Stacie and I have tried to make dulce de leche at home before with little luck. The condensed milk can on the stove top method, simmering away for hours, yielded poor results. Plus, we were nervous about exploding cans and the BPA in cans leaching into our delicious dulce de leche. So when we found this “slow-cooker method” on the wonderful “Yummy Life” blog, we had to try it.
Dulce de leche is best described as a “milk jam”. It is prepared by slowly heating sweetened condensed milk to create a delicious spread that derives its taste from caramelized sugar. According to wikipedia (quoted below) there are versions of this delightful treat all over Latin America and parts of Europe (why the rest of the world has not caught on, befuddles me):
“It is popular in South America, notably in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. The same goes for Chile and Ecuador where it is known as manjar (Spanish for delicacy). In Peru, Colombia and Venezuela, it is referred to as manjar blanco or arequipe, depending on regional variations. In Brazil, it is known by its Portugese name doce de leite.
The dulce de leche of El Salvador has a soft, crumbly texture, with an almost crystallized form. A Mexican version called cajeta is made from goat’s milk. In the Dominican Republic it is made with equal parts milk and sugar with cinnamon, and the texture is more like fudge. In Puerto Rico dulce de leche is sometimes made with unsweetened coconut milk.
A French version, known as confiture de lait, is very similar to the spreadable forms of dulce de leche. A Norwegian version, Hamar-pålegg (“Hamar spread”), better known as HaPå, is a commercial variant that is thicker and less sweet.”
The hubby and I adore dulce de leche and first discovered it on a trip to Argentina where it was ever-present at every B&B and hotel breakfast. Having dulce de leche always takes us back to that lovely vacation and time. Trust us, dulce de leche smeared toast with a good cup of coffee works for breakfast, and is something one never tires of. We smuggled some jars home and did eventually manage to find some grocery stores that sold jars of dulce de leche, but they were almost always quite pricey. For years, I fantasized about making my own, and finally I know how to…..
Dulce De Leche – Slow Cooker Method from The Yummy Life
- 2 (14 oz) cans sweetened condensed milk
- 3 wide-mouth 1/2-pint canning jars (or similar size that will fit in your slow cooker), sterilized
- First make sure that your canning jars will fit in your slow cooker with 1″ of head space above jars.
- Pour sweetened condensed milk into jars, put on lid and ring; finger tighten the rings. Place the jars into slow cooker. Add hot tap water, enough to cover the jar tops with 1″ of water.
- Cook on low for 9-11 hours. Use tongs to remove a jar after 9 hours to see if color has caramelized and darkened enough; if not return to slow cooker until desired color is achieved. Use tongs to keep jars upright as you remove them from the slow cooker; rest on top of dish towel. Gently remove rings and wipe off water and any rust that may have formed on lid. Leave undisturbed until jars reach room temperature. Transfer to refrigerator. Keeps for at least 1 month.
SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Stir into coffee or tea; spread on toast or muffins; gently heat in microwave and drizzle on ice cream, pancakes, or waffles; use it as a fruit dip (especially good with apples).
For the slightly messier method if you do not have a slow cooker, you can try David Lebovitz’s oven method.