Brazilian Brigadeiro, Beijinho & Cajuzinho


Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian

Small and delicious balls made with only three ingredients, Brazilian Brigadeiro are delicious Brazilian truffles, made only with cocoa, condensed milk and butter, covered with chocolate sprinkles. They are real little delicacies with a velvety texture, a much-loved dessert in Brazil and now famous all over the world. Their variations are perfect to make at home, enjoy on special occasions or give as a gift!

Brazilian truffles
Brazilian truffles Brigadeiro, Beijinho and Cajuzinho

History and Birth of the Brazilian Brigadeiro

The birth of the brigadeiro recipes are very recent. It dates back to the 20th century. It was born from the spread of a product so popular in Brazil that it still leads the world: condensed milk. Condensed milk first appeared in Brazil in 1890. It was initially a limited product available only in the city of Rio. It was used to preserve milk that was not always available at the time, especially during the cold season when cows often became sick. Later, the product was destined for the confectionery world and soon became a must-have product in every pantry. It was initially called Milkmaid, but due to pronunciation difficulties it was called ‘girl’s milk’ and later became Leite Moça.

Later, the product was destined for the confectionery world and soon became a must-have in every pantry. It was originally called Milkmaid, but due to pronunciation difficulties it was called ‘Girl’s Milk’ and later became Leite Moça.

In the first years after the end of the First World War, Nestlé opened a factory in Araras, Brazil, which established the world market for this product.

In 1921, the same year that Nestlé opened its factory, Gardano opened in Rio, producing chocolate of excellent quality. It seems that this chocolate factory was the creator of the first brigadeiro, called “negrinho” because of its dark colour. The first homemade recipes used chocolate and condensed milk from Gadano and Nestlé. Nestlé bought Gadano in 1957.

But of course, any notorious recipe worth its salt can only have one story.

Another story is about a blonde housewife from Rio Grande do Sul. For some reason she called this sweet, ‘brigadeiro negrinho’, perhaps because of its dark appearance, in fact Rio Grande do Sul is the only place in Brazil that still calls this sweet like that.

Three other versions concern Brigadier Eduardo Gomez. The first says that the Brazilians involved in the elections created it and renamed it Brigadeiro in order to benefit from the electoral funds. The second is that Heloisa Nabuco created these sweets and renamed them in honour of her friend, but they were slightly different because they were filled with dulce de leche.

The last is a little more goliardic and decidedly unlikely. In 1922, the brigadier was shot, and the bullet hit him in his private parts, so they named the sweets brigadeiro and started using eggs in the recipe. In truth, there are many more stories, but these are the most common.

The Classics “Docinhos de Leite Moça”

After the birth of the classic brigadeiros recipe, other equally delicious varieties were created, all made with condensed milk, and soon became classics called Docinhos de Leite Moça.

  • Beijinho is made with grated coconut and condensed milk, covered with coconut and usually decorated with a clove. If the ball is covered with sugar and then placed in a plum, it is called Olho de Sogra.
  • The Olho de Sogra consists of a prune filled with a sugar-coated Beijinho.
  • Originally made with cashews, Cajuzinho is now more often made with peanuts, usually in the shape of cashews or round. They are covered with sugar and decorated with a cashew or a whole peanut.

The funny thing is that, despite its fame, brigadeiro has long been a dessert associated with children’s parties. But in 2007, confectioner Juliana Motter brought it back to glory, giving it a special place in Brazilian confectionery.

How to Make Brigadeiro Recipe, Beijinho and Cajuzinho

Making this brazilian desserts, is really easy, and you only need a few ingredients, so here’s how to make them!

Let’s start with the recipe for Brazilian Brigadeiro, take a saucepan, add the brigadeiro ingredients, mix, add the butter and place over a moderate heat, stirring constantly. Stir the mixture so that it does not stick together. Above all, do not let it burn, even if you are using a non-stick pan. You will know the mixture is ready when it thickens into a paste. It will take a while for the paste to come together as you stir. Turn off the heat and transfer the mixture to another container (oven dish, bowl, etc.). Cover with foil and leave to cool.

When the Brazilian brigadeiro mixture has cooled down, prepare a small bowl with the chocolate sprinkles, grease your hands with a little bit of butter and start to form balls, using a teaspoon to scoop out the mixture. Once the ball is formed, place it in the sprinkles and turn it gently so that the sprinkles are all over the praline, then place it in a baking cups.

For the coconut version, the beijinho, grate the fresh coconut and set aside for a moment. Place the butter, condensed milk and cream in a saucepan. Turn the heat to medium and stir until the butter is completely melted.

Now add the coconut and continue stirring until the mixture thickens, this will take 3–4 minutes. The mixture will be slightly softer than the brigadeiro, depending on the presence of cocoa.

Turn off the heat, pour the mixture into an ovenproof dish and leave to cool. Prepare some fresh or dehydrated coconut (I used the dehydrated ones so they would last a bit longer), butter and cloves. As with the brigadeiro, scoop out some dough with a teaspoon, form a ball with your buttered hands and dip it in the coconut. Decorate each Beijinho with a clove, in case you don’t like them or don’t want to use them, you can omit the cloves.

And now we come to the cajuzinho. Unlike the previous sweets, there is no need to cook the dough. First prepare the bowl with the sugar and about fifty cleaned peanuts for decoration. Take the roasted and cleaned peanuts and put them in a blender or food processor to make a flour, pulsing the blender to avoid making peanut butter. Once you have the flour, mix it with the cocoa powder and then stir in the condensed milk.

Leave the dough to rest in the fridge for about twenty minutes. Take the dough again and scoop it out with the usual teaspoon and manipulate the dough to form cashew-shaped treats, but don’t despair if they don’t come out right, you can opt for the classic ball. Dip the cajuzinho in the granulated sugar and decorate each chocolate with a whole peanut.

Storing Brazilian Pralines

To store Docinhos de Leite Moça you need to keep them in a cool, dry place, either in a vacuum pack or in the fridge. They keep well, I’ve kept them for over 5 days, but Cajuzinho and even Beijinho will tend to dry out and become a little ‘harder’.

Besides the Brazilian Brigadeiro, there are many other delicacies such as the Brazilian Coxinha, a delicious chicken croquette.

5 from 1 vote

Brazilian Brigadeiro, Beijinho & Cajuzinho

Delicate pralines from the Brazilian confectionery tradition made with condensed milk, soft and delicious are a real treat!
Porzioni 100 pralines
Tempo di Preparazione 1 hour 50 minutes
Tempo di Cottura 15 minutes
Tempo totale 2 hours 5 minutes


  • Casserole
  • Baking Cups
  • Spatula



  • 400 g of Condensed Milk
  • 40 g of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 30 g of Butter
  • 1 pinch of Salt
  • Chocolate Sprinkles


  • 400 g of Condensed Milk
  • 1 cup of Coconut Pulp freshly grated
  • 15 g of Butter
  • 85 g of Fresh Cream
  • Cloves
  • Dehydrated Grated Coconut or fresh coconut grated


  • 400 g of Condensed Milk
  • 35 g of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 130 g of Peanuts
  • Caster Sugar
  • Peanuts to decorate



  • Mix 400 g of Condensed Milk, 40 g of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, 30 g of Butter and 1 pinch of Salt in a small saucepan.
  • Bring the saucepan onto the heat, and heat over medium/low heat.
  • Cook, stirring constantly to avoid burning the mixture. The brigadeiro is ready when it thickens; if the wooden spoon (or spatula) in the middle of the mixture takes a while to close, the brigadeiro is ready!
  • Leave to cool in a dish at room temperature.
  • Put the sprinkles in a small bowl and when the brigadeiro has cooled, grease your hands with butter and roll the brigadeiros into small balls (usually half a tablespoon is the measure).
  • Roll the brigadeiro balls in the Chocolate Sprinkles and place in paper or aluminium moulds.


  • Grate fresh coconut and keep it handy.
  • Place 400 g of Condensed Milk, 15 g of Butter and 85 g of Fresh Cream in a saucepan. Cook over a medium heat until the butter melts, then add 1 cup of Coconut Pulp and mix.
  • Cook for 3-4 minutes until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat, pour into an ovenproof dish and leave to cool.
  • Prepare a small bowl with some Dehydrated Grated Coconut and Cloves. Butter your hands and scoop out some dough with a teaspoon, make a ball and dip it in the coconut.
  • Decorate each beijinho with a clove and place them in the paper cups.


  • Prepare a bowl with Caster Sugar and about fifty cleaned Peanuts for decoration.
  • Put 130 g of Peanuts in a blender and blend them by pulsing the blender to avoid the risk of getting peanut butter.
  • Mix the flour from the peanuts with 35 g of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder in a bowl, then add to 400 g of Condensed Milk.
  • Once the mixture is well blended, refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  • Use a teaspoon to scoop out some of the dough and manipulate it into a cashew-shaped treat. If you can't get it right, you can always go for balls.
  • Dust the sweets with Caster Sugar and place in the moulds, decorating each with a peanut.


In addition to chocolate sprinkles, you can use coloured sugar sprinkles, chocolate chips, cocoa powder or grated coconut to create delicious variations of Brigadeiro.
You can top the Beijinho with either freshly grated coconut or desiccated coconut. If you cover the Beijinho with icing sugar and place the balls inside a halved and stoned plum, you get Olho de Sogra.
Cajuzinho can also be made with peanut butter or cashew flour.
Keep Docinhos de Leite Moça in an airtight container in a cool place or in the fridge for up to a week.
Chef: Taira by R.J.
Calorie: 87kcal
Course: Sweets and Desserts
Cuisine: Brazilian
Keyword: Chocolate, Dried Fruit
Difficoltà: Easy


Serving: 24g | Calories: 87kcal (4%) | Carbohydrates: 13g (4%) | Protein: 2g (4%) | Fat: 3.4g (5%) | Sugar: 12g (13%)

Le informazioni nutrizionali mostrate sono una stima fornita da un calcolatore nutrizionale online. Non deve essere considerato un sostituto del consiglio di un nutrizionista professionista.

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