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St Patrick’s Day Treats

Brigadeiros With White Chocolate and Irish Cream

Brazilian St. Patrick's Day treats: green brigadeiros made with Irish creamjump to recipe button

March 17 is fast approaching. If you are celebrating at home, you will need plenty of St Patrick’s Day treats to keep your guests happy. We offer you this festive spin on a classic Brazilian party snack: brigadeiros made with white chocolate (colored green, of course!) and spiked with delicious Irish cream liqueur. 

What is Irish Cream?

Irish cream is actually an English invention, created in 1973 by Thomas Jago. Jago was a liquor executive from Cornwall. He marketed a drink that combined traditional Irish whiskey with heavy cream, sugar,  and subtle flavorings of vanilla and chocolate. The concoction was sold under the label “Baileys,” which has since become a household name. 

Interestingly, Jago was also the mastermind behind two other famous brands: Malibu flavored rum and Johnnie Walker Blue Label Scotch Whisky. 

When Is St Patrick’s Day?

St. Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of St Patrick, occurs on the same day every year: March 17. This is historically considered the death date of Patrick, a 5th century bishop and missionary who is credited with converting Ireland’s predominantly pagan population to Christianity. 

Patrick’s efforts were later communicated allegorically: the heathen traditions of the pagans were symbolized as snakes, which were driven away from the Isle by St. Patrick. It is a good story, despite the fact that no snakes have ever been known to inhabit Ireland. 

The Feast of St Patrick was officially recognized by the Catholic Church in the 17th century. It is also observed by the Anglican Church, Lutherans, and Eastern Orthodox denominations.   

St. Patrick’s Day in Brazil

You may be curious to know if Brazilians celebrate St. Patrick’s day in the same way as Americans. In the US, we tend to splash out with parties, parades, greenery, lots of Guinness, and traditional Irish dishes, like corned beef with cabbage. 

While Brazil is not home to as many Irish descendants as the States, it is still a predominantly Catholic country whose citizens also happen to enjoy a good party. Brazilians are embracing St. Paddy’s Day traditions more and more, adopting familiar rituals like wearing green and listening to Irish music.

St. Patrick’s Day in Brazil has become so popular in recent years that, in Rio, the famous Christ the Redeemer statue is lit with a green light for the day! 

What Are Brazilian Brigadeiros?

Brigadeiros are a bite-sized Brazilian dessert made with chocolate and condensed milk. They are similar to American fudge, except they are rolled into balls and served in little candy cups. The traditional recipe originated in the 1940s and was named after Brigadier General Eduardo Gomes, a presidential candidate at the time. The general strong support from female voters, many of whom would prepare the treats for rallies and meetings.  

The traditional Brigadeiro recipe was made with cocoa powder, butter, and condensed milk. Since then, many, many variations have arisen, including today’s St Patrick’s Day treats. The one ingredient that remains constant is condensed milk. Condensed milk desserts have a long history in Brazil. As was the case with Brigadeiros, many home chefs developed recipes using condensed milk during and slightly after WWII, when items like fresh milk and sugar were still rationed.   

Can You Make The Brigadeiros Ahead of Time?

Certainly! You can store either the batter or pre-rolled brigadeiros in the fridge for up to seven days before you serve them. Just remove them fifteen minutes or so to let them soften before eating.

These St. Patrick’s Day  treats will also keep for several months in the freezer. Let them thaw for 60 minutes before rolling them in the sprinkles and placing them in their paper cups.

Kid Friendly St Patrick’s Day Treats

Because we are adding the Irish liqueur to our St Paddy’s day brigadeiros off the heat, they do retain some alcohol content. As such, these treats are not meant for children. You can leave the Bailey’s out entirely to make a kid-friendly version, or you can use an Irish cream-flavored syrup, like the kind they use at coffee shops. 

Brigadeiro Variations

You can have some fun customizing your St Patrick’s Day treats by using different toppings. We used plain, white sugar to dust ours (we wanted to be sure you could see the green color), but you can use almost anything as the finishing touch for yours. Common brigadeiro toppings include:

  • Chocolate sprinkles or shaved chocolate
  • Shredded coconut
  • Citrus zest
  • Chopped nuts
  • Chopped, dried fruit
  • Crushed M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces

Irish Cream Brigadeiro Recipe


1 tbsp butter, unsalted
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
3.5 oz white chocolate chips
¼ tsp salt
3-5 drops green food coloring
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 oz Bailey’s Irish Cream
1/4 cup white sugar to coat your St Patrick’s Day treats
20 no. 3 paper candy cups (these ones come in green)


Step 1: Make the Batter

  • Grease a casserole dish or other shallow baking vessel with butter or nonstick spray. 
  • Heat a mid-sized saucepan over medium heat. Melt the tablespoon of butter and mix in the can of condensed milk and salt. 
  • Heat the mixture for a few minutes, stirring frequently. When it is warmed through, add the chocolate chips a little bit at a time. Whisk until all the chocolate has melted.

Step 2: Let the Mixture Thicken

  • Keep stirring the mixture for ten more minutes. This may seem like a long time, but it is necessary to achieve the desired texture. 
  • Do a thickness check: take a rubber spatula and draw it down the middle of the batter in your pan to make a line. If it takes the mixture a few seconds to pool back over the line, you are ready. 

Step 3: Chill the Dough

  • Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in your vanilla extract and Irish cream. Add a few drops of green food coloring until you reach your desired level of pigment.
  • Transfer your mixture to the greased baking dish and chill in the fridge for one hour.

Step 4: Prepare Your Rolling Station 

  • While the dough chills, prepare your rolling station by lining up your bonbon cups and filling a plate or bowl with your sprinkles. You should need about 20 no. 3 candy cups for this recipe. 

Step 5: Make the St. Patrick’s Day Treats

  • Now, you are ready to make your brigadeiro balls. Measure out about a tablespoon of the mixture and roll it between your hands to form a ball. Then, roll the ball into the dish of sugar, pressing lightly to coat it evenly. Put the finished ball into a candy cup and repeat the process until you are out of dough. 
  • If you wish, you can “stamp” the top of each of your St. Patrick’s Day treats with a little heart or shamrock. Plunger cutters for fondant work well and are available in lots of shapes and sizes. 
  • Serve your Irish cream brigadeiros immediately with hot coffee or a glass of good Irish whisky. 

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at Texas de Brazil

Want more sweet treats? Visit one of Texas de Brazil’s fine dining locations and be sure to save room for one (or two) of our delectable desserts: cheesecake, papaya cream, carrot cake, creme brulee and more. If you feel like staying in, we’ve got you covered: order catering for pickup to enjoy your favorite churrasco meats, sides, and sweets in the comfort of your own home or office. 

Bolo Rei

bolo rei with one slice on a plate in front

Brazilian Kings Cake

The Kings Cake is a traditional dessert associated with Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day. This is a Catholic observance to commemorate the biblical visitation of Jesus by the Three Wise Men. There are variations around the world, including Brazil, where it is known as bolo rei. It is a simple yet impressive looking cake, with decorations added specifically for their symbolism. 

Bolo Rei History

Although the Catholic Church declared Epiphany a holy day in around 325 AD, the first King Cake is thought to have originated in France much later in the 13th or 14th century. Today, there are two primary versions of French bolo rei: the first is an almond frangipane wrapped in crisp puff pastry; the second, which is more popular in Southern France, is an orange-flavored brioche studded with candied fruits.  

The bolo rei has since made its way to a large part of the Western Christian world, and it is not limited to Epiphany. In New Orleans, for example, it is heavily associated with Mardi Gras and appears on tables throughout the month of January and up to the day before Lent (Ash Wednesday). 

What to Hide in Bolo Rei?

One of the traditions associated with the king cake is a hidden trinket. In most cases, it is a fava bean and/or a small toy. The person who has the slice with the bean must host the celebration the following year. The small toy is for one of the younger guests, who is then crowned  “king” for the day. 

In the past, the bean and toy were baked into the bolo rei. Today, it is best practice to insert them after the cake is baked to avoid surprise melting or unpleasant tastes. Just frost over the spot where you put them or cover them with the dried fruit. 

What is in Bolo Rei?

Bolo rei is more similar to the southern French version. You leaven the cake with yeast and decorate it with candied fruits that are soaked in copious amounts of port wine. Traditional fruits include candied red and green cherries, pineapple rings, and orange peels. Mixed nuts are also added for crunch. The toppings are meant to represent the gifts brought by the Magi to the infant Jesus: the golden crust is for gold, the candied fruit for the sticky myrrh resin, and the spicy aroma to mimic the scent of frankincense. 

Do You Have to Use Fruit in Bolo Rei?

Fruit is not everyone’s cup of tea, especially the dried and candied variety. You can omit the fruit entirely or exchange it for orange extract or cognac to get that citrusy flavor. There are also variations that use chocolate in place of the nuts (yum) and dust the topping with shaved chocolate and powdered sugar. Really, you can customize it however you like. Just don’t forget the fava bean and a little toy. 

Bolo Roi Recipe


3 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp active dry yeast
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2.5 oz butter, softened
3 eggs
½ tsp salt
Zest from one orange
4 oz warm milk
4 oz port wine or brandy
¼ cup mixed candied fruits, chopped ( cherries, apricots, and citrus are good)
1 oz mixed nuts, chopped into small pieces
Whole pieces of dried fruit for the top
Whole nuts, like almonds, walnuts, and pecans, to decorate the top
Confectioner’s sugar

Directions: How to Make Bolo Rei

1: Activate the yeast

  • Heat the milk until lukewarm and dissolve a teaspoon of sugar in it.
  • Add the yeast to the milk-sugar mixture, stir gently, and set it aside for about 10-15 minutes until it becomes frothy.

2: Prepare the filling and topping

  • Soak the chopped candied fruit in a bowl with the port or brandy while you wait for the dough to rise. After 30 minutes, strain the infused fruit and mix in the chopped nuts. 

3: Prepare the dough

  • In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and orange zest.
  • Add the activated yeast mixture, 2 eggs, softened butter, and fruit-and-nut mixture to the dry ingredients.
  • Knead the mixture until it forms a smooth and elastic dough. Cover the bowl with a cloth and let the dough rise in a warm place for about 1-2 hours, or until it doubles in size.

 4: Assemble the Bolo Rei

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
  • Punch down the risen dough and shape it into a ring, leaving a hole in the center.
  • Place the dough ring on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Brush the surface of the dough with 1 tbsp water mixed with the remaining egg. Arrange the whole candied fruits and nuts mixture on top, pressing them gently into the dough.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 25-30 minutes or until the cake is golden brown.

 5: Serve and Enjoy

  • Once baked, remove the Bolo Rei from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack. Before serving, dust the cake with powdered sugar for an extra touch of sweetness. Alternatively, you can mix a couple tablespoons of strawberry jam with a little water to make a syrup to provide both sweetness and shine. 

More Great Brazilian Recipes to Try

Pumpkin Fudge (Brigadeiros com Abobora)

pumpkin fudge balls (brigadeiros) with cinnamon sugar dusting

Brigadeiros are a popular sweet treat in Brazil similar to American fudge. With Halloween fast approaching, most of us here in the US are indulging in all things pumpkin spice, from lattes to donuts. But what about pumpkin fudge? It’s so easy to make and the creamy, indulgent sweet flavor is a perfect canvas for pumpkin. Skip the complicated pies and breads and make a batch of pumpkin fudge balls instead for your next Fallget-together.

Pumpkin Fudge vs Brigadeiros

We are technically making pumpkin brigadeiros today, not fudge. Both utilize condensed milk as the main sweetener and thickener. The main difference is the shape and texture. Brigadeiros are rolled into balls, as opposed to the cut squares of traditional American fudge. They are also softer than fudge, since they typically omit ingredients like chocolate chips in favor of cocoa powder or other non-hardening ingredients, like coconut milk and butter.

The cooking time is also different for brigadeiros vs pumpkin fudge. Fudge requires minimal heat, just enough to melt the ingredients together. For brigadeiros, the condensed milk and other ingredients must be cooked and stirred continuously for up to fifteen minutes to fully thicken the mixture. 

Do Brazilians Even Like Pumpkin Fudge?

You may be wondering about the authenticity of this recipe. After all, most Brazilians do not celebrate Halloween, which is the driving force behind many American Autumn traditions (including all things pumpkin spice).

Likewise, Brazilian Fall does not occur during October, but during our spring months (March-May). So the chilly temperatures we associate with the ever-divisive pumpkin spice latte are irrelevant during the same time period in Brazil. 

So the question is: do Brazilians even like pumpkin sweets, like fudge or brigadeiro? We would say, “yes!” Sweets and new flavors never go amiss in Brazil, and there are plenty of national savory dishes that already incorporate pumpkin. So it seems only natural that a sweet pumpkin dish would be appreciated.

Tips for Pumpkin Fudge Balls

There are a few things you can do to make assembling your round pumpkin fudge/brigadeiros easier:

  1. Don’t Over/undercook: the first step  is to make sure you do not undercook or overcook your mixture. If undercooked, the “dough” will be too soft to roll into balls; overcooked, and it will harden to the point that you can’t scoop any out to roll. 
  2. Grease your hands: coat your hands in a little softened butter as you roll your pumpkin fudge balls. This will keep them from sticking to your palms and fingers.
  3. Adequately chill: chill the dough just long enough to harden, but not so long it becomes impossible to scoop. One hour should be sufficient. 

Storing Pumpkin Fudge

You can make pumpkin fudge balls ahead of time. They will keep well for a week or so stored in a container with a lid. You can also freeze them, but it is better if you just freeze the mixture rather than the fully assembled brigadeiros. If you do want to freeze the individual balls, avoid the sugar dusting until ready to serve. It will absorb into the frozen balls, affecting their texture. 

Pumpkin Fudge Balls Recipe (Brigadeiros com Abóbora)


For the fudge:

One 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 oz pumpkin puree
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp ground cloves
⅛ tsp ground ginger
⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
20 mini cupcake liners

For the coating:

¼ cup raw sugar
tsp cinnamon


  1. Combine the condensed milk, butter, pumpkin puree, and spices in a saucepan and stir over medium heat. You will need to stir constantly to avoid the mixture burning. When the mixture begins to bubble lightly, keep stirring until you can drag the spoon along the bottom of the pan and see it clearly for a few seconds. This should take around fifteen minutes. 
  2. Transfer the mixture to a plate or bowl and refrigerate for one hour.
  3. Mix your raw sugar and cinnamon together and put it in a shallow dish or tupperware for easy coating. 
  4. Remove the hardened pumpkin fudge from the refrigerator. Butter your clean hands and scoop a small amount of the fudge and roll into a bite-sized ball. Roll the ball in the cinnamon sugar, then place in a candy cup. Repeat until you have used up all of your mixture. 
  5. Serve immediately or chill for up to four days before guests arrive. 
  6. Serve with hot coffee or a mug of quentao de vinho

More Delicious Brazilian Recipes to Try:

Chocolate Orange Cake (Bolo de Laranja)

chocolate orange cake

Orange season is fast approaching, and we can’t wait. There is nothing better than the refreshing bite of a ripe navel orange, or a glass of freshly squeezed juice. Oranges also lend themselves nicely to a variety of recipes, both sweet and savory. Today, they are the star of a truly special dessert: chocolate orange cake. 

Brazilian Chocolate Orange Cake

Strictly speaking, this is not a traditional recipe. The original recipe is from Portugal, where it is known as bolo de laranja. The Portuguese climate is especially conducive to growing oranges and other citrus, so many national dishes incorporate these fruits. Recipes vary, but orange cake is oftentimes a sheet or bundt cake eaten on Sundays during Lent. A light dusting of powdered sugar is the finishing touch. 

Brazilians (famous for their sweet tooth) prefer an orange-infused syrup to soak into the finished cake, which is also baked in a bundt or tube pan. We are taking it one step further and making a chocolate ganache to drizzle over the orange cake. 

You may find recipes for bolo de laranja that call for beaten egg whites. This gives the cake an extra lift and a crisper texture. You can certainly do this, but we are feeling lazy and are opting to get our rise through oil, baking powder, and baking soda. 

Oil vs Butter for Bolo de Laranja

You can use butter or oil for your chocolate orange cake, but we recommend oil. Oil tends to produce a more moist, even crumb than butter. This is not only important for mouth feel, but also for presentation when you slice into the cake. You won’t have any pieces crumbling away when you serve this cake. 

If you do wish to use butter, you can use the same amount of melted butter as you would oil. When using solid butter, you will need to use 25% more in volume. Our recipe today calls for ½ cup of oil, so you would use ⅔ cup of butter or other solid fat. 

Ganache for Chocolate Orange Cake

Ganache is simply chocolate slowly melted with cream. The ratio of cream to chocolate for your orange cake will depend on the type you use. In general, dark chocolate (semi-sweet) calls for a 1:1 ratio of chocolate to cream; milk chocolate requires slightly less cream, usually 1 part of cream to two parts of chocolate. 

We recommend the semi-sweet ganache for the bolo de laranja. It is already quite sweet, so the slightly bitter taste of the chocolate helps to off-set that. Plus, the appearance of the glossy dark chocolate makes it a real show-stopper. 

Feel free to add in a little boozy flavor to the ganache as well. We’re adding a splash of Grand Marnier to suit the orange theme, but a little spiced rum would do nicely, too. 

Fresh Orange Juice vs Bottled for Bolo de Laranja

Of course, we are going to recommend fresh squeezed orange juice for this recipe; and with navels coming into season soon, there is no reason to go store bought, in our opinion. Not only is the flavor unparalleled, you will benefit from the antioxidants and enzymes that are destroyed during the bottling process. 

That being said, if you don’t want to squeeze it yourself or you don’t have a good supply of fresh oranges near you, bottled will be fine. Just choose a version with pulp and no added sugar. 

Chocolate Orange Cake Recipe (Receita de Bolo de Laranja com Chocolate)


For the Cake Batter:

2.5 cups AP flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 large eggs
1 cup orange juice
2 cups white sugar
For the Ganache:
9 oz bittersweet chocolate chips or roughly chopped bars
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp Grand Marnier


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flour. 
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add in your eggs, sugar, and olive oil. Mix on low until combined. Add in the orange juice, and mix again until blended.
  4. Add in your sifted dry ingredients and mix on low until just combined. Try not to over-mix.
  5. Grease a bundt pan with non-stick spray or butter and a coating of flour. Pour the cake batter into the pan and place in the center of the oven. 
  6. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the batter comes out clean.
  7. Turn the cake out onto a serving tray and let it cool for at least an hour.
  8. When the cake is cool, make your ganache. Heat a double boiler over medium-high heat and pour in the cream. Let it heat for a couple of minutes, then add in the chocolate. Stir constantly over the heat until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is glossy. Finally, whisk in your Grand Marnier. 
  9. Drizzle the ganache over the top of the cake. Garnish with fresh orange zest and a few fresh orange slices. 

Storing Chocolate Orange Cake

Your bolo de laranja com chocolate will keep under a cake dome or in a storage container at room temperature for two days, and up to ten in the fridge.  

More Great Brazilian Recipes to Try:

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

avocado chocolate mousse with mint garnish

Mousse de Abacate com Cacau 

Avocados have emerged in recent history as a kind of superfood, and for good reason. They are rich in healthy fats, have zero cholesterol, and are chock full of vitamins and minerals. They also have the lowest sugar content of any fruit. This is likely the reason why most Americans tend to favor avocados in savory dishes rather than desserts. Guacamole is, perhaps, the most famous iteration. But Brazilians flip the script and prefer avocados sweetened with agave or prepared in creamy desserts, like today’s avocado chocolate mousse. 

Where Do Avocados Come From?

Before we delve into making our avocado chocolate mousse, you may be wondering about the history of this super fruit. Most experts agree that the avocado was first grown in central Mexico. There is evidence of primitive avocado trees in this region dating back 10,000 years! (Interestingly, our chocolate counterpart in this recipe also originates in Mexico.)

The ancient Aztecs and other indigenous tribes believed the avocado had medicinal qualities, predominantly as an aphrodisiac and also as an aid for indigestion and inflammation. Some evidence suggests avocado was used to facilitate childbirth as well. 

The Maya may have also planted avocado and other fruit trees around their homes in honor of their ancestors, whom they believed returned to the earth as trees. 

Mexico continues to be the largest producer of avocados in the world, supplying 45 percent of the market. The other leading producers of avocado are the Dominican Republic, Peru, Colombia, and Indonesia. 

Brazil also grows avocados, mostly in the Minas Gerais and São Paulo regions. The majority of avocados grown in Brazil are for domestic use only, however. 

What Avocados are Best for Chocolate Mousse?

Like other fruits, there are many varieties of avocado. In Florida, alone, there are over 56 varieties. Although hundreds of cultivars exist, they can all be traced back to either East Indian, Mexican, or Guatemalan origins. Avocados are also divided broadly into two subcategories: Type A and Type B. They are labeled A or B according to when the flowers shed their pollen (A in the afternoon, B in the morning). 

In the US, we typically see Type A cultivars. The most common include:

Haas: a California variety with a pebbly skin and creamy, nutty texture. This is one of the most popular varieties available in American supermarkets and can be found year round. This is the preference for creamy dips and desserts, including our avocado chocolate mousse. 

Choquette: these varieties come from Florida and have a higher water content than Haas, but the overall taste is similar. The skin is smooth and glossy. 

Fuerte: another Southern California variety that is sweeter and more watery than Haas. 

Why Use Avocados In Mousse?

Traditional mousse recipes often incorporate whipped egg whites along with chocolate, vanilla, or other ingredients to make an airy consistency. Egg yolks may be added to the end product for a silky mouthfeel, which is the hallmark of a good mousse. 

Avocados allow you to bypass the use of eggs entirely within a chocolate mousse. They perfectly emulate the rich, silky texture of the egg version, while contributing additional health benefits. Unlike eggs, avocados have zero cholesterol and they impart myriad vitamins and minerals to a dish that might otherwise be considered an indulgence. Furthermore, the use of avocados in mousse and other desserts in place of eggs supports a plant based diet, which is important in the fight against climate change. 

Is Chocolate Avocado Mousse Vegan?

It can be! Our recipe uses heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk, but you can substitute any non-dairy milk you like for the cream and use agave, maple syrup, or honey for the sweetener. 

Can I Freeze Avocado Mousse?

Yes, you can freeze avocado chocolate mousse. When you are ready to eat it, allow it to defrost in the fridge. Do not attempt to thaw it in a water bath or in the microwave, though. It will ruin the texture! The mousse will keep in the freezer for about two months. Once it is thawed, you will want to eat it within a day or two. 

Chocolate Avocado Mousse Recipe


4-5 ripe Haas avocados
4 oz Dutch cocoa powder
3 oz heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 oz sweetened condensed milk
Pinch of salt


  1. Slice avocados in half and remove the pit. Scoop out the flesh using a large spoon.
  2. Put the avocado fruit, cocoa powder, heavy cream, vanilla, agave, and salt into the belly of a blender or a food processor. You can also use the whip option of a stand mixer, but the result will not be as smooth.
  3. Blend all the ingredients together until very smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more cream. If it is too thick, add more avocado. 
  4. Scoop the mixture into individual dishes and chill for at least one hour before serving. 


Other Brazilian Recipes to Try:



Brazilian rabanada dessert stacked in a pyramid with Christmas ornaments

Brazilian French Toast

Rabanada is a deep fried version of French toast that is traditionally served at Christmas in Brazil. That being said, there is certainly nothing wrong with enjoying it year round! Crusty baguette is soaked in a sweet custard, deep fried in oil, then rolled in cinnamon sugar. Trust us, no syrup is necessary for this delectable treat. Rabanada can also be eaten any time of day. In Brazil, it is not necessarily a breakfast item, but more often acts as a dessert treat on special occasions. 

Rabanada from Portugal

Rabanada has its origins in medieval Portugal. The recipe was both a way to abstain from meat during lent and also to make use of stale bread. Portuguese colonists brought the recipe with them to Brazil, where it became a staple item on the Christmas table. Rabanada is traditionally eaten as a dessert, often paired with a small glass of port wine. 

The earliest versions of rabanada were likely made with fresh milk in place of sweetened, condensed milk. There are versions of rabanada from all over the world, with the oldest known reference dating back to 1 BCE. A Roman recipe for aliter dulcia (“another sweet dish”) instructs the cook to soak bread in milk and beaten eggs, fry in oil, and drizzle with honey.

The most famous version is, of course, French toast, which is known as pain perdu in France. This translates to “lost bread,” which is a nod to the usefulness of the recipe in preserving bread that would have otherwise been “lost” due to staleness. 

In many Balkan countries, prženice is a version of rabanada that can be sweet or savory. You can find the dish served with various meats and cheeses, as well as fruit preserves and ajvar, a condiment made from peppers and eggplant. 

Rabanada vs American French Toast

Rabanada has a few significant differences when compared to American French toast. The first is the type of bread used. American French toast favors thick sliced, soft white bread, such as challa, sourdough, or brioche. Most recipes agree it is best to use bread that is at least one day old. Rabanada uses crusty French bread or baguette that has also been out for no more than 24 hours. Using a baguette is preferable since the slices are smaller, making them more manageable for the fryer. 

The custard of rabanada is also different. American French toast uses a mixture of eggs, sugar/honey, cream or milk, and perhaps some cinnamon or nutmeg. Rabanada adds sweetened condensed milk to the custard for an even more decadent taste and creamier inner texture. The mixture is warmed over medium heat, and the eggs are kept separate, used only to briefly coat the bread before deep frying. 

American French toast is usually pan fried in butter or oil, then served with maple syrup or preserves. By contrast, rabanada is deep fried in oil, then rolled in cinnamon and sugar. You can drizzle honey on it if you desire, but it is plenty sweet on its own. 

Rabanada Recipe


1 loaf of day-old baguette (white, wheat, or sourdough), cut into one-inch slices
3 cups of milk or cream
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract or port wine
½ tsp salt
2 cinnamon sticks
½ cup sweetened condensed milk
Vegetable oil for frying

For the Rabanada Coating:

1 cup of granulated sugar
1.5 tablespoons ground cinnamon


  1. In a small saucepan, whisk together the milk or cream, salt, condensed milk, and cinnamon sticks.
  2. Heat the mixture over medium low heat until you reach a simmer. Then remove it from the heat and allow it to cool. When it is cool, remove the cinnamon sticks and add the port or vanilla extract.
  3. In a bowl, whisk the eggs together.
  4. Heat the oil in a deep fryer or large pot to a temperature of 365 degrees fahrenheit.
  5. Prepare a plate or bowl with your mixture of cinnamon and sugar.
  6. Soak the slices of bread in the milk mixture for a few seconds on each side. Then coat each slice in the egg mixture.
  7. Fry the sliced rabanada bread in the hot oil until golden brown. Roll each piece in the cinnamon sugar, then transfer to a wire wrack or a tray lined with parchment. Serve immediately with hot coffee or a glass of port. 

More Great Brazilian Recipes to Try:


Cornstarch Cookies

Chocolate Coconut Cornstarch Cookies (Sequilhos)

Sequilhos are a popular cookie in Brazil made with cornstarch in lieu of wheat flour. Like many Brazilian desserts, they also incorporate condensed milk. The traditional recipe uses just four simple ingredients. We are going to have a little fun and add some shredded coconut and melted chocolate for flavors similar to a Belgian macaroon. These cornstarch cookies are the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon cup of tea or coffee; and, thanks to their omission of flour, they happen to be naturally gluten free!

What Does Cornstarch Do in a Cookie Recipe?

Wheat flour has gluten, which can become tough and chewy if over mixed. By contrast, the use of cornstarch results in a tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture. It is crumbly, not chewy or snappy. The addition of condensed milk and butter adds to the silky mouthfeel. 

Can I Use Tapioca in Place of Cornstarch in a Recipe?

These days, many individuals are concerned about the use of genetically modified versions of popular foods like corn. If this is a concern of yours, you can look for cornstarch that is certified non-GMO, or substitute another vegan flour, such as tapioca. As a thickener, tapioca flour is more efficient than cornstarch. In other words, if you were using it in a sauce or soup, you would need to add about half as much as you would cornstarch. 

In the case of our sequilhos, however, you can substitute an equal amount of tapioca flour. We are merely using it as an absorbing agent to create a dough, so it is not necessary to calculate different amounts. 

Do Cornstarch Cookies Need to Be Flattened?

Yes. Traditional Sequilhos cornstarch cookies are pressed down once with the back of a fork. Since the dough is dense, this helps the cookies cook evenly and in a uniform, disc shape. If you want, you can press the dough down twice with the fork to mimic the look of American peanut butter cookies. 

Can I Use Sugar in Place of Condensed Milk?

Yes, but you may need to experiment with the amount of cornstarch you add. This will also affect the number of cookies you can make. Because you will be reducing the amount of liquid overall, you will likely need to either use less cornstarch or add a little more liquid in the form of water, milk, or cream. The ultimate consistency should be thick enough to roll with your bare hands. Experiment with various amounts to achieve the right texture. 

Recipe Cornstarch Cookies With Coconut and Chocolate (Sequilhos)


2.5 cups cornstarch
6 oz unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
½ cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup of sweetened, shredded coconut
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Mix together the softened butter and condensed milk.
  3. Add in the cornstarch a half a cup at a time, thoroughly combining each time. Keep in mind that you might not need to add all of the cornstarch. If the dough is thick but not crumbly, you have the right texture. If it is too sticky, add more corn starch. 
  4. Add in 2 tablespoons of the shredded coconut and mix.
  5. Chill the dough for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the dough from the fridge, and roll it into 1 inch balls. Roll each ball in the shredded coconut, then place on a lined baking sheet a couple inches apart.
  7. Flatten each of the balls by pressing down with the back of a fork. They should be about ½ inch in height. 
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the edges just start to brown. 
  9. Cool cookies on a wire rack for at least ten minutes before you make your chocolate drizzle.
  10. In a microwave safe bowl, add the semisweet chocolate chips. Microwave on high for thirty second bursts, stirring after each round. Repeat until the chocolate is completely melted.
  11. Dip each of your cookies on one side into the melted chocolate. Return them to the wire rack to cool. Alternately, use a spoon to drizzle chocolate over the top of the cornstarch cookies.  

More Delicious Brazilian Recipes to Try:

Brazilian Pave (No Bake Vanilla Cake)

Maria brand digestive biscuits for Brazilian pave

Pavé is a traditional dessert in Brazil. It is made with layers of cream or custard and digestive biscuits soaked in brandy. You can add additional layers of fruit, chocolate, or coconut to make it extra special. One of the best things about Brazilian pavé is that it requires no baking and you can make it ahead of time so you are free to mingle with guests.

What Does “Pavé” Mean?

The layers of the pave cake are said to resemble the latticework of cobblestone streets or walkways. The word “pavé” itself is from the French, meaning “paved.” 

Pave vs Trifle

You might notice some similarities between the Brazilian pavé and a traditional English trifle. Both desserts layer cookies with cream or custard. The trifle, however, usually incorporates sponge cookies, or “lady fingers.” Some versions of pavé may also use lady fingers, but digestive biscuits are more common. Traditional pavé also does not have the layers of fruit found in most trifle recipes. 

Additionally, trifle is often served in a special dish: a large bowl set atop a stem with a base. It resembles a large goblet or wine glass. Pavé is a shallower dessert and does better in a standard baking dish or casserole. 

What Are Digestive Biscuits?

Digestives, or digestive biscuits, are a kind of semi-sweet cookie popular in many parts of the world. They originated in Scotland in the 19th century as a means of aiding in digestion (hence the name). It was thought that the use of baking soda gave the biscuits an antacid property, while malt extract aided in the breakdown of starch. 

Today, the digestive is more popular as a  tea-time biscuit: perfect for dunking in a sweet cup of Earl Grey in the afternoon. 

You can find digestives in most grocery stores in the US. The Maria cookies in today’s recipe are typically found in the international aisle, along with other favorites from Mexico. You can also find them online. 

Brazilian Pave Recipe


5 cups milk
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon brandy
2 tsp vanilla extract
40 or so Maria cookies (or other digestive biscuits)
1.5 cups heavy whipping cream
1.5 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 cup shredded, toasted coconut (optional)


  1. In a large saucepan, whisk together 3 cups milk, 2 cans sweetened condensed milk, the 4 egg yolks, and 1 tsp of vanilla extract. 
  2. Heat the mixture over medium-high until it reaches a rolling simmer.
  3. Make a cornstarch slurry by mixing another cup of milk and the two tablespoons of cornstarch in a separate bowl or cup. Pour the slurry into the saucepan and whisk to combine. 
  4. Once the custard has thickened, remove the saucepan from the heat.
  5. Pour a thin layer of the custard to cover the bottom of a baking dish (half an inch or so).
  6. Mix together the final cup of milk, the brandy, and ½ tsp of vanilla extract. 
  7. Take your Maria biscuits and dunk each in the brandy mixture for a few seconds before layering them over the custard in your baking dish. 
  8. Top the biscuits with another layer of custard, then add another layer of brandy-soaked biscuits. 
  9. Repeat this process until you have four or five alternating layers of biscuits and custard.
  10. Make the whipped cream topping: in the bowl of a stand mixer, put the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Whip with a whisk attachment on high until stiff peaks form.
  11. Top your pavé with whipped cream and sprinkle with toasted coconut, if desired. 
  12. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to one week. 

Other Great Brazilian Recipes to Try:


Grilled Pineapple Slices

grilled pineapple rings on cutting board

Pineapple on the Grill with Brown Sugar Glaze

The sweet, succulent fruit we call “pineapple” has its roots in South America, where it was first cultivated along river drainage routes between Paraguay and southern Brazil. Today, it is grown all over the continent as well as other tropical parts of the world. The fruit has a unique and delicious flavor that lends itself to a variety of recipes and cooking methods. Grilled pineapple slices are particularly refreshing on their own or over a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

Pineapple History

Archaeologists have found evidence of pineapples dating as far back as 1200 BC in parts of Peru. The Mayans and Aztecs began to cultivate it in Mexico between 200 BC and 700 AD. By the 1400s, it existed as an important food resource among most indigenous tribes of Mexico, South, and Central America. 

The pineapple was introduced to Europeans by way of Christopher Columbus, who brought it back to Spain and dubbed it the piña de Indes, or “pine of the Indians.” The Portuguese colonists also brought pineapples home and introduced them to India and other parts of South Asia. 

Europeans, for their part, were fairly obsessed with the strange fruit of the colonies. It proved excessively difficult to grow in non-tropical regions, like Britain and France, where only the wealthiest of citizens could afford them. In fact, pineapples were considered such a status symbol in Europe that they were rarely eaten. Lucky owners would use them as centerpieces for as long as possible until rot necessitated they be thrown away. 

Pineapple became more mainstream by the 1900s, when plantations in the West Indies began producing enough quantities to reduce cost. 

Pineapples and Hawaii

Pineapples were brought to Hawaii by the Spanish in the 18th century, although it was not commercially grown until the late 19th century. James Dole and the Del Monte Company both established operations for growing and canning the fruit on the island of Oahu, which dominated pineapple production until the 1960s. 

Hawaii continues to grow and export pineapple, but not in nearly the same quantities. Today, the Philippines is actually one of the leaders in pineapple export, especially since the acquisition of Del Monte Foods in 2014. 

Nevertheless, the symbol of the pineapple in Hawaii remains ubiquitous. Many times, foods are given the label “Hawaiian” simply due to the presence of a few chunks of pineapple (a controversial pizza comes to mind). 

Fresh vs Canned Grilled Pineapple Slices

You can use canned pineapple for this recipe, but we recommend fresh. Canned pineapple is often submerged in a sugary syrup, which will affect the final texture and taste of the dish. The extra sugar may also cause the slices to burn or cook unevenly. If you do decide to use a canned version, look for ones that say “in 100 percent pineapple juice” and not “in heavy syrup.”

Sugar Glaze for Grilled Pineapple

Today, we will be coating our grilled pineapple slices in a brown-sugar, butter, and cinnamon glaze. The glaze forms a delightfully caramelized crust around the soft, sweet fruit. That being said, pineapples are naturally high in sugar. If you want to limit your sugar intake, you can omit the glaze altogether. Just make sure you use a non-stick spray to keep your pineapple slices from sticking. 

Grilled Pineapple Slices Recipe


One fresh pineapple, peeled, sliced, and cored (or one 20z can of sliced pineapple)
⅓ cup melted butter
⅓ cup brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla extract


  1. Heat a gas grill, charcoal grill, or grill pan over medium high heat. Brush liberally with oil or non-stick spray. 
  2. In a mixing bowl, stir together the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Brush the mixture on the top and bottom of each of the pineapple slices.
  3. Grill the pineapple slices for 2-3 minutes per side, until they have beautiful grill marks and are golden brown. 
  4. Serve warm as-is or with vanilla ice cream. 

More Great Recipes to Try


Brazilian pamonha on plate with fresh corn in the background

Brazilian Sweet Corn Tamale Recipe

Pamonhas are a unique Brazilian dish made from sweet corn. Like many other corn dishes, they are widely consumed during the Festas Juninas, since the festival coincides with the nation’s second harvest of corn. But the pamonha is also eaten year round as a simple, delicious treat that can be customized to suit any taste. 

Where Did Pamonha Come From?

Pamonha are first recorded as having been made and eaten in the Minas Gerais region of Brazil. Although it was probably consumed well beforehand, the first recipes for pamonha arose during the 19th century.   

The name “pamonha” likely comes from the Tupi language, an indigenous language of South America. In the Tupi-Guarani dialect, the word pa-muna translates in English to “sticky,” which might describe the consistency of the dish. 

Pamonha vs Tamales

Pamonha shares certain characteristics with the tamale, a traditional dish of Mesoamerican origin. Both the pamonha and tamal utilize a corn-based paste that is steamed or boiled within a corn husk. Both can be filled with various ingredients, like meat or vegetables. 

The main difference between a pamonha and a tamal is the type of corn that is used and how it is processed. Tamales use masa, a mixture made from field corn that has been dried then soaked in an alkaline solution (usually limewater). The soaked kernels are rinsed with water, and the resulting product is called hominy. Hominy can be ground into a fresh dough or dried into a meal known as masa harina. For tamales, masa is blended with spices, water or stock, and lard. 

Pomonha, on the other hand, uses fresh, sweet corn as the main ingredient. Sweet corn has a naturally higher sugar content, which means it lends itself to dessert dishes. Traditional pamonha, for example, are made with grated coconut, coconut milk, butter, and sugar and served as-is for a sticky, sugary treat. 

Are Pamonha Always Sweet?

While traditional pamonha are often sweet, you can easily adapt this recipe to accommodate savory fillings. Pamonha salgada, for example, is a cheese-filled variation. It uses less sugar in the dough and adds parmesan cheese and a good amount of melty white cheddar. (It is not dissimilar in taste to Brazilian cheese bread.) 

The simplicity of the basic recipe for pamonha means you can customize it however you like. Experiment with different flavors and fillings and have fun with it!

Pamonha Recipe


4 cups fresh, sweet corn kernels (about 6-7 ears of corn)
¼ cup masa harina
5 oz unsweetened coconut milk
1 ¼ cup white sugar
½ tsp salt
4 oz grated sweetened coconut
2 tbsp melted butter
Corn husks for wrapping
Corn straw or kitchen twine for tying


  1. Peel the husks from your corn. Rinse the larger leaves and put them in a saucepan. Cover the husks with water and bring the pan to a boil. Cook for three minutes, then remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.
  2. Slice off corn kernels with a sharp knife. 
  3. When you have enough corn kernels, place them in a blender with the coconut milk and blend until a smooth liquid forms. Add the sugar, salt, butter, grated coconut, and masa and blend until smooth. 
  4. At this point, the mixture should be sticky, but malleable. If your mixture is too liquid, add a little more masa. If it is too tough, add a little more coconut milk. 
  5. Put a blanched corn husk with the glossy side up onto the counter. The wide end should be facing away from you.
  6. Spread about ¼ cup along the top half of the corn husk. A good method is to scoop the amount you want using a spoon, then put a layer of plastic wrap over the dough and press it down using your fingers.
  7. Fold one long side of the husk over the dough, then the other long side. Finally, bring the bottom half up to form a pouch. Secure with corn straw or twine.
  8. Continue this process until you have used all of your dough.
  9. Put your pamonhas in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium-high. Simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the husks begin to take on a yellowish appearance.
  10. Remove the pamonha from the water and let them cool slightly before serving. 

More Great Recipes to Try:

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