Homemade caramel recipe sweetened condensed milk
NOTE: Please read all instructions below. It’s very important to keep the water level above the cans at all times, as well as keep the heat on very low.
(See alternate methods at the bottom of this post!)
Dulce de Leche is a heavenly substance. At first glance, it looks a little like caramel, but it’s actually sweetened milk that’s been heated long enough to cause a caramelizing to occur. That’s the long-winded explanation, so here’s the short one: It’s creamy, dreamy substance used as an ingredient in so many desserts.
This is a can of ready-to-go dulce de leche, but I’ve always thought it was cool that you can pretty much make this yourself by simmering cans of sweetened condensed milk! It’s nice if you’re stuck in Antarctica and need dulce de leche but can’t find any in your local supermarket.
Of course, you might also have trouble finding sweetened condensed milk in that scenario. But work with me here.
Start with regular ol’ cans of sweetened condensed milk, otherwise known as the nectar of life.
Put it in coffee. You’ll love it. Make a Tres Leches Cake. You’ll swoon. Make Rice Pudding. Oh my word. And this Key Lime Pie? Oh my.
Or make dulce de leche, which is what we started doing to begin with! Peel the labels off the cans…
Place the cans into a pot (it needs to be deep enough to allow you to cover the cans with 1 to 2 inches of water)…
Pour water right into the pot…
Again, covering it by an inch or so.
****NOTE: During the simmering process, it is VERY important to keep a watch on the water level and continue topping off the water if it starts to drop. You don’t want the water going below the top of the can.
***UPDATE: Evidently, cans with solid lids (as opposed to the tab lids pictured) are preferred. I have never had an issue with the tab lids exploding or popping open…but proceed with caution!
Bring it to a boil, then immediately turn it down to LOW so that you have a nice, gentle simmer. Let it simmer for 1 1/2 hours…
***IMPORTANT: Watch the water level and add water if the level of water falls below the top of the cans. Do not let the water drop below the level of the cans.
Then use tongs to very carefully turn the cans over. Then simmer them for another hour…or two! (I’ll explain the differences below.)
Note: Please don’t get grossed out by the particles floating in my water. It’s calcium, and just a peek into the hardness that is our water here in the country. And yes, we have a water softener. In fact, we have a water system that would probably have enough machinery to fly into orbit. But our water is so hard, it can only soften it to a point that it still measures harder than most regular water.
And please feel sorry for us.
Now, if you’re doing all the cans the same, just simmer them for the length of time you want, then turn off the heat and let them come to room temperature with the water.
***VERY IMPORTANT: Do not open the cans of dulce de leche while they’re still hot!***
Now, this is a can that wound up simmering for probably 2 hours. It’s nice and golden for the most part, but you can see little pockets of uncaramelized sweetened condensed milk around the edge.
So when I stirred it together, it wound up being a beautiful butterscotch color. Still creamy and dreamy, lightly caramelized flavor, but pretty mild. You could actually use this as you would sweetened condensed milk (for instance, Tres Leches Cake) and it would be divine.
This is what it looks like if it simmers longer—probably an additional 45 minutes. Deep, beautiful color, and the difference in flavor is profound. This just has that unmistakable “yum” factor that you can’t deny.
Here’s the difference between the two! The left simmered for probably 2:45 before it was all said and done; the right simmered for 2 hours.
Low Carb Evaporated Milk Mix - LC Foods - All Natural - High Protein - Low Lactose - High Calcium - No Sugar - Diabetic Friendly - Low Carb Milk - 4.9 oz
Grocery (LC Foods Corporation)