For chef, owner, and chief sweet officer Maya Zellman, Brigadeiro is more than just dessert. Though a native of Los Angeles, her whole life has been filled with trips to visit her Brazilian family and special memories — such as birthday parties, weddings, family dinners and cafezinho (afternoon coffee breaks) — which were made even sweeter by every bite of her Aunt Marli’s Brigadeiros.
The history of Brigadeiros [bree-gah-de-roh] goes back to the 1940s. During the lean years around World War II, access to fruits and sweets were limited, hence the need to get creative with just a few simple ingredients — cocoa powder, unsalted butter and condensed milk. Thanks to a few ladies in Rio de Janiero, Brigadeiro was born.