In a few hours, the Football World Cup kicks off in Brazil. It is a time when even non-converts like me get converted to the game. And no, its not because of the hunky footballers! Even though, India is not much of a sporting nation, there's something about seeing a sport being played at the highest level that captivates me. With the high stakes involved, the athletes raise their game which itself is a study in perseverance, determination, concentration and excellence. It is not just personal goals and ambition at stake but the hopes and dreams of the country they represent.
So, the lacklustre response of the local population to the World Cup as being reported by the media seems ironical. After all, this is Brazil and football is its unofficial religion. I suspect as soon as the first whistle is blown, all will be forgotten. The scepticism and the criticism will melt away and be replaced by the strongest and fiercest sense of patriotism and loyalty! That is after all the beauty of sport!!
For the next few weeks, all eyes will be on Brazil. So, as an ode to the country that has taught the rest of the World how to party, I thought I give a go at making Brazil's favourite party candy, or so I am told.
Brigadeiros are chocolate bonbons where chocolate caramel is rolled into balls and then coated with chocolate sprinkles, nuts or even cocoa powder. They were created somewhere in the 1940s. The story goes that when Brigadier (Brigadeiro) Eduardo Gomes decided to run for the Presidential elections, his wife as the typical politician's wife, reached out to the people at fund raisers with these candies that she had personally made. While the Brigadier was unsuccessful in winning the people over, his wife's candy did just the opposite. Everyone and anyone wanted the 'Brigadier's candy' and thus, the Brigadeiros were born and till date their popularity remains unrivalled!
It barely takes ten minutes to make the caramel. The messy bit is the rolling of the caramel, especially when you are trying to do it with the horridly, humid weather that we are experiencing right now. Else, there is nothing too complicated about it.
And there's nothing not to like with these candies. I mean, it is chocolate caramel rolled in chocolate sprinkles... do you really need to be convinced about it ?? Goes without saying that children will love it and as for the grown-ups, you are never too old for a candy that is so unabashedly obvious!!
So, who are you putting your money on this World Cup?? I supported Spain through the 2006 and 2010 World Cup and still remember Iniesta's winning goal in the dying minutes of the Finals in Jo'burg. But, this time.. there is a certain romance about Brazil winning the World Cup in Brazil that has me thinking....
Brigadeiros - Brazilian Chocolate Caramels
- 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk (approx. 200 gms)
- 1 1/2 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Chocolate sprinkles, for coating. You can also use nuts or cocoa powder to coat.
- On a low flame, in a thick-bottomed saucepan, gently melt the butter.
- Then add the condensed milk and cocoa powder. Tip: Before adding the cocoa powder, mix the cocoa with a little water to make a smooth paste and then add it to the condensed milk.
- Stir the mixture continuously with a wooden spoon. Take care that the mixture does not get caught in the bottom of the pan and get burnt. You will need to stir for ten minutes.
- The mixture will keep getting thicker. It is ready when you run the spoon through the mixture and it stays parted for a few seconds.
- Remove from heat and pour it into a lightly greased pan and put it in the fridge to firm up for at least 30 minutes.
- Remove from the fridge and with lightly greased hands, shape mixture into walnut-sized balls.
- Roll in chocolate sprinkles (or coating of your choice), then place in patty cases.
- Eat immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.