You need these three ingredients!  That is it. They are

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp butter or margerine

Put all the ingredients in a medium sauce pan and mix together.  Put over medium heat and stir constantly.  Yea, there is a reason that is bold and italicized.  It is very important.  You are working with milk here, and if you burn it… yuck!

I made a video for this post specifically because it is hard to explain the consistency this dessert should have when the dough is ready to be taken off the heat.  The video is at the bottom of this post.

You will cook this dough over medium heat and stir constantly for about 10 minutes.  It will begin to boil within the first few minutes and will thicken gradually.

You will see in the video that you want to take the dough off the heat when the dough seems to sit in the middle of the bottom of the pan in a mass and seems to pull away from the sides of the pan.  It will seem like a big blob.

Remove the pan from the heat and with a spatula scrap it out into another heat-proof bowl and let it cool.  I let mine cool for a little over an hour.

Then, grease your hands with butter or something of the kind -especially your fingertips- and pul out the dough a piece at a time and roll into balls.  Place them on a tray.  At this point, if you decide to, you can roll them in crushed nuts or powdered sugar or cocoa powder.  They really make for cute little desserts.  When they are all rolled into little balls put them in the fridge over night.  Serve chilled.

ESPAÑOL:

Bueeeeeno, ¿hace mucho tiempo que no escribo una nueva entrada?  Desafortunadamente, la respuesta es un gran ¡SÍ!  Estoy mirando la fecha de la entrada anterior y me da vergüenza por dejar a este blog tanto tiempo sin ningún tipo de mantenimiento.  La buena nueva es que aunque yo no he sido lo mejor de los blogueros hay muchos de ustedes que cada día están visitando a The Handicapped Kitchen a pesar de mi negligencia.  Diario tengo casi 60 visitas.  Entonces, toda mi gratitud les mando a ustedes que son más fieles que yo.  Para decir la verdad, los últimos meses de mi trabajo en Perú eran absolutamente demasiado atiborrados de eventos y la preparación para salir y fue agotador para pensar aún en la posibilidad de pasar un día en la cocina ni que hablar de sacar fotos de la comida.

Para ponerles al corriente de mi vida y donde estoy, recién me he mudado desde Puno, Perú a Quito, Ecuador y ahora vivo a ¡2,800 metros sobre el nivel del mar!  No importa tanto, pues, porque el aire sigue siendo menos rico de oxígeno y algo más que dar pasos ligeros hace que mis pulmones quieran voltearse de mi cuerpo al suelo.  Pero, Ecuador es un país hermoso, ¡así que lo compensa!

En cuanto al postre, o quiero compartir con ustedes este postre brasileño muy popular.  Se llama brigadeiro.  Son bolitas de chocolate que se asemejan a un dulce americano Tootsie Rolls, pero mucho más delicioso.  Y, que más que ¡son fáciles hacer!

Los ingredients que necesitarás son tres.  ¡Eso es!  Son:

  • 1 lata de leche condensada
  • 3 cucharadas de cocoa puro
  • 1 cucharada de mantequilla o margarina

Pon todos los ingredientes en una olla de tamaño medio y mezcla.  Ponlo sobre medio fuego y revuelva constantemente.  Sí, pues, hay una razòn porque he puesto esa palabra en letra negra y cursiva.  Es muy importante.  Estás tratando con leche, pues, y si lo quemes… ¡qué asco!

Hice un video para esta entrada específicamente porque es difícil explicar como debe parecer la consistencia de este postre cuando está listo remover del fuego.  El video está aquí al fondo de esta entrada.

Lo cocinarás sobre medio fuego y lo revolverás continuamente por uno 10 minutos.  Empezará hervir entres los primeros minutos -no desvies la mirada ni dejes de revolverlo- se va a hacer más espeso gráduamente.  Ve el video -que también está en español- para ver la consistencia.

The Videos/Los Videos

Borrachitos – Rum Balls

“Buen dia” to everyone.  My day has come to an end and to celebrate that fact I am in bed with apple slices, caramel sauce and two borrachitos.  It’s a good end to these past two days.  Have you ever had several days that feel like one big long day?  Those are my Wednesdays and Thursdays.  So, coming home and finding these little chocolate delicacies still in the fridge is quite the lucky surprise.  Living with 8 other ravenous fridge mongers things like these disappear QUICKLY!

They are, in English, “Little Drunkards.”  But, were profoundly popular in the 60s as Rum Balls.  From the blatantly obvious name of the chocolate truffles, it’s clear that they have rum in them.  Of course, there are always options to replace alcohol, you can replace the rum with apple or orange juice.

When I searched for these online, I had the hardest time finding them!  I had first tried these in Arequipa, Peru.  They were in a little bakery hidden in the Plaza de Armas.  It was really an accident that we stumbled upon La Canasta one day and when my eyes locked with a big chocolate ball sitting in the display case I knew I just had to try it.  Yum, yum, yum.  It was food love.  I’m beyond happy that what I made in my kitchen turned out to be exactly what I had from La Canasta that blessed day.

I’m pretty sure these will quickly find their way into stomachs among your household members.  They are rather quick to conjure up as well.  Conjure, sounds witchy, that’s as much Halloween theme you’re going to get out of me here.  But, in all seriousness, which should always be our attitudes in the kitchen…………… yea, these are simply simple and can even be considered a no-baking confection!

Anything that is no-bake, to me, is kind of a cheat.  Sorry to all of you who vie for the other side.  So, I baked a cake, which turned out to be the BEST cake I’ve ever made, let alone at 12,000 feet, and posted an article on it.  It’s The Perfect High Altitude Cake.  It raised up to pretty and looked so nice… it was a shame though because I had to mash it all up into crumbs.

Borrachitos
recipe adapted from The Joy of Baking. 

2-3 cups mashed chocolate cake
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup rum, apple juice or orange juice
4 tbsp corn syrup or honey

Toppings
melted chocolate
confectioners sugar
cocoa powder
sprinkles
finely chopped nuts

If you click on the link above for The Joy of Baking it will take you to the Rum Ball recipe.  My adapted version is a little different.  There’s also a nice video you can watch.

Basically, my version is cheaper.  Nuts are not inexpensive.  So, I used cake instead of vanilla wafers and nuts like TJOB has listed and I also doubled the recipe because I made a 9×13 cake and had a lot of it to use.

So, mash up your cake into fine crumbs.  I just used my hands.  It’s fun to get dirty in the kitchen.  Then, mix in the confectioners sugar.  At this point you may want to get a wooden spoon, because honey or corn syrup won’t be fun to clean off your hands.  Mix in the corn syrup or honey and then the rum or whatever liquid substitute you decide to use.  Mix well.  If your “dough” turns out looking shiny, then mash in some more cake.  You should have a dough that has a satin look.

Before rolling them you may want to put them in the fridge for about 30 minutes.  They might be too sticky to handle, but I honestly didn’t have an issue with this.  Roll into little balls.  You can make them as big as you want, really.  I made them about 2 inches.

Melt your chocolate, or get your stuff to roll them in ready and make ’em pretty!  I’d have to say that out of all the topping ideas, the chocolate covered borrachitos turned out to be the most delicious, though some of the others were just so darn pretty.

As for dipping them in chocolate, I just plopped them in the chocolate and covered them completely and then fished them out with a fork and placed them on a cookie sheet with saran-wrap.  Let them set in the fridge.

Store these babies in the fridge.  The flavor does enhance and change with time.  So, you may want to make them a few days in advance before you bust them out for a party or what-not.  Try not to eat all of them at once, they are quite the temptation.

P.S. The boxes are origami boxes I made from parchment paper.  I’ve got a clever plan to do more things with these little guys.  You can go here to find out how to make them.

P.P.S. You can follow The Handicapped Kitchen on Facebook!  Go to www.facebook.com/thkblog and click the “Like” button to get the latest news on THK in your news feed!

P.P.P.S. I LOVE YOU!

The Perfect Altitude Cake

After many failures.  After much crying and tears shed.  After near moments of sheer rage where I simply wanted to throw caution and my entire kitchen setup to the wind, I have FOUND it.  I have DONE it.  I have made the perfect Altitude Cake.  I have made an adapted chocolate cake for high altitude!

It is chocolaty.  It is delicious.  It is moist!  And it is NOT dense!  I made this cake once before, but it did not turn out as good as it did this time.  This won’t be something for which all of you get to joy and jump around the kitchen screaming praises to God, because all of you are not living at 12,000 ft above sea level, you lucky freaks.

For those of you who have to deal with falling cakes, well you will love me!

Alright, so I can’t take full credit for this cake recipe.  It is a tweaked recipe.  The original I found on All Recipes.  If you have never been to said site, you are missing out and need to head over there as soon as you are done reading this!   Dark Chocolate Cake is the name of the recipe that I found and tweaked.  If you live where altitude is no problem, then you can just click that link and make according to that recipe.  NOTE: I would highly suggest using the comments as a guide.  More often than not, you will find adjustments there that make all the difference.  

Here are my adjustments with notes provided with each ingredient as needed.

Dark Chocolate Perfect Altitude Cake

  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour PLUS 2 tbsp
    Note: Don’t measure the flour exactly.  The goal is to measure out more than needed.  Spoon the flour out into the cup and instead of scrapping off the excess flour that piles on top of the measuring cup, just pour it in.  Then, add two tbsp more of flour.  This gives the mixture more structure.  
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    Note: When you are baking at high altitude, leavening products become a huge challenge.  The idea is for each tsp of leavening called for reduce to a 1/4 tsp.  So, 2 tsp was the original amount so we reduce it to 1/2 tsp.
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    Note: Again, more leavening.  Since there was so much, I cut this in half from the original amount which was 1/2 tsp.  
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, melted
    Note: Usually you would cream the butter and sugar together.  Instead, you are going to melt the butter and mix the sugar with it.  I’ll explain that later.    
  • 2 1/4 cups white sugar MINUS 1-2 tbsp
    Note: Baking at high altitude, sugar also affects the outcome of a product.  It’s necessary to take out a certain quantity of sugar.  I left out about 1-2 tbsp of sugar.  
  • 5-6 eggs
    Note:  The original recipe called for 4 eggs.  You will want to add more, this also contributes to the amount of liquid in the mixture and the out-coming structure.  The eggs we get in Peru are various in size, some are extremely small, so I used 6 eggs in my mixture.  If you have all pretty well sized eggs just use 5.     
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
How It’s Done
Note:
explanations and more in-depth directions are all in italics.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).  When baking at higher altitude, it’s necessary to increase the temperature of the oven.  It’s usually the basic rule of thumb to increase the temperature by 25 degrees.  You need the liquid in the batter to evaporate quicker so the overall structure will set before it can rise too much and then break and fall.  

Grease 3 – 9 inch round cake pans or one 9×13″ pan.  In a medium bowl, pour the boiling water over the cocoa, and whisk until smooth. Set aside and let cool.
In another bowl sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.

Basic note for baking at high altitude.  Mixing and beating the batter by hand will give you more control over how much air is incorporated into the mixture.  I will explain as we go along why the amount of air in a batter is so important.  

All seems nice and normal until this point.  Here I did something that I thought was going to ruin my cake.  I melted my butter over low heat on the stove and added the sugar to this, whisking until well incorporated.  Now, the first reason I did this was because the Handicap Kitchen mixer caught on fire and is out of commission.
 The second reason is my theory for why this is necessary.  When you cream your sugar and butter together you are essentially creating pockets of air in your fatty product (butter).  Butter is not the only thing that does this in a cake batter, eggs also do this.  But, while a cake is baking at high altitude it’s important to not have TOO many air bubbles.  The leavening products react with the air pockets and cause them to grow.  This is their job!  But, at high altitudes this process happens a lot quicker and if there are a lot of air pockets and a lot of leavening product in your cake batter it will break and fall.  You will cry.  So, the challenge is to beat air into the batter in moderation with a reduction of leavening.  Make sense?  So, by melting the butter, I basically removed one more constituent of the danger of getting too many air pockets.  

Once you’ve mixed your sugar and butter together beat in the eggs.  It’s important to not beat the eggs in all at once.  However, you do want to be careful of beating the mixture too much.  I beat in two eggs at a time twice and then the rest of the times one egg at a time.  Does that make sense?  If you beat the eggs too much you will have to problem of too many air pockets.  You need to beat in the eggs just until they are mixed into the batter.  This should be approximately beating ten times for each (or pair) of eggs.  

Then stir in vanilla.

Add the flour mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture.  It’s important at this point that you stir instead of beat.  If you beat you may add too many air pockets.  Work carefully, folding the flour into the batter and mixing in the cocoa mixture.  

Spread batter evenly between the 3 prepared pans or into the 9×13″ pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool.  I find that at high altitudes it takes a bit longer to bake cakes all the way through.  You may need more like 30-45 minutes.  

Please, if you have any questions, leave a comment and ask, or send an email to thehandicappedkitchen at gmail dot com.

Have you ever baked at high altitude?  What were your experiences?
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