Motivating creativity: Baking for the imagination (brigadeiro – Brazilian chewy bonbons)
This week we have a treat – also from my childhood. Easy to make, costs little, looks incredible in birthday parties and yum yum, tastes magalicious.
It’s a Brazilian sweet, common enough anywhere you go in the country, cheap enough that no one feels any sting over it.
And did I say yum yum?
The name is brigadeiro. Since I can’t think about a translation for it, I’ll call it chewy bonbons, because, that’s what they are.
But for those of you who are wondering what does creativity and writing have to do with chewy bonbons, let me tell you why:
Sometimes when I’m writing a particularly good scene, I lose myself in the story so completely; the world around me fades away. It’s a wondrous thing, to lose oneself in the make-believe.
Sometimes, those scenes come naturally to me, a slideshow of ideas that keep pouring in while I try to keep up.
Sometimes, those ideas contrast with each other, and I have to choose one.
Here, I stall.
What should I do when both ideas are good enough but completely different?
I follow the thread down the line. I think about the next scene, and how the follow up will eventually meet the ending of the book. I imagine both alternatives and play it in my head – dialogues and all – and choose the best one. Sometimes it’s a long process, and sitting on the couch distantly watching space while I figure it out scares the kids away.
So I bake – get myself busy in the kitchen.
Today I’m going to share that sweet recipe with you.
– 1 can of condensed milk
– 3 tblsp – full – of bitter cocoa powder
– 1 tblsp butter
– About 7.5 ounces of granulated chocolate 200g)
Method: (that’s right, that’s all you’ll need)
Pour the contents of the can into a pan – large enough for you to tilt to check the bottom later on – add cocoa powder and butter. Mix in low heat until the cocoa and butter have dissolved. For beginners, leave the heat medium to high until it begins to boil, all the while mixing. Once it begins to boil, lower the temp, returning it to medium high every now and then. Don’t stop mixing. It will be ready once you tilt the pan and the entire content slide as one piece (without leaving boiling bubbles behind).
Pour the contents into a Pyrex to cool for a couple hours. Spoon into balls and coat them with granulated chocolate.
Ps: I’m having trouble uploading an image. If anyone tries it before I’m successful there, please leave a photo.
Jina S. Bazzar