Friday, June 12, 2015

Cachaça Brigadeiros: International Cachaca Day!

Today is International Cachaça Day! Now here's a beverage I can get behind. Caipirinha, the traditional Brazilian drink, is made with cachaça. Cachaca is a liquor made from fermented sugarcane, and is the most popular distilled alcoholic beverage in Brazil. So to celebrate, I'm definitely having a Caipirinha, and if you want to have something chocolate, you can make the traditional Brazilian candy--Brigadeiros but add cachaça for a kick!

I first tasted cachaça in Brazil when I was there on a Fulbright. What a great liquor.. a bit like rum.. but not. In my search for the very best pinga, as it's colloquially called, we found ourselves one day in the back country at a large still. Surely we had wandered into the back hills of Kentucky. The men operating the still, probably not a legal endeavor, had the wild look of way too much alcohol of way too high a percentage. Nevertheless, the many memorable cachaça drinks I enjoyed in Brazil stayed with me, and now I find cachaça at bars and liquor stores in the U.S.

For the recipe today, I decided not to post a cocktail recipe, although there are many chocolate cachaça drink recipes, but instead to post a Brazilian treat--Brigadeiros (link to the non-alcoholic ones from Jane Vana Bishop). But here is a great chocolate 'adult' version of this fudgy truffle candy. This recipe is from Luxury Experience using Leblon Cachaca. The Leblon distillery is in Patos de Minas in Minas Gerais, Brazil. The area has a great microclimate and high altitude and produces taller and juicier sugar cane. What makes Leblon Cachaca different from other cachacas is that Leblon uses XO Cognac casks to 'rest' the liquor for up to six months to smooth and round out the flavors. Leblon Cachaca is 40% alcohol.

The following recipe is easy--and delicious. Of course you can use any brand of cachaça you have!

CACHACA CHOCOLATE BRIGADEIROS

Ingredients 
1 14 ounce can Sweetened Condensed Milk
2/3 can Milk (use Sweetened Condensed Milk can as measure)
1/3 can Leblon Cachaça (use Sweetened Condensed Milk can as measure)
2 Tbsp Dark Cocoa
1 Tbsp sweet Butter
1 Jar Chocolate Sprinkles (Jimmies)

Directions 
In medium pan, add sweetened condensed milk, butter, cocoa and milk, and stir well to combine. Cook over medium heat stirring with long handled wooden spoon until mixture starts to thicken approximately 10 minutes, and then add Leblon Cachaça.
Continue stirring while cooking until chocolate mixture comes away from sides of pan and starts to look dry-- approximately 13 minutes.
Pour into bowl and let cool.
When completely cool, butter your hands, use teaspoon amount of chocolate and roll into ball, and then roll ball in chocolate sprinkles.
Complete process until all chocolate is used.
Put candy in paper cups (or on parchment paper), and set in refrigerator until ready to eat.

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