Friday, April 27, 2012

Easy Dulce de Leche in a Slow Cooker

Lovely, sweet dulce de leche - a traditional Mexican sweet for Cinco de Mayo!

I've seen lots of recipes for this all over the internet.  Most cook the sweetened condensed milk in the can it comes in.  There are lots of problems with this.  First and foremost, if you forget to puncture some holes in the can, it will explode.  Yeah, that's a problem!  Also, most cans contain BPA, which is a questionable chemical.  This chemical can leach into your product.  Ick.

And then I came across this recipe from Simply Frugal Mom.  She put the milk into canning jars before putting them into a slow cooker.  Much safer on all counts!  And did I mention delicious?!

I did make two tweaks to the process, which I'll share with you in a minute.

Here's what you need:
2 cans of sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)
3 8-oz. canning jars, NEW canning lids, and canning rings (all should be cleaned and sterilized)
boiling water (this is Tweak #1)
crock pot with crock large enough to hold all your jars

Divide the contents of the 2 cans of milk equally among the three jars.  Wipe the tops of the jars with a warm wet dish cloth to be sure they are clean.  Then, place a new lid on each jar, and screw on a ring to hand tightness.  Place jars into the crock part of your crock pot, and cover with boiling water.  You will need enough water to cover the jars by at least 1".  Turn the crock pot to HIGH (this is Tweak #2).  Allow the jars to cook on high, just until they start to turn a light caramel color, then switch to low.  The amount of time this takes will depend on your slow cooker.  Allow to cook on low about 4-6 hours more, or until desired thickness.  I like mine thick, because I can always melt it down if needed.  Usually, it gets stirred into hot coffee, so it melts on its own.  If you'd like to use it immediately for a caramel sauce, I'd go with a shorter cooking time.

When done, remove jars carefully with a jar lifter, and allow to cool to room temperature.  Tighten lids all the way, as tight as you can.  Store in the refrigerator.  I'd love to tell you it will store for a month, but it will probably be eaten by then.  I'll say it anyway, just in case.

The process can easily be doubled or tripled if you have to make something for a crowd.  If you don't have room for the multiple batches in your crock pot, leave the milk in its original can, and divide into the jars when you are ready to cook it.  This is also a great way to divide the time and labor into smaller, more manageable parts of a busy schedule.

This is a great neighbor gift at Christmas time, or thank you gift for someone who does a really nice favor for you (think "Thanks for being sweet" on the label).  And, like I said above, it is PHENOMENAL in your morning coffee, or melted and poured over ice cream.



1 comment:

Erin @ Simply Frugal Mom said...

So glad you tried my recipe. And both those tweaks are really helpful. It took forever for the water to get warm enough and now I don't know why I didn't think of starting with boiling water. Thanks!