Dulce de Leche


Only two people in my life would not blink an eye when casually mentioning eating caramel by the spoonful (or nutella or microwaved cheese for that matter) and these two happen to be some of my absolute favorites.
Anna has been known for bullying her guests flying in from Argentina (!) into bringing jars of Dulce de Leche. And my father doesn’t consider eating either caramel or whipped cream straight from the bowl anything out of the ordinary. It might be these intimate things you know about the people close to you that makes them seem even more lovable. And more specifically, in this case their slender waistlines make all uncannily charming.

Considering I am now – finally – living close to both of them I can’t help to sneak them as much treats as possible. Besides, boiling Dulce de Leche is one of my favorite things to do, not because it is so much fun, but merely because there is so little effort involved while the result altogether feels like an achievement (it almost makes me feel as productive as doing laundry, in which case I am also only loading the machine).

I make Dulce de Leche by boiling cans of condensed full fat sweetened milk for up to 3 hours. The longer you cook it, the sturdier and darker it gets. It is one of the simplest ways to make caramel.There are other – more complicated – ways to make Dulce de Leche, that often include fresh milk. In case you are looking for that slight tang you would get from fresh milk, you could best imitate this by adding a spoonful of creme fraiche to the finished caramel.

Eat it with ice cream (any, really), on top of your brownie or as a
layer between to cakes (mixed with ground almonds for example).

A good example of baking with Dulce de Leche is this brownie recipe of David Lebovitz.
Dulce de Leche
  • can of condensed full fat sweetened milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt, plus to sprinkle on top
  • 2 tablespoons of coffee or vanilla extract

Place the can in a pan and cover with water. The metal of the can might react with the pan, so don’t use your best one.
Put the gas on and let the water boil for three hours. Do take care that the can is not boiling dry and keeps covered in water. In case you let the cans boil dry, and not much can go wrong (besides letting the cans boil dry and having all explode, still giggling a bit about that dad :)).
After the mixture is cooled down, scope it out of the cans into a larger bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract or coffee to smoothen the mixture.
The coffee really brings a nice bitter tone to the intensely sweet caramel, whereas vanilla extract deepens the flavor. Whatever you do, please do not leave out the salt as it brings a huge difference to the end result. You can mix in 1/4 teaspoon of salt per can and sprinkle a little on top after serving.

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