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Traditionally served at birthday parties and special events, beijinho is a sweet Brazilian coconut candy. A type of truffle, the candy is most often round in shape. While known to be served at children's parties, this confection is a favorite of both young and old alike.
The name of this small, sweet treat in Portuguese means a little kiss. Small sweets, or docinhos, are served at these children's parties, which are events attended by the entire family, from grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins down to the youngest children. All are included. Not only are these candies served, but they are wrapped in festive-colored papers and used as decorations on the birthday table.
The beijinho is similar to the brigadeiro in the way that it is made and in its shape. The basic ingredients of the two candies are the same. Named after the Brigadier General Eduardo Gomes, the brigadiero, however, is always made with cocoa powder, while the beijinho is flavored with coconut.
To make the beijinho, butter, sweetened condensed milk, and coconut are mixed together thoroughly before the cooking process is begun. The mixture is heated on the stove over a low flame until it becomes smooth and contains no lumps. The candies will then be formed by rolling tablespoon-size amounts into balls. The balls are then covered in large granulated sugar for a sparkly effect or covered with grated coconut. As a decorative piece, some choose to place a single clove on the top of the candy before it is served.
Also known as branquinho, which means white in Portuguese, the beijinho paste is often eaten before it is rolled into balls. At this stage, it is also used to fill baked goods, as a filling between layers of a cake or as an icing. This is done before the paste cools so that it is more easily spread.
Beijinho is used to fill dried plums. After the plums are filled, they are rolled in sugar to coat them. This sweet treat is called olho-de-sogra, which means mother-in-law's eyes. Along with the beijinhos, olho-de-sogra is served at parties and festive events.
While this candy is quite simple to make, it is also sold at small specialty stores called doceiras. These doceiras also sell the salgadinhos. Salgadinhos are small pasties and appetizers that are served along with the sweet confections at traditional Brazilian parties.