Dulce de leche (pronounced DOOL-say day LAY-chay) is Spanish for "milk candy" (word for word it is candy of milk). It tastes quite like caramel but with the additional taste of cooked milk. (Technically, dulce de leche is a type of caramel.) It's often used in liquid form as a sauce for ice cream, cakes, cookies, just about anything that needs a sweet topping. In solid form, it is most often eaten as a tasty candy.
- The label on the can should be removed if it is made of paper so it doesn't fall apart in the pot of water over the hours of cooking time.
- The can should have a couple holes popped into the top (using a can opener). This is important as it helps prevent the can from exploding.
- The can should be placed in a small pot and water added until it is near (1/4 in. or about 1 cm) the top of the can.
- The water should be brought to a simmer (not boiling) and held there for three hours (for thick runny dulce de leche) or four hours (for solid dulce de leche). Water will need to be added over time as it cooks off.
- Remove the can with tongs and allow to cool before opening.
- Cooked in the can, the dulce de leche will have different consistencies - liquidy on top, dark and crusty on the bottom. Stir together in a bowl until it is uniform.
This recipe also uses sweetened condensed milk as a starting point. Here's a 14 ounce (396 g) can. I'll discuss how to make your own sweetened condensed milk (if it's not available in your area) in a later article. Remember sweetened condensed milk (Ingredients: milk, sugar) not evaporated milk (Ingredients: evaporated milk).
Just pour the sweetened condensed milk into a large microwavable bowl. The bowl shown here isn't quite large enough (see what happens), so get a big microwavable bowl. (It is possible to do this recipe with a bowl this size, but I wouldn't recommend it on your first try or on a microwave oven where you haven't used this technique before.)
Stick the bowl with the sweetened condensed milk into the microwave oven and cook it on medium for two minutes. Take the bowl out of the oven. Be careful - the milk heats up pretty fast so the bowl could be hot.
Using a wire whisk, stir the sweetened condensed milk and put it back into the microwave oven to heat for another 2 minutes on medium.
It's important to keep a watch on the bowl as it cooks in the microwave oven. If heated continuously (for example, on high), the milk will begin to bubble and the viscous liquid will trap the bubbles to form a heavy foam that sticks like hot napalm. That's one of the reasons why we run the microwave on medium instead of high. A microwave oven generally has only two modes - on and off. High means the microwave is continuously on, but a medium setting will cycle of microwave oven on and off every few seconds. The off periods help prevent boil over. If the bowl boils over, clean up the mess, upgrade to a larger bowl and continue.
Here I've moved to a 2.5 quart (2.5 L) borosilicate glass bowl and took a picture right after about 40 seconds of high power to show the foaming. The foam subsided rapidly, but you can imagine how high it was domed.
Every two minutes, pull out the bowl and whisk until smooth. Then heat again. At some point (around 10-12 minutes into the heating depending on the strength of your microwave oven), the milk will look like it has curdled.
At this point the dulce de leche is ready, but not yet at the candy stage. Don't worry about the appearance, it'll smooth out when we whisk it.
If you're going to use it as a sauce, whisk until smooth and stop here - you're done.
Continuing to cook the mixture will result in an even more curdled appearance. When you whisk it, the dulce de leche will pull away from the bowl as you stir it.
Whisk until smooth - it'll stick together and be difficult to remove from the whisk. While hot, it will still flow, so it's possible to knock most of it out of the whisk into the bowl.
Using a spoon, you can pick up a piece of the sticky candy. The bit that comes up with the spoon should standing up (or down depending on how you orient your spoon) and cool quickly. As it cools, you can touch it and it should be tacky but not sticky or cling to your skin (be careful since it can be quite hot). Once it cools a bit, it's probably easier to simply pull the dulce de leche of the whisk than to try to knock it off. (Remember, be careful. It can be very hot.)
That's it! Dulce de leche with only about fifteen minutes of total prep time. This candy will store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for over a month.}?>
For something as simple as this, the tabular recipe notation doesn't really make sense, but here it is anyway.}?>
Dulce de leche (makes about 1 cup or 200-250 mL)
|14 oz. (396 g) can sweetened condensed milk||pour into large microwavable bowl||heat on medium for 2 min.||whisk||repeat until appears curdled||whisk|