Tag Archives: sweetened condensed milk

Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (and Treats): Easy Homemade Caramels

Homemade Caramels

DAY 12: Homemade Caramels

Soft and chewy homemade caramels. This recipe uses sweetened condensed milk, so they come together faster than starting with a true caramelized sugar base. This method also produces very consistent results, with little chance of gritty caramels or seizing.

If you don’t have (or don’t want to use) sweetened condensed milk, try this recipe for Salted Caramel Sauce, and cook it to about 245°F.

The hardest part of making these is not popping one in your mouth every time you walk past their container.

This recipe (cooked to a lower temperature, about 235°F) can also be used to make a homemade filling for these Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints:

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RECIPE:

Homemade Caramels

Homemade Caramels

1 cup unsalted butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups brown sugar (light or dark)
1 cup light corn syrup
2 Tbs heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract, or seeds from 1 vanilla bean
½ tsp sea salt

Line an 8×8” pan with parchment paper, allowing the paper to hang over the edge on 2 sides.

Combine butter, sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, corn syrup and heavy cream in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Place a candy thermometer on the side of the pan. Reduce heat to medium low, maintaining a low but continuous simmer, until caramel reaches 245°F, stirring occasionally. This will take about 25-30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt.

Pour hot caramel into lined pan (do not scrape the sides of the cooking pan when you pour it into the square pan). Cool, uncovered, at room temperature until completely cooled and firm. Remove from pan and cut into pieces. Wrap individual pieces in waxed paper.

 

CARAMEL FILING OR SAUCE: To use as a filling for thumbprint cookies, or as a caramel sauce, cook caramel to 235°F (soft ball stage) for caramel filling, or slightly lower for a caramel sauce.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (and Treats): Easy Chocolate Nutella Fudge

Nutella Fudge

DAY 7: Chocolate Nutella Fudge

Can you ever go wrong adding Nutella to a dessert?

Here is a perfect example: a rich, creamy fudge made even more delicious by adding Nutella. Plus lots of toasted nuts. And nuts are protein, so that makes this healthy, right?

You can also make this completely smooth and creamy, but I love the addition of chopped toasted nuts. I like lots of nuts per bite, so I use 2 full cups of chopped nuts, but if you just want the nuts sprinkled here and there, use less. My ideal fudge would be a pile of nuts with just enough chocolate to hold the nuts together in one piece!

I used a small cookie scoop to scoop the warm fudge into miniature foil cups. You can also spread it into an 8” square pan and cut it into squares.

Nutella tip: to easily measure Nutella, warm the jar of Nutella in the microwave for 20-30 seconds (be sure that all of the foil seal is removed first!). Spray a measuring cup with oil or cooking spray, then pour warm Nutella into the measuring cup.

RECIPE:

Nutella Fudge

Chocolate Nutella Fudge

1 cup Nutella
8 oz bittersweet chocolate (about 1 heaping cup bittersweet chips)
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
3 Tbs salted butter
1/8 tsp salt (omit salt if using salted nuts)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 cups chopped toasted nuts, optional **

If you are making fudge in a pan, lightly grease an 8” square pan with butter. Line the pan with parchment paper, letting it hang over the edge on 2 sides. If you are making individual fudge cups, lay 48-64 miniature foil baking cups on a rimmed baking sheet or tray.

Place Nutella, chopped bittersweet chocolate, sweet milk and butter in the top of a double boiler. Heat water in the bottom of the double boiler to a simmer, reduce heat to low and place the top of the double boiler with the chocolate mixture over the water. Stir until mixture is melted and smooth. Stir in salt, vanilla and chopped toasted nuts.

Spread warm fudge into the prepared pan OR use a small cookie scoop (or spoon) to drop about 1 tablespoon of warm fudge into each foil cup. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until fudge is firm.

If fudge was prepared in a pan: For easier cutting, run the knife under hot water, then pat dry before using to cut the fudge. Run the knife along the edges of the pan and use the parchment paper to lift out the block of fudge. Rinse knife in hot water again, dry. and cut the fudge into 1” squares (cut larger squares, if desired). Rinse and dry knife before each new cut.

Makes 48-64 servings

**To toast nuts: Coarsely chop nuts and spread into an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake at350°F for 5-10 minutes.

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Making Magic Memories: Chocolate Chip Treasure Cookies

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For those who spent any time growing up in the 80’s,  Magic Cookie Bars were a staple of any self-respecting home kitchen. They were one of my favorite cookies as a child: layers of graham cracker crumbs, coconut, nuts and chocolate chips, all magically bound together by the king of all ingredients: sweetened condensed milk.

Later, as a young mom, I found (in a magazine ad) the recipe for the drop-cookie version of those same bars. After making them that first time, I knew I was in heaven! All of the magic of the bars, in a portable, stackable, school-lunch packable, even freezable little package.

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The graham cracker crumbs and sweet milk make these a wonderfully soft cookie. In fact, they get softer with time. I think they taste best that first day, fresh out of the oven, when they still have a slight crispiness on the outside. Once they sit in a covered container, the entire cookie becomes soft. Still fabulous, just soft.

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Much thanks to Borden and Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk for two great recipes. Eating these cookies always makes me nostalgic for those days of making Magic with my Mom!

021910 094-1 Don’t you just love a cookie with nooks & crannies?

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RECIPE:

Chocolate Chip Treasure Cookies
(adapted from Borden Eagle Brand)

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
¾ cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
½ cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups shredded coconut
1-2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Mix graham cracker crumbs, flour and baking powder. Set aside. Beat together sweetened condensed milk and butter. Stir in dry ingredients. Stir in coconut, chocolate chips and nuts.

Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 8-10 minutes. Cool cookies for about 1 minute on pan before removing to rack to cool.

Makes about 3 dozen

 

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Dulce de Leche

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**Below are six different ways to make Dulce de Leche. Click on the “METHOD” titles to go to the individual blog posts for more detailed instructions and pictures**

 

STOVETOP METHOD:

Ingredients:

  • unopened cans of sweetened condensed milk

Preparation:

  1. Start with a large stockpot. Place a rack in the bottom of the pot (mine has a steamer insert that I used).
  2. Remove the labels from your sweetened condensed milk. Place unopened, label-free cans  into the bottom of your stockpot. You can use as many as will fit in one layer in your pot.
  3. Fill pot with room temperature tap water. Cover cans completely with water. The water level should be at least 2 inches above the cans.
  4. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 3 hours.
    ***The water level must remain above the top of the cans. If not—this is when you end up cleaning caramel from exploding cans off of the top of your ceiling and every surface beneath it*** To ensure that you don’t forget that you are cooking when you go off and start another project, set a timer for 30 minutes. Check water level (add more boiling water, if necessary), then set the timer again for another 30 minutes. Continue setting the timer in 30 minute increments until the 3 hours are up.
  5. Remove pan from heat, remove lid, and let water cool for 30-60 minutes before removing cans.
  6. Unopened cans can be stored on a pantry shelf (use a marker to label cans). Opened cans need to be refrigerated.

CROCKPOT METHOD:

Ingredients:

  • Unopened cans of sweetened condensed milk

Preparation:

  1. Remove labels from sweetened condensed milk cans. Do not open cans.
  2. Place cans in the bottom of a crock pot.
  3. Cover cans completely with room temperature water. **Be sure that water completely covers cans**
  4. Place the lid on the crock pot and cook on low heat for 8 hours. (The water level in my crock pot stayed the same for the entire cooking time, so there was no need to add additional water.)
  5. Turn off crock pot, remove lid and let water cool 30-60 minutes before removing cans.
  6. Unopened cans can be stored on a pantry shelf (use a marker to label cans). Opened cans need to be refrigerated.

OVEN METHOD:

Ingredients:

  • One can of sweetened condensed milk

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Pour one can of sweetened condensed milk into a glass pie plate. Cover the pie plate securely with foil.
  3. Place foil-covered pie plate in a larger baking pan. (I used the bottom half of a broiler pan.)
  4. Place the pans on an oven rack and add hot water until it reaches the halfway mark of the pie plate.
  5. Bake for 60-90 minutes, adding more water if necessary

DOUBLE BOILER METHOD:

Ingredients:

  • One can of sweetened condensed milk

Preparation:

  1. Pour one can of sweetened condensed milk into the top of a double boiler.
  2. Fill the bottom of the double boiler with water and bring to a boil.
  3. Cover pan and cook over low heat for 50-60 minutes (or longer to get desired consistency).
  4. Stir mixture occasionally, until thick and caramel-colored.

PRESSURE CANNER METHOD:

Ingredients:

  • Cans of sweetened condensed milk

Preparation:

  1. Wash canning jars (a quick run through the dishwasher is a good way to sanitize them). Place new canning lids in a small pan of very hot water (bring water to a boil, then remove from heat and add lids).
  2. Open sweetened condensed milk cans and pour into canning jars, leaving 1/2” headspace. (Try not to lick the remaining sweet milk off of the can lids now-you don’t want to incorporate any germs into the jars. There will be plenty of time for licking when the jars are processing.)
  3. Wipe rims and edges of jars with a damp cloth to remove any milk that dribbled.
  4. Place lids and rings on jars.
  5. Place filled jars on a rack in a pressure canner (YOU MUST USE A PRESSURE CANNER, NOT A BOILING BATH CANNER). Add 3 quarts of room temperature water. DO NOT BRING WATER TO A BOIL BEFORE ADDING JARS. Since you are not doing a “hot pack” (hot jars; hot filling; hot water), the jars WILL break if you place them directly into boiling water. Then you end up with a very large pot full of sticky, sugar milk/water. Leaving you to clean all of the other jars and the pot and start over. Not fun.
  6. Place the lid on the pressure canner and bring the water to a boil over high heat.
  7. After you have a steady steam flow through the vent pipe for 10 minutes, place the pressure regulator on the vent pipe.
  8. Continue to cook on high until pressure reaches 15 lb.
  9. Lower heat to maintain a constant 15 lb pressure. Keep an eye on the pressure gauge and adjust heat to maintain 15 lb of pressure. Cook for 20 minutes at 15 lb pressure. I used both pint and half-pint jars, and they both came out the same after 20 minutes.
  10. Turn off stove and remove pressure canner from heat. DO NOT OPEN. Let the pressure drop until the air vent/cover lock has completely dropped and no steam escapes when the pressure regulator is tilted (this took about 30 minutes for mine).
  11. When pressure is completely reduced, remove pressure regulator and open canner. Remove jars and set on the countertop on a clean towel.
  12. Let sit for 24 hours. Check seal. Refrigerate for added food safety.

HOMEMADE METHOD
(Adapted from Alton Brown):

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups (1 quart) whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 vanilla bean, split

Preparation:

  1. Combine the milk and sugar in a heavy saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Do not stir.
  3. Remove from heat and use a skimmer to remove foam (a spoon or small ladle will work if you don’t have a skimmer).
  4. Add baking soda and split (but not scraped) vanilla bean to the pan.
  5. Cook, uncovered, over low heat for one hour, stirring often and skimming foam as necessary.
  6. Remove vanilla bean and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches desired thickness.  This will take about 60 minutes, depending on how thick you want your caramel. It will burn easily at this point, so be attentive!
  7. The dulce de leche is close to done when a spoon dragged through the mixture leaves a trail. It will thicken a lot as it cools. Test for consistency by dropping a small spoonful into a cup of ice water, or by placing a few drops on a plate that has been placed in the freezer.
  8. The original recipe calls for straining through a fine mesh strainer, but I skipped this step and it was still nice and smooth.

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Dulce de Leche (Six Ways) PART THREE

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Here we are at the last installment of making your own Dulce de Leche. You should definitely be feeling the sugar-rush effects now. Today we move into slightly more involved ways of making Dulce de Leche. Try PART ONE and PART TWO for some easier preparations. These last two methods take a little bit more effort, but are well worth it (every now and again, at least). They also involve a few “special equipment” items.

Neither of today’s methods involve unopened cans or water baths, so all is safe. Kind of. Unless you count the possibility of botulism. But we will get into that in a minute. Scroll to the bottom for my final recommendations.

Today we are looking at making dulce de leche:

  • in jars in a PRESSURE CANNER
  • HOMEMADE

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PRESSURE CANNER

(from a can but sealed in jars)

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In trying this method, I was hoping for the same taste as the boiled unopened cans. But the cans do not come out of a boiling water bath looking very attractive. So how to present these as attractive gifts? Pressure canning is what I came up with. This is another method with a big DISCLAIMER. The USDA does NOT recommend canning milk products. I did find several sites giving instructions (not USDA approved) for canning regular milk and cheese. Granted, most of these were homesteading sites. So I am throwing caution to the wind and trying it. I figure that on my side in the not-ending-up-with-botulism argument are the following points:

  • I am starting with an already canned milk product, not fresh milk.
  • There is so much sugar in sweetened condensed milk that it would take a lot to make it spoil.
  • I have canned meat successfully, and it is approved by the USDA if using a pressure canner.
  • Butter can be canned, and it is a milk product.

These are my justifications for making this and letting the jars sit on a shelf in my basement. As part of this ongoing experiment, I will force myself to open a jar of this dulce de leche every month or so to make sure they are still edible. But my official recommendation to you is to refrigerate these jars after canning them. Then there is no possible food-safety issue.

Also, please refer to the instruction manual for your specific pressure canner before attempting this recipe. I am including the basic instructions for using mine. DO NOT USE A BOILING BATH CANNER. THAT WILL DEFINITELY EARN YOU A CASE OF FOOD POISONING.

  1. Wash canning jars (a quick run through the dishwasher is a good way to sanitize them). Place new canning lids in a small pan of very hot water (bring water to a boil, then remove from heat and add lids).
  2. ODSC03600pen sweetened condensed milk cans and pour into canning jars, leaving 1/2” headspace. (Try not to lick the remaining sweet milk off of the can lids now-you don’t want to incorporate any germs into the jars. There will be plenty of time for licking when the jars are processing.)
  3. Wipe rims and edges of jars with a damp cloth to remove any milk that dribbled.
  4. Place lids and rings on jars.
  5. DSC03602Place filled jars on a rack in a pressure canner. Add 3 quarts of room temperature water. DO NOT BRING WATER TO A BOIL BEFORE ADDING JARS. Since you are not doing a “hot pack” (hot jars; hot filling; hot water), DSC03585the jars WILL break if you place them directly into boiling water. Then you end up with a very large pot full of sticky, sugar milk/water. Leaving you to clean all of the other jars and the pot and start over. Not fun.
  6. Place the lid on the pressure canner and bring the water to a boil over high heat.
  7. DSC03606After you have a steady steam flow through the vent pipe for 10 minutes, place the pressure regulator on the vent pipe.
  8. Continue to cook on high until pressure reaches 15 lb.
  9. Lower heat to maintain a constant 15 lb pressure. Keep an eye on the pressure gauge and adjust heat to maintain 15 lb of pressure. Cook for 20 minutes at 15 lb pressure. I used both pint and half-pint jars, and they both came out the same after 20 minutes.
  10. Turn off stove and remove pressure canner from heat. DO NOT OPEN. Let the pressure drop until the air vent/cover lock has completely dropped and no steam escapes when the pressure regulator is tilted (this took about 30 minutes for mine).
  11. DSC03611 When pressure is completely reduced, remove pressure regulator and open canner. Remove jars and set on the countertop on a clean towel.
  12. Let sit for 24 hours. Check seal. Refrigerate for added food safety.

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HOMEMADE

(no cans here)

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This is the first “recipe” for dulce de leche that I’ve made with actual ingredients. This is adapted from a recipe from Alton Brown. It is a lot more time consuming than any of the other methods, but is it ever worth it! This was truly decadent! Don’t you just love the vanilla bean flecks? As the other methods produced a caramel that was more of a dipping or spreading consistency, I wanted this one to be one that I could pour. DSC03755 On ice cream, for example. The only tricky part of this recipe is knowing when to remove the dulce de leche from the heat. Leave it too long and you end up with caramels suitable for cutting (not all bad either) and more susceptible to turning “sugary”. Don’t cook it long enough and you end up with a brown-colored-sweet-milky syrup. Not really dulce de leche.

The only two drawbacks to this method are the time involved (lots of standing at the stove stirring the pot), and the fact that you can only make one batch at a time, which will need to be refrigerated.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups (1 quart) whole milk (don’t skimp here!)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 vanilla bean, split

Preparation:

  1. Combine the milk and sugar in a heavy saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Do not stir.
  3. DSC02526 Remove from heat and use a skimmer to remove foam (a spoon or small ladle will work if you don’t have a skimmer).
  4. Add baking soda and split (but not scraped) vanilla bean to the pan.
  5. DSC02532Cook, uncovered, over low heat for one hour, stirring often and skimming foam as necessary.
  6. Remove vanilla bean and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches desired thickness.  This will take about 60 minutes, depending on how thick you want your caramel. It will burn easily at this point, so be attentive!
  7. DSC03652 The dulce de leche is close to done when a spoon dragged through the mixture leaves a trail. It will thicken a lot as it cools. Test for consistency by dropping a small spoonful into a cup of ice water, or by placing a few drops on a plate that has been placed in the freezer.
  8. The original recipe calls for straining through a fine mesh strainer, but I skipped this step and it was still nice and smooth.

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Concluding Thoughts:

While this was a fun experiment, it is not recommended for your waistline. Thank goodness I had a recovering swine flu victim (who was down 15 pounds) that I could push this onto to “test” for me. He is back up to normal weight now. You’re welcome, Brian!

My recommendations:

The homemade dulce de leche was definitely superior to the ones made with sweetened condensed milk. But I am likely to only make this on special occasions, when I plan on eating it directly on top of something where the flavor will really shine (and not incorporated into a recipe-that would be a huge waste). It is pretty time consuming, as it needs to be watched (and sometimes stirred) throughout the entire process.

The pressure canner method is a great way to prepare dulce de leche that you plan on giving to friends. Great flavor.

I didn’t care for the oven method at all (no more oven water baths for me), and was only slightly more impressed with the double boiler method. But I may have to give that one another chance.

Practically, the stovetop and crock pot varieties were easiest to make and the best tasting (non-homemade) varieties. They were easy to prepare, and I love that you can do a bunch of cans at one time, and then have them available to grab out of your pantry any time.

The crock pot version gets my overall best pick. That will be my go-to dulce de leche from now on. But the homemade version wins hands down on flavor. So it will definitely have a place in my recipe files.

 


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Dulce de Leche (Six Ways) PART TWO

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Yesterday we began the journey into dulce de leche and the many ways to prepare it at home. PART ONE included the first two methods that I tried (cooking an unopened can on the STOVETOP and in a CROCK POT), and I had no exploding cans and delicious dulce de leche!

The next two methods that I tried were much less risky, but as is almost always the case in that risk/reward relationship, I didn’t like these two nearly as well. They both involved more work for what I thought was an inferior result. But maybe you will have better success.

On the menu today are dulce de leche made in the:

  • OVEN
  • DOUBLE BOILER

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OVEN

(from a can, but not still in the can)

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This was my least favorite of all of the dulce de leche that I made. It involves a water bath, and for some reason, I am severely water-bath-challenged. My foil-wrapped cheesecakes cooked in a water bath always end up a soggy mess. So I go to great lengths to avoid sloshing boiling water around in my oven. But for the sake of science, I put on my big girl pants and faced my fear. Once. Not again.

The instructions for making this are fairly simple. First I will include what you should do. Then I will share, by sad experience, what you should never do.

    1. Copy of DSC02392 Preheat oven to 425°F.
    1. Pour one can of sweetened condensed milk into a glass pie plate. Cover the pie plate securely with foil.
    2. Place foil-covered pie plate in a larger baking pan. (I used the bottom half of a broiler pan.)
    3. DSC02400Place the pans on an oven rack and add hot water until it reaches the halfway mark of the pie plate.
    4. Bake for 60-90 minutes, adding more water if necessary

It all seems simple enough, right? Up to that point everything was great. Then I tasted it. It didn’t taste bad, it just still tasted like a can of sweetened condensed milk. Now, don’t get me wrong-I’ve licked my share of Eagle Brand lids (don’t even pretend that you’ve never done it). But it wasn’t rich, decadent, creamy caramel. So I put the foil back on (not a fun adventure)and cooked it for another 30 minutes (2 hours total now). Still not what I was hoping for. So now for the don’t list:

  • DON’T take a broiler pan with boiling hot water out of the oven. It will slosh. All over. Let it cool in the oven before removing.
  • DSC02459When your caramel isn’t dark enough, DON’T remove the foil and put it back in the oven. Bad plan.

     

  • However, once you have burned the top of your dulce de leche, DO pick off the burnt pieces and eat it anyway.

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DOUBLE BOILER

(from a can, but not still in the can)

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This method went much better for me than the oven method, but I still wasn’t thrilled with the taste of the final product. I cooked it twice as long as recommended, and it still had a very milky taste.

  1. DSC02375 Pour one can of sweetened condensed milk into the top of a double boiler.
  2. Fill the bottom of the double boiler with water and bring to a boil.
  3. DSC02438 Cover pan and cook over low heat for 50-60 minutes (I cooked it for 100 minutes to get this consistency).
  4. Stir mixture occasionally, until thick and caramel-colored.

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Both of these methods produced an edible dulce de leche, but it just wasn’t the same quality as that made from pressure-induced caramelization (not sure that’s a real word?). The milk taste was still very evident in the end product. But if you don’t want to risk exploding cans, these are the methods for you. For me, I’ll take my chances!

Tomorrow- my last two experiments with Dulce de Leche, and two of my very favorites!

 


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Dulce de Leche (Six Ways) PART ONE

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So what do you do when swine flu rages in your house for SIX WEEKS,  often leaving you housebound with feverish, coughing demanding children (and one spouse), eventually leading to bronchitis and pneumonia?  I mean besides trying to hide Tylenol in Gatorade for the medicine-hating little people in the house.

What else – experiment with Dulce de Leche!

With hours of time on my hands, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to play with milk, sugar, vanilla beans and lots and lots of sweetened condensed milk.  Eagle Brand sweet milk was on sale 2/$3, so I stocked up! I will admit to some embarrassment explaining to the check-out girl why I had 20 cans of sweet milk in my cart. Can’t people just mind their own business in the grocery store?

The following post is not for the faint of heart, or risk-adverse home chef. We are talking about risking exploding cans, shattered jars, and possibly a little botulism thrown in for good measure. Not to mention the risk of covering your kitchen in oozing-sticky-wonderful-caramel heaven! Or the temptation to sit and eat this stuff straight out the can.

Dulce de Leche (pronounced Dool-say De Lechay) is a caramelized milk that originated in Latin America. Nestle sells it premade in a can, often found in the ethnic section of the grocery store (by the Latin foods). But, as I have found, it is very easy and much cheaper to make at home. I will show you how to make it SIX different ways, so there is something here for everyone, even those who are not willing to risk exploding cans. And for the true gourmet, who wouldn’t dream of starting with a can, there is even a homemade option (which really is to die for).

In short the six ways that I tried are:

  • STOVETOP (in the can)
  • CROCKPOT (in the can)
  • OVEN (from a can, but not still in the can)
  • DOUBLE BOILER (from a can, but not still in the can)
  • PRESSURE CANNER (from a can, but in a jar)
  • HOMEMADE (no cans here)

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This is “the can”. Who knew that such an innocuous looking can could have the potential for such greatness!

 

So, on to the results. You might want to get up and make yourself a snack first; this is an exhaustive study of the process of turning milk and sugar into one of the most wonderful creations ever! Today I will share the first two (danger of exploding cans) methods. Besides the taste, what I love about these two methods is that you can make a lot at one time. And then the cans are shelf stable. They sit waiting, patiently, for when you need a can for that perfect recipe (and you don’t have a few hours to whip up fresh dulce de leche) or when the apple on your lunch plate is just calling out for something to dip itself in.

Stay tuned later this week for methods three – six.

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STOVETOP (in the can)

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This method is easy, but is only for those who like to flirt with danger. It is actually only dangerous if you forget to check on your water levels, but I will give my disclaimer now that Borden (the company that makes Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk) does NOT recommend this method for making Dulce de Leche. Since they don’t recommend it, I don’t either (but I will still make it!)

  1. Start with a large stockpot. Place a rack in the bottom of the pot (mine has a steamer insert that I used). Many websites that give this method do not use a rack in the pot. The first time I made it without a rack, and the caramel in the bottom of my cans ended up slightly on the burned side. I did use a terrible thin pot, so if you have a nice thick one, this might not be a problem for you. But the second time around, I used a rack and the caramel cooked evenly through the can. The rack also kept the cans from making terrible noise as the water came to a boil.
  2. DSC01777Remove the labels from your sweetened condensed milk. Place unopened, label-free cans  into the bottom of your stockpot. You can use as many as will fit in one layer in your pot.
  3. Fill pot with room temperature tap water. Cover cans completely with water. The water level should be at least 2 inches above the cans.
  4. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 3 hours.
    ***The water level must remain above the top of the cans. If not—this is when you end up cleaning caramel from exploding cans off of the top of your ceiling and every surface beneath it*** To ensure that you don’t forget that you are cooking when you go off and start another project, set a timer for 30 minutes. Check water level (add more boiling water, if necessary), then set the timer again for another 30 minutes. Continue setting the timer in 30 minute increments until the 3 hours are up.
  5. Remove pan from heat, remove lid, and let water cool for 30-60 minutes before removing cans.
  6. DSC01751.jpgUnopened cans can be stored on a pantry shelf (use a marker to label cans). Opened cans need to be refrigerated.

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CROCKPOT (in the can)

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As this is another “cooked in an unopened can” method, I will refer you to the disclaimer above. . .  Now that I have not recommended that you use this method, let me tell you how much I loved this! It was easy. easy. easy. And delicious!

  1. Remove labels from sweetened condensed milk cans. Do not open cans.
  2. Place cans in the bottom of a crock pot.
  3. Cover cans completely with room temperature water. **Be sure that water completely covers cans**
  4. Place the lid on the crock pot and cook on low heat for 8 hours. (The water level in my crock pot stayed the same for the entire cooking time, so there was no need to add additional water.)
  5. Turn off crock pot, remove lid and let water cool 30-60 minutes before removing cans.DSC02492
  6. Unopened cans can be stored on a pantry shelf (use a marker to label cans). Opened cans need to be refrigerated.

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Both of these methods produced a dulce de leche that was delicious! It was thick and rich and a wonderful caramel color. Of the two, cooking it in the crock pot was the easier method.  Even though it takes a little longer, it was easier than worrying about maintaining water levels. If you do choose to try one of these methods, just remember to keep cans completely covered with water and let the cooking water cool slightly before removing cans. This will help to reduce “temperature shocks” which could cause the cans to burst.

 


 

 

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Filed under Canning/Freezing, Condiments/Sauces, Desserts