So today we are making Dulce de Leche!!!
Dulce- whatay you think?? Well its basically a caramel candy or caramel milk..Dulce de leche translates, literally, a jam of milk, as in, milk jam, as in, milk candy or caramel, as I can’t believe you’re still reading this and not cooking yet. Okay, maybe not that. It’s especially popular in South America, notably Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, all places that I now need to eat my way through with a spoon.
If you’ve never had dulce de leche before, you’re in for a treat — a sticky, gooey, sweet treat
So your task of the day is this:
Step away from the cupboard;
It’s time to break up with the can of sweetened condensed milk;
Its not the can, Its us.
Because I’ve tasted the other side, the one where you take that milk in your fridge, the sugar that’s already in your pantry, a bit of salt, the smallest snippet of vanilla and boil them together until it smells like the heavens exhaled in your kitchen and the mixture becomes the most complexly flavored thick copper caramel with a deliciousness will bring tears to your eyes. And no, I am not being melodramatic; you’ll see.
It’s the perfect weekend project because you’ll want to set a couple hours aside, but only about 20 minutes of it will require actual work. If you’re probably ready to reintroduce decadence into your life, in measured quantities. I think this is how you should do it.
Because there’s nothing quite like it. Sure, I’d follow a trail of my salted caramel sauce to the ends of the earth, but there are times when you’re looking for something even more rich and decadent. And easier too; I know that melting sugar in a dry pan can be terrifying. This requires no such nerve-wracking processes; it is literally as easy as boiling water for the first hour or so, and then you’ll keep an eye on it and stir it regularly until it is just a slip of its original volume, intense magnification of the original taste, and oh so gooey on a crepe...a piece of toast.. grapes dipped in it...pn crackers.., on ice cream or on a spoon. Okay, fine, mostly a spoon. :P
4 cups milk
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
a pinch of salt
Stir together 4 cups milk, 1 1/4 cups sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda in a 3– to 4–quart heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until caramelized and thickened, about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours.Add the salt. (After about an hour, stir more often as milk caramelizes, to avoid burning.) Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
- Baking soda is not mandatory here, but it’s supposed to help the final caramel not have any lumps, as well as enhancing the brown color.
- Some versions contain vanilla, others contain cinnamon.
- If you don’t have a fresh vanilla bean, stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract right before straining and cooling it.
- Keep the mixture at a brisk simmer; if too hot, the mixture will boil over, if too low, it will take forever. Cook, checking in on it occasionally (every 15 minutes) to give it a stir to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom, until the mixture turns a light brown, about 1 hour.
- Check and stir the mixture more frequently (about every 5 minutes) as it begins to take on a caramel-brown color and thickens to the consistency of maple syrup, then plant yourself in front of the stove and stir the mixture until it reaches a deeper copper color.
- Use immediately, or cool completely, storing in the fridge for up to one month with an airtight lid.
- Rewarm as needed to soften the caramel; a microwave is efficient but you can also warm the jar in a 1- to 2-inch puddle (shorter than the jar lid, of course) of simmering water in a saucepan until it re-liquefies.
- If mixture seems too thick to pour even after fully reheating, you can stir in a little water, 1 teaspoon at a time.