Monday, September 15, 2008

Dulce de Leche

As you know, I'm a sweet-tooth-havin' diabetic. That means that most sweet treats featured here are sugar-free (though can be made with regular sugar). But once in a while I make something sugar-FULL. This is one of those times.

Dulce de leche is a latin-american caramel-milk sweet that can be a sauce or a firm candy, and often found as an ingredient in various cakes, candies and other sweet treats. And while it's so two years ago, I made this at home for the first time this weekend.

I was first introduced to dulce de leche while living in south Florida. It is what it is, and cannot be compared to anything else. You just have to try it. It can be found in cans already prepared, but it's so easy to make at home that there's really no need to buy a lesser product in a can.

Most latin-american recipes require the boiling of an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk, and while it's been safely done for years and years by many a home cook, the idea scares me just a little bit. Smitten Kitchen's recipe is a good one to review, as is David Lebovitz's. I took a different route, however. Here's how I did it.

Dulce de Leche

Remove the label from a can of sweetened condensed milk. Do not open the can. Fill a slow cooker with water up to about 1 inch from the top. Plunk in the can and set cooker to low. Cook for about 12 hours for a syupy consistency, longer for a firmer dulce de leche. (I cooked mine for 13 hours and had a nicely pourable version.)

When the time is up, just turn off the cooker and leave the can in to cool with the water. (I let mine go all day, and then turned it off before bed, removing the can in the morning.) Place can on a paper towel or other cleanable surface before opening, because the dulce de leche will ooze out.

I consider this a safe method because the water never gets to the boiling point, thus reducing the possibility of an exploding can significantly. Plus the water never evaporates, just warms that can consistently for several hours. Not to mention there's practically no effort involved at all.

In the future, I'll make several cans at once--I can probably fit 4 cans in my crock pot. So easy, and so good--what a treat!

So what did I do with my new creation? Why a cake, of course!

This weekend was my mother's birthday, and I made a simple vanilla cake, but flavored the vanilla buttercream frosting with about 3 tablespoons dulce de leche, drizzled extra on top, and served more on the side.

People licked their plates clean.

Fortunately I was left with only about a tablespoon to gobble out of the glass when the festivities were over.

One of these days I'll try converting this sweet treat into a sugar-free one, but I'm not in too much of a hurry. I think if I had this around as a sugar-free treat, I might gain 100 pounds.


Lulu said...

Mrs. W - I am dying here! That looks delicious!!

Amanda said...

Lulu, it IS delicious! Er, I mean, it WAS delicious. You must make some--too easy not to. You'll become addicted to the stuff and have to smuggle cans in your luggage to Germany.

But then security would get you. Don't smuggle cans. Don't. But do try dulce de leche.

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