Chocolate Brigadeiros

Something about this time of year makes me want to break out the candy thermometer and whip up some sweet little candies, fudges, and caramels.  Sometimes it is soothing for me to stir and watch simple ingredients become transformed into something completely different.  These Brigadeiros are an easy version of fudge and caramel mixed together.  They taste chocolately yet caramely sweet at the same time.  Toppings can add a little crunch and make them look cute.  So easy to pop into your mouth.
These are easy to put together- no candy thermometer required.  Just a little stirring over heat, chilling, and viola: candy.  The hardest part was definitely scooping the cooled chocolate into balls.  While my lack of upper body strength can account for part of this, it does take a little elbow grease to scoop it out.  Completely worth it.  We added these to our Thanksgiving dessert for a chocolate addition, but they would also be great at any holiday party or as a gift for friends and family.
I hope you all are enjoying holiday baking and cooking (or will when you start).  I am home for the next month in a big kitchen again (with real sunlight!), and I am itching to get started. We all need to put on a little layer of extra warmth for winter anyway, right?
CHOCOLATE BRIGADEIROS
INGREDIENTS

14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon half and half
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
Chopped hazelnuts, cocoa powder, chocolate sprinkles for coating

DIRECTIONS

In a saucepan combined sweetened condensed milk, butter, half and half, and corn syrup over medium heat.  Bring to a boil.  Once boiling, add bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder.  Reduce heat to low. Cook for 8-10 minutes, whisking constantly.  The mixture is done cooking when you tilt the pan and the mixture slides in one piece, leaving a residue at the bottom of the pan.

Transfer mixture to a bowl and cool to room temperature.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours.  Using a teaspoon or melon baller, roll into balls.  Roll in hazelnuts, cocoa powder, or sprinkles.  Store in airtight container in the refrigerator.  Serve cool or at room temperature.

Makes 35-40 brigadeiros.

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