Showing posts with label brigadeiros. Show all posts
Showing posts with label brigadeiros. Show all posts

Friday, November 15, 2013

Chewy Brigadeiro Pecan Bars

These wonderfully chewy cookie bars are made with melted chocolate and dulce de leche, sandwiched between layers of oat/pecan cookie dough and baked to golden perfection. Toasted pecans, melted chocolate, rolled oats and dulce de leche (caramelized condensed milk) make a chewy cookie bar that remind me of one of our favorite candies, Brazilian brigadeiros.



Chewy Brigadeiro Pecan Bars

I first saw this recipe on The Spiced Life, written by my friend, Laura, creator of the Creative Cookie Exchange group.  It sounded fabulous just as it was but I wanted to try a couple small modifications, exchanging the condensed milk for dulce de leche and toasting the pecans first.

Ingredients for four dozen squares
For the bottom/top dough:
2 1/2 cups or 315g flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup or 225g unsalted butter plus more for buttering the pan
2 cups, packed, or 400g brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
3 cups or 285g old fashioned rolled oats
7 oz or 200g pecans (Half for dough, half for sprinkling on before baking)

For the chocolate filling:
14 (or 15) oz or 397-510g can dulce de leche (store-bought or homemade - very easy!)
13 3/4 oz or almost 290g semi sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Optional: 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes for sprinkling on top of the bars before baking

Method
Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.  Prepare your baking pan (Mine is about 11x16in or 28x40cm.) by lining it with foil and rubbing it with some butter.

Put your pecans in a separate pan large enough to hold them all in a single layer.  Pop them in the oven while it preheats.  Set a timer for five minutes at a time and keep checking on them and giving them a shake until they smell like roasted nuts, warm and fragrant.  Depending on how quickly your oven preheats, this could take from as little as 10 minutes to as many as 20 minutes.  Just be careful not to let them scorch.  Remove from the oven and allow the pecans to cool.

When the pecans are cool enough to handle, chop them roughly.



In a medium-sized bowl, combine your flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar together until fluffy.  Add in the vanilla and then beat the eggs in one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition.

This is the addition of the second egg. 


Add in the flour mixture in two lots and mix on the lowest speed until well mixed each time.



After the flour is all added. 
Add the oats and mix on low until mostly incorporated. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.

It's pretty stiff after the oats have been added.  You'll want to scrape the beater as well.  

Add half of the pecans and mix until everything is completely incorporated.



Remove two cups or 600g of this dough and set aside.

Dump the remaining dough into your foil-lined pan.  Divide it into smaller chunks spread around the bottom of the pan and then press it down until it covers the entire bottom.  Set aside.



To make the filling, put your chocolate in a microwaveable bowl and zap for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate is completely melted.

Add in the dulce de leche, vanilla, butter and the pinch of salt and stir well. The butter should melt in the heat of the chocolate but if it doesn't you can give the whole bowl another quick zap.



Pour this warm chocolate mixture over the dough pressed into the pan.


Use your fingers to break up the reserved two cups of the dough and sprinkle in over the chocolate. It won’t and shouldn’t cover all of the chocolate.

Now sprinkle the remaining toasted chopped pecans over the whole thing.


Finish by sprinkling 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes over that, if desired. I love the sweet and salty mix myself.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

Allow to cool for about 15 minutes on a cooling rack before removing the foil and the whole cookie bar from the pan. Cool completely before cutting into small squares.



Store in a well-sealed container with waxed paper or parchment dividing the layers. If you live in a very warm climate, store this in the refrigerator. These cookie bars also freeze nicely and will keep for several weeks.


Enjoy!

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Brigadeiros

Chewy caramel insides are covered with chocolate sprinkles to make these sweets, essential at any Brazilian party. They are so easy to make too!




This week, #SundaySupper is celebrating celebrating.  What I mean is, we are sharing recipes that are perfect for showers.  Baby showers, bridal showers or whatever lovely gathering you are planning this month.  Our host is Brandie from Home Cooking Memories, so I think she will appreciate that I reached back to one of my favorite times to share this party favorite. 

Brigadeiros are an easy sweet treat that make an essential appearance at every celebration in Brazil.  We lived there for almost six years when our daughters were little.  In fact, both of them started school (a couple of years apart, of course) at the Omega School, which was a few blocks from our house, in the small neighborhood of Macaé called Vivendas da Lagoa.  It was a tiny operation with fewer than 30 students ranging from the three-year-olds to one sixth grader, with most children falling on the younger end of the chart.  Enrollment was so small most years that when one child celebrated a birthday, the whole crowd was invited. The best part was that they all played well together, regardless of age or grade level.  We missed that interaction later, in bigger schools. 

In those days, Macaé was a small oilfield town, short on amenities.  (I’ve been told it has progressed greatly since then, although I haven’t been back.)  Grocery shopping was limited and it was a challenge to do it all in one day, especially with at least one small child in tow.  Chicken was only purchased at the chicken shop, beef, pork and sausages at the butcher. If you wanted fresh vegetables, the best place was Hortifruti, the covered market.  Fresh milk was in limited supply so we bought UHT (ultra high temperature) milk that came in Tetrapaks.

For cheese, there were a couple of places you might get lucky, just don’t expect anything fancy.  But one thing that every shop had, even the little corner store in our neighborhood, were cans of the sweet sticky paste used for making brigadeiros.  When we left Brazil (and the supply I had brought in our shipment was exhausted) we had to learn how to make them without it.  Because, as I am sure you will agree once you try one, life is too short to go without brigadeiros. Fortunately, it isn’t that hard since you start with sticky condensed milk, available everywhere. 

Ingredients 
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa 
1 tablespoon butter plus a little extra for buttering your hands when you are rolling the little balls 
1 (14 ounce or 397g) can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk) 
10.5 oz or 298g packet chocolate rice or sprinkles (You may not use them all.)
60-70 tiny paper muffin liners

Method 
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, pour in the condensed milk, then sift in the cocoa and add in the butter.




Cook over a medium heat, stirring gently to make sure it is well combined.



Keep stirring and cooking until it is quite thick, about 10-15 minutes.



Remove from the heat and let rest until cool enough to handle.  It will stiffen up even more as it cools. 

Put your chocolate sprinkles in a small bowl or other deep container. 

Rub a little butter into both of your palms.  Using a small spoon, scoop up a little of the sweet paste and roll it into small balls between your palms.


Use one spoon to scrape it off into your buttered palm. 

Roll it between your buttered palms to get a smooth ball. 

Drop it gently into the small bowl of chocolate sprinkles and roll it around until coated. Place each covered ball in a paper muffin liner. Place on a serving tray.




Continue until all the paste is finished.  Keep in a cool, dry place until ready to serve.


Do not share these with your helper, not matter how much he begs.  Chokit, noooo!


These little balls of sticky chocolatey caramel awesomeness are perfect for any party!  Invite the whole crowd and see if they can play nice.


Enjoy! 

And while you are at it, why not make a couple of special dishes from the rest of the #SundaySupper line up of April Shower recipes? 


Starters, Appetizers & Snacks
Soups, Salads & Sandwiches
Main Dishes
Cakes
Cookies, Brownies & Dessert Bars
Sweet Treats
Drink Recipes