Cultural sweets you can sink your teeth into

May 25, 2011 (CHICAGO)

The tiny Chimney Cake Island bakery in Edgewater make cylindrical cakes by hand, formed over a dowel and then baked in a special, imported oven. The Transylvania and Romanian cakes are coated with a range of toppings from cinnamon sugar, nutella and chopped walnuts.

In the North Park neighborhood, Beijo De Chocolat carries a number of handmade truffles and other bite-sized sweets. But their claim to fame is a sweet Brazilian tradition--the brigadeiro.

"A brigadeiro is the traditional Brazilian dessert and it is a very creamy ganache, it's like a fudge. It's absolutely spectacular, you literally, it makes your mouth water," said Beijo de Chocolat owner Laura Case. "It is different from a truffle because a traditional truffle is used with heavy whipping cream. Now a brigadeiro is made with condensed milk which makes it a totally different category of chocolate."

Case rarely offers the old-school version, since they take much more time to hand-roll.

"A traditional Brazilian brigadeiro you take the center and you roll it in chocolate sprinkles. What I do is I actually encase it in either dark chocolate or milk chocolate which gives it a whole new feel, a whole new level of chocolateness that's amazing," she said.

She works with both dark and milk chocolate, making sure to knock out the air bubbles. Then she lets them cool to harden. The brigadeiro filling is then piped in, and another layer of the shell is added to completely encase the soft, sweet interior.

"The best way to have a brigadeiro is to come in, you get the dark chocolate brigadeiro, you get a cup of espresso and you sit back and you just enjoy the ride," said Case.

In rare cases, they'll make the traditional brigadeiro rolled in sprinkles, if you call far enough ahead of time. But typically, you'll find just the ones encased in the harder milk or dark chocolate shell.

Beijo De Chocolat
3334 W. Foster Ave.

Chimney Cake Island
1445 W. Devon Ave.

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