Birthday bonbons and other treats for my 8-year old!

My little guy turns "8" today!  Needless to say, I want to give my son a great big shout-out on his special day:
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, J!! 
Homemade brownie ice cream cake
It's funny but I'm always referring to my son as the "little" guy here but I don't call him that in "real life".  It may occasionally be my big guy or "big man" when I'm talking to him.  But I am the queen of nicknames so I call him by many things.  

In all seriousness, he is growing up so fast!  Having a child speeds up time (and ages you) like nobody's business!  We were at the library the other day  checking out a few books when the lady asked him what grade he'll be going into next Fall.  When he answered "third", she was really surprised and said: "weren't you just in kindergarten!"  That just about sums it up because it really was yesterday that he was in kindergarten and now he's finishing second grade and looking forward to third.
Some homemade birthday treats: Ice cream cake, birthday bonbons, and Ninjago cupcakes
So here we are again, another milestone!  A child's birthday is a major thing.  We did some celebrating on Saturday since his birthday, today, is a school day.  I wanted to make a few treats for the special occasion.  I'll be posting the recipe for the ice cream cake next - it's very similar to the one I made last year.  

As per the birthday boy's request, I also made Ninjago cupcakes again, this time in blue and green.  He was really into Ninjago for a while and is still a fan (he'd love some new episodes to watch but it seems the TV series was a short one).  He actually asked if I could make gold ninjas but since I don't have gold food coloring, he settled for these.  The recipes and directions for the cupcakes are available in an old post.
I think he got a kick out of these little treats; I feel like I'm the real beneficiary to get to see the quirky smile on his face!  And he was a good sport, taking some pictures with us earlier in the day so I can blog about it here.  When it came time to blow out the candle and actually dig into our birthday goodies, we switched over to Star Wars disposable tablecloth and plates!  With a few old-school streamers floating overhead, it was a festive little celebration.  Happy birthday, sweetie pie!
Now for today's post, I'd like to talk birthday bonbons!  I just love the sound of that!
Brigadeiros: Fudgy, chocolate, caramel-like birthday bonbons
These are Brazilian Brigadeiros - chocolate bonbons or candies typically served at children's birthday parties in Brazil.  I saw these on a show once and just loved this tradition the Brazilian people have of serving these festive truffle-like candies at kids' birthday parties and other celebrations like weddings.  I'm told that every serious Brazilian children's birthday party has to have brigadeiros.  

My first boss out of college is something of an expert on Brazil.  He used to vacation there at least 2-3 times a year but while he educated me plenty about Caipirinhas (the drink), Carnival, and women's beach attire, he never did mention brigadeiros.  So while I can't personally confirm whether they really are such a staple at children's parties, it sure sounds like a good idea to me!
The cool thing about brigadeiros is they are made with just 3 main ingredients: sweetened condensed milk, a little cocoa powder, and a bit of butter, plus toppings such as sprinkles of your choice to roll them in.  As you can tell from the ingredient list, they are a cross between fudge and caramel.  As my son would tell you: "they are fudgy, 'caramelly', and chewy."  He really liked them and you can see they are appealing to children on looks alone.  Upon trying one, I think his exact words were "mmmm....mmmm" with a nod.  The birthday boy approved.  To me, they're a sweet sentiment and just fun to look at because sprinkles tend to make people smile, don't you think?


These birthday bonbons are sweet little treats.  I made half a recipe for just a handful to have on-hand as a birthday sentiment.  With only 3 ingredients, the trick to this recipe is to watchfully cook the ingredients together over medium-low to low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until you reach the right consistency.

The right consistency is where the mixture thickens and holds together, no longer liquid and spreading loosely when you stir.  You'll feel the resistance as you stir when it's ready.  Plus, it will be shiny and thick and dense.  You want to be able to pinch a bit together, roll it round, and have it stay in the shape of a ball without spreading.  This was my first time making brigadeiros and I'm no expert but I think it turned out fairly well.
It should be ready in a little over 10 minutes.  As I got closer, I turned the heat down to make sure I didn't burn any at the bottom of the pan (particularly since I was working with a small amount).  When it's done,  transfer the mixture to a greased bowl, let it cool, and then scoop away.
The fun part is in decorating.  I choose some sprinkles and I think colorful ones are ideal for a child's birthday.  Mine came out nearly 1 1/2 inch round.  It might be a good idea to make them a little smaller since they are sweet bites and you probably don't want kids to have too many but I wanted them to fit the paper candy liners/baking cups that I had.
I found a greased melon baller worked really well for scooping out some of the candy.  Then I rolled it in clean, greased hands to shape into a ball before rolling them thoroughly in sprinkles.  You can get creative with your topping.  Rather than sprinkles, try any other typical truffle toppings such as cocoa powder, confectioners' sugar, chopped nuts, or even coconut flakes.  

Keep the brigadeiros in the refrigerator if you're not serving them right away but be sure to leave plenty of time to bring them back up to room temperature before serving so that they are soft and chewy in the center like they should be.  


Recipe:

Brigadeiros (Brazilian Birthday Bonbons)
Adapted from Food.com

- Makes roughly 15-20 depending on size -

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
For rolling: variety of sprinkles or try confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, chopped nuts, coconut flakes, etc.

Lightly grease a bowl or baking dish and set aside.

Stir the sweetened condensed milk, butter, and cocoa powder together in a medium-size saucepan.  Cook over medium-low heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon.  

Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens enough where it comes together and no longer spreads in the pan.  Lower the heat slightly towards the end as it thickens, if necessary.  When done, it will be thick, dense, shiny, and you'll feel resistance as you stir.  (It's important to cook it enough so that it holds its shape when you form the balls.)  This should take a little over 10 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to the greased bowl and let cool to room temperature.  You can place it in the refrigerator to speed up the process.  Lightly grease a spoon or melon baller as well as your hands.  Scoop out a round of the mixture and roll it into a 1 to 1 1/2 inch round ball (or whatever size you prefer) with your hands.  

Roll the candy thoroughly into sprinkles or other topping of your choice and place each one into a paper candy cup or liner.  If not serving right away, store brigadeiros in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Make sure to bring them to room temperature before serving so that the bonbons are soft, fudgy, and chewy in texture.  



42 comments:

  1. happy birthday to your not-so-wee eight year old! i can't even talk about how much i agree about having children and time flying and it aging us (although i'll say in some ways - like hair - it has aged me. in other ways - like personality - it has made me 12 years old) :) third grade! that's such a big deal.
    i love these brigadeiros! i've never heard of them, but what a great treat to make for kids...absolutely love the sprinkles and the look of them.

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    1. Thanks, Shannon! I'm thinking of somehow incorporating your mini donuts to his birthday cake next year (if I can wait that long). He will totally "eat that up" because my son LOVES himself some donuts!! I'm keeping it under wraps as a surprise though and not showing him your adorable cakes...yet! : )

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  2. All of the treats you made for your son's birthday are just so adorable! But the bonbons are my favorite. I'm a sucker for anything sprinkle-covered.

    Happy birthday to the little guy!

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    1. Thanks, Joanne. Just "birthday bonbons" makes me smile. Sprinkles are awesome. : )

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  3. Happy birthday to your little boy! He is one lucky guy to get all these beautiful, delicious looking treats! The bon bons are SO cute and sound delicious, and those cupcakes are absolutely adorable. In my 5th grade class, we study Egypt in history, and every year we make mummy cupcakes that look a little bit like those! Hope your son has an awesome day!!

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    1. Marie, you sound like an awesome and popular 5th grade teacher!! I can totally picture the mummy cupcakes.
      And between my son and I, I'm definitely the one that got lucky.

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  4. Happy Birthday to your boy!
    Fudgy, caramelly...that's just what I love too!

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    1. Aww...I think you are a kid at heart, Angie! : )

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  5. Aww the bonbons look so festive; I love the sprinkles! And the Ninjago cupcakes!! I wish my mom could make such fun desserts for my birthday ;) A very happy birthday to your little man!

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    1. I have this funny feeling my son will grow up to be a vegetarian who never eats sweets...like the complete reverse of how he is now. : )
      I love sprinkles too...they make everything look more festive.

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  6. Happy Birthday to your little one.
    The cupcakes are too adorable and the bon bons look amazing!

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    1. Thanks, Asmita. It was fun making everything (even though my husband would tell you I obsessed about the timing of everything too much). : )

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  7. Such a fun treat! Perfect for a party. You took such care with his birthday treats--such a good mom!

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    1. I don't know...sometimes I think he'd probably be just as thrilled with store-bought treats. I know he probably wishes I'd buy more Oreos and such for him! : ) But it sure makes me feel good to do something for him. Thanks!

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  8. Happy Happy birthday to your lil guy Monica! Yes, time does seem to fly by - our little ones grow too fast. Love the ice cream cake and Ninjago cupcakes! Your lil guy is so lucky to have such an awesome mom :)
    These Brazilian Bonbons look so fun too! Such decadent poppable treats, your little guy must have been over the moon - looks like the party was a success :)
    Have a great week :)

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    1. Thank you, Kelly. The little one has had his fill of celebration, I think. They do grow fast and each year, it seems to speed up, as you know...

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  9. Happy Birthday to your son! :) They grow-up fast, don't they? My nephew will be 11 this November. I still remember when he was born & how tiny he was. I was in the delivery room with my sister. Now he's almost the same height I am! Your son is a lucky boy to have a Mom who cooks and bakes. I love the Ninjago cupcakes (too cute!) and the festive birthday bonbons. I love anything bite size and small. :) And the brownie ice cream cake looks mouthwatering too! Have a great week Monica!

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    1. I have a nephew (the oldest in our family) who recently turned 10 and I can remember when he was essentially the first baby in the family. Time flies.

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  10. Oh my gosh, I love brigadeiros! Some people think it is too sweet, but I think it is PERFECT :) What a fun birthday treat for your little man!

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    1. I'd never heard of brigadeiros until I saw it on a cooking show one time. I just loved the way they look and the festive sentiment behind having them for kids' birthdays. The little man got a kick of it.

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  11. Happy birthday to your "little" boy!!! Omg, those ninja cupcakes are so so cute. They totally made me smile :) And these bonbons look so simple, but so delicious...which makes me very hesitant to make them ;)

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    1. Thank you, Amy! I grew up having condensed milk in Hong Kong. Best way I like to have it is on buttered white toast but I realize now there are a ton of uses for it, including these brigadeiros. I try to stay away, too...it's too "dangerous". : )

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  12. Happy Birthday to your son! My son just turned 7 year old, so we have a similar age boy! It's really nice to have a mom who bakes so well! I hope I can bake a nice birthday cakes and cupcakes for my children like you do!

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    1. Your kids are lucky to have all the amazing food, cute bento boxes, and treats that you make, Nami!

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  13. Hehe snap we both did brigadeiros! I loved how easy and delicious they were! And happy birthday to your son!! :D

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    1. Yes! : ) I love the idea of the brigadeiros...very sweet and cute. Thank you!

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  14. Wow, all of these treats look spectacular! What a lucky birthday boy!

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  15. Oh Monica seeing your brigadeiros brought me many memories of my childhood in Brazil. Brigadeiros was essential in every birthday party.
    Happy Birthday to your son :D, and have a wonderful week ahead!

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    1. Juliana, thank you for confirming these brigadeiros really are a staple at children's birthday parties in Brazil! What a sweet little tradition. I only just made the connection between you and Brazil from your last post! : )

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  16. Happy BDAY to your son, he sure got spoiled with some amazing treats!!

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    1. Thanks, Natalie. It's hard to impress that little one but he got a kick out of it.

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  17. Yum!
    I want some!
    Happy Birthday to your son!
    www.rsrue.blogspot.com

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  18. I see, you have guests from both Japan and Brazil, what a party!
    Happy birthday to your son : )!

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  19. What a fabulous celebration cake for your little man :D

    Cheers
    CCU

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  20. Those ninja cupcakes are too great. I'm not a little boy but I'd like ninja cupcakes on my birthday too!

    Beautiful celebration and treats! :)

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    1. We're never too old for cupcakes of any kind! ; )

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