Make our easy two ingredient chocolate fudge
- Credit: Archant
No cream, sugar, butter or chocolate is needed to whip-up this delicious batch of fudge goodness.
Fancy a bit of baking?
Short of time?
Local shop devoid of flour, yeast and sugar?
Don’t worry - because these delectable chocolate treats require just two easily bought ingredients, and are ready in a flash. All you need is a pan, a spoon (and willpower not to eat the mixture as it cooks).
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Although they look like those strangely-textured cakey rum balls your granny might have put out after dinner, brigadeiros are actually a highly-addictive Brazilian candy. South Americans have a sweet spot for milky desserts. Be it soft, melting, cakes drenched in milk syrup and caramel, delicate alfajores biscuits layered with the sticky stuff, or chilenitos – thin sweet crackers spread with manjar (caramel) and finished with a snowy flourish of whipped meringue.
Brigadeiros are at the lower effort end of the scale – condensed milk, butter and cocoa stirred patiently together and rolled in vermicelli. Today there are myriad variations made with coconut, nuts, strawberry. Flavoured with anything from passion fruit to guava jelly.
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The bite-sized, slightly chewy, incredibly chocolaty morsels were created 75 years ago when, following the end of WW2, Brazil was searching for a new leader. In December 1945 Eduardo Gomes (of brigadeiro ranking) ran for the anti-Vargas conservative UDN, and Heloisa Nabuco de Oliveira (whose family supported his campaign) created the delicacy in his honour.
Unfortunately for Gomes the sweet temptations weren’t enough to propel him to victory, but families all over Brazil still enjoy his sweets to this day.
The recipe uses tinned caramel as a base. While sweetened condensed milk (the traditional bedrock of these sweets) is in short supply, most supermarkets are still laden with caramel. Thumbs up.
Ring the changes by dusting your brigadeiros in flavoured sugar (available online and from baking stores), crushed nuts, milk powder (Ovaltine) or sugar crystals. They’re also delicious stuffed with Nutella or peanut butter.
(Makes around 20)
1 tin (397g) caramel (I used Carnation brand but supermarket own brands are just as good)
6 scant tablespoons cocoa powder
Optional: A few tablespoons of hazelnut chocolate spread or peanut butter
For dusting: More cocoa powder, or experiment with flavoured icing sugars or chocolate sprinkles
Take a small, heavy-based pan and spoon in the cocoa and the caramel, adding a pinch of salt. You have to be patient with this. Turn the heat on the hob to low and stir, stir, stir. It could take 20 to 30 minutes for the magic to happen – but it’s worth it.
I used a stainless steel pan and a metal spoon to continuously scrape and scoop and stir the mixture to stop it burning to the bottom – it can’t be left to its own devices. Stir and scoop the mix until it begins to thicken. At this point it can bubble a little, so make sure you’re stirring. The mix is ready when you push a spoon through the centre and it parts, slowly coming back together again. Pour into a thin bowl and leave to cool completely. It will take about two to three hours.
Dust your hands, and a tray with cocoa and form into balls (it should be quite pliable) the size of a small walnut. Dust fully in cocoa, icing sugar, crushed nuts, coconut – whatever you like – and serve. They’re best kept in the fridge in an airtight tub and will last for at least a week.
If you want to be truly decadent, after separating the mixture into balls, with dusted hands flatten each one and pop a 1/4tsp of chocolate spread or peanut butter inside, forming the ‘dough’ around it into a ball again. Delicious.