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A Foodie's Guide on How to Make Dulce de Leche

How to Make Dulce de Leche
Dulce de leche (pronounced dool-se de le-che), used widely as a dessert topping is very popular in South America. Here are different ways to make this decadent sauce at home.
Sailee Kale
Last Updated: Jul 21, 2017
Dulce de leche, which literally means sweet of the milk is a caramel-like sauce made out of sweetened condensed or evaporated milk. Extremely popular in countries like Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile, this sauce is used to flavor muffins, pies, cakes, and even ice creams. It is also used as a filling in alfajores, a kind of sandwich cake widely eaten in most Latin American countries. There are various ways you can make this creamy sauce at home. Making it is fairly easy, but time-consuming depending on which method you employ in its preparation.
Dulce de Leche Recipes
Condensed milk
A can of sweetened condensed milk
Preparation ~ Method 1
Women stirring the contents
● In a thick-bottom pot, empty the can of condensed milk.
● Put the pan over medium low heat, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon. The milk will slowly begin to lose all its water through evaporation. Make sure the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pot.
● After a few minutes, the condensed milk will start thickening and begin to change into a darker shade of brown. Keep stirring!
● It will change to a golden brown caramel color at a certain stage. To know if you are done, try scooping out a spoon of the thickened sauce and invert it. It should not fall off the spoon easily. Or just dribble a few drops of the mixture over the surface of the sauce in a zigzag ribbon-like formation. If they continue to stay over the surface for longer than 10 seconds, that means you are done. Alternatively, drag the wooden spoon through the pan. If you can see the bottom of the pan for 10 seconds before the sauce caves back in, your dulce de leche is ready!
● Remove from heat and let it cool.
● This method could take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes. It's very important that you keep stirring all the while and do not leave it unattended, or the milk could begin to stick and burn at the bottom. If that happens, transfer the contents to a new pan and continue cooking. If there are any burnt pieces floating around, filter the contents using a sieve into a new pot.
Cardamom powder
● To impart flavor, you can add vanilla seeds, a pinch of nutmeg or cardamom powder, or cinnamon sticks to the condensed milk. Remove them once the mixture has cooled down.
Sugar in mug
● You can use whole milk or evaporated milk instead of sweetened condensed milk. Add sugar (half the quantity of the whole/evaporated milk).
Method 2
Can of milk
● Remove the label from the can of condensed milk.
●Pierce three holes on the top of the can. Do not forget this step. If you fail to make the holes, the can may explode in the water resulting in burns.
●Fill a pot with water and immerse the can in it. The water should be a little more than 3/4th up the side of the can, but not too much that the can will completely submerge in it.
●Boil the water and then keep simmering it at medium to low heat. You need to simmer the water for 3 to 4 hours. Three hours, for a softer texture, or four, if you desire a more thicker, firmer sauce.
●Once you turn off the heat, remove the can from the boiling water using a pair of tongs and allow it to cool. Then open the can and pour the mixture into a bowl. There might be some chunks at the bottom which will have to be scooped out as well. Mix all the contents together and use an electric hand mixer to beat it till you achieve a smooth mixture.
Method 3
Microwave oven
● Preheat the oven to 425 °F.
● Empty the condensed milk from the can into a baking dish. Cover the dish with aluminum foil.
Crock pot
● Take a large pan or casserole and fill it with water. The pan/casserole should be large enough that you can place the baking dish inside it, similar to a water bath. The water should reach more than half the side up of the baking dish.
● Keep these in the oven and bake for 60 minutes. You should check the water level every now and then. Add more water to the water bath if need be.
● Once the contents have acquired a golden caramel-like color, remove from the oven. Wear mitts since the dish will be very hot. Allow to cool. Whisk into a smooth, homogeneous mixture.
Though buying a can of dulce de leche from the supermarket is always an option, why not try preparing it at home using any of the above methods. You can store your homemade variety for a month in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Use it to flavor candies, cakes, or even ice creams. A thick mixture can also be eaten as it is. Whether as a spread or a syrup, dulce de leche is easily one of the best options available to impart a delicious caramel-like flavor to all your favorite desserts.