Ninho: The Ingredient That Makes Brazilian Candy Taste So Good
Over the years, many customers have asked us about Ninho—an ingredient commonly found in our Brazilian candy and dessert recipes. For example, we make Ninho brigadeiros and Nutella + Ninho truffles (pictured above), and some of our gourmet cakes in a jar, like the Red Velvet and Strawberry o Creme, are layered with a creamy Ninho frosting.
While it sounds somewhat exotic, Ninho is simply a powered whole milk produced by Nestle. In Brazil—as well as throughout Latin America, Asia and Africa—Nestle’s many varieties of powdered milk provide a shelf-stable option for milk and is a popular, protein-packed drink given to children (one variety is fortified with vitamins and minerals). Ninho is used in Brazilian candy and desserts to provide a smooth and delicious milky flavor.
What makes the cream in our Strawberry o Creme cake in a jar so delicious? You guessed it—Ninho!
Ninho is a lot like vanilla for two reasons. One, just as vanilla and chocolate are often considered “opposite” flavors in the United States, Brazil’s “white” counterpart to chocolate is often Ninho. Second, like food containing vanilla extract is considered vanilla-flavored, sweet treats containing this ingredient are often referred to as Ninho-flavored and therefore called "Ninho."
So why can’t you find Ninho on your supermarket shelves? That’s because outside of Brazil Nestle sells their powdered milk under the name “Nido.” Look for the bright yellow cans next time you are in Target, Walmart, or walking through the Latin-American section of your supermarket.
In the United States, Ninho is sold by Nestle as Nido. But this is the distinct bright yellow can no matter what you call it!
Now that you know that Nido or Ninho is used all around the world, you may be wondering where it came from. According to various accounts on the history of Nido, the dried milk product was invented by Nestle in Switzerland. It was first introduced to consumers in 1944. It is interesting to know that the story of the Nestle company starts with Henri Nestle, a pharmacist and entrepreneur, who sought to develop a source of nutrition for infants who were unable to breastfeed. (But Ninho should not be confused with proper baby formula. It is not recommended for children under 12 months). Today, Nido is a produced primarily in the Netherlands.
Curious to try Ninho for yourself? It could be a life saver to have in your pantry when you are in the middle of cooking something and realize you are out of milk. Try it in your mashed potatoes or as a substitute for creamer in your coffee. Or bring it with you on your next camping or boating trip so you can have milk at hand when you don’t have access to a refrigerator.
So many creative uses for Ninho could be found online. We have seen it used in everything from an Indian carrot pudding recipe to a clever addition to pizza crust. Here’s a trick: When using Ninho in a recipe, add the powder to the dry ingredients, then use the amount of water recommended on the packaging at the time the recipe calls for milk.
If you decide to experiment with Ninho in your kitchen, let us know if you taste the difference! Tell us about your experience by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.