Coffee Fudge Cups (Brigadeiro Mole de Café) is a quick and comforting Brazilian dessert made with staple ingredients such as sweetened condensed milk, unsalted butter, cocoa powder, instant coffee, and heavy cream.
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The Day of the Dead is coming up. In several western countries, especially Mexico, Central, and South America, it is a day to pray for and remember friends and family members who have departed. Food and beverages make up a vital part of the tradition. To celebrate this day, we have prepared quick yet comforting and delicious Coffee Fudge Cups, known in Brazil as Brigadeiro Mole de Café. It is truly one of those must-have treats!
Growing up in Brazil, I remember going to the cemeteries to visit my departed ancestors every November 2nd, which is a national public holiday there known as Dia de Finados in Portuguese, Dia de los Muertos in Spanish, or Day of the Dead in English.
This is the yearly date on the calendar that we honor their memory by bringing flowers and candles to their graves and tombs… as well as praying and singing hymns in favor of their souls. In Brazil it is a sober gathering, charged with a feeling of deeply nostalgic longing (saudade). Some would share a kind story about the departed, while others could not contain their tears.
Later on in the day, people usually attend a Catholic mass in honor of the dead, and afterwards eat one or more comforting dishes such as our Coffee Fudge Cups. In contrast to some other Latin American countries, we don’t have a standard set of traditional foods to celebrate the date. The dishes vary from person to person– whatever most speaks of comfort, remembrance, and celebration of a life well lived. Mine has always been flavored brigadeiros, such as the one that we are sharing the recipe for today.
I do, however, remember coffee being a national staple– pretty much served in just about every household. At my Grandma’s, who was of Portuguese descent, coffee would come accompanied by buttered, toasted French bread, eggs, a typical Northeast Brazilian cheese, coffee cakes, and sometimes a sweet treat such as caramel flan. At my Mom’s, chocolate or any related treat (e.g. brigadeiros) was the treat for the kids. After all, children also need comfort on such an emotional day.
If you live in Mexico or the United States, you may be used to different traditions. After living in the U.S. for more than 15 years and having many Mexican friends, I came to understand both the differences and similarities of the day in those countries.
Although it is a public holiday both in Mexico and Brazil, in which we pray for and remember the dead, the differences are remarkable. The first notable difference starts with the dates. In Mexico it is a three-day event: On October 31 (All Hallows Eve), the children make a children’s altar to invite the spirits of departed children to return for a visit. On November 1 (All Saints Day), the adult spirits would supposedly pay a visit. On November 2 (All Souls Day), families decorate their relatives’ tombs in the cemetery.
Second, Dia de los Muertos in Mexico is a fiesta that includes building private altars using skulls, marigold flowers, tissue decorations, incense, the deceased’s possessions, and also their favorite food and beverages (bread of the dead, sugar skulls, fruits, nuts, etc). It is not a somber event, but rather something to celebrate the beautiful life that the departed had — one of the reasons why it can even take a humorous tone as some remember funny events about the dead.
As you can see, different traditions to celebrate the same event… but both filled with love and memories of those who made our lives a magnificent event.
Well, Nestlé, beloved by many generations in Brazil, has long been a part of my life… producing ingredients that make this and many other events special. As my family and I gather to share great memories and honor our loved ones, we enjoy these delicious gluten-free Coffee Fudge Cups.
They are prepared on the stovetop with only 5 required ingredients — a mixture of sweetened condensed milk, unsalted butter, cocoa powder, NESCAFÉ® CLÁSICO™ Coffee (100% pure coffee), and heavy whipping cream.
Believe it or not, our treat is cooked within 10 minutes. All that one has to do is basically combine all the ingredients (except the heavy cream) in a pan, and stir constantly until until the mixture thickens and starts to peel away or show the bottom of the pan when you scrape it with a wood spoon.
Then, the heavy cream is whisked in and the mixture is poured into cups. After cooling, our Coffee Fudge Cups are traditionally topped with chocolate sprinkles or alternatively, can be topped with chocolate chips such as NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels (no artificial flavors or colors).
And here comes the final touch. Our table was adorned with BUTTERFINGER® Peanut Butter Cups Skulls (no artificial flavors or colors) resembling the traditional sugar skulls– a mix of Brazilian and Mexican traditions. That is why understanding and appreciation for different cultures makes life so much richer! 😉
I loved the convenience of being able to purchase all the products right from the Walmart. And so will you! The NESCAFÉ® CLÁSICO™ Coffee is available in the Coffee aisle, the NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels in the baking aisle, and the BUTTERFINGER® Peanut Butter Cups Skulls in the seasonal/holiday aisle.
Well, what are your traditions? I would love to hear all about them, including your favorite food recipes to celebrate the date.
For my fellow Brazilians, may the day bring saudades of those who are no longer among us in the flesh… For my Mexican and Mexican-American friends, Happy Dia de los Muertos!
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