Dulce de leche is a thick, creamy caramel sauce traditionally made with milk and sugar that are simmered together for seven hours. This much easier method, which calls for simmering a can of sweetened condensed milk in a pot of water for two to three hours, produces absolutely perfect results with not nearly as much time or fuss.
Why this recipe works:
- Because the closed can prevents the sweetened, condensed milk from evaporating as it cooks, the dulce de leche will be thick, pudding-like and super creamy.
- Using this can method produces some of the best results with a minimal amount of time and attention.
Note: Make sure the can is always fully submerged in water, with the water level at least 1 inch (and preferably more) above it. If the can is not fully submerged, it can overheat, tear, and even explode. Also, never try to open a hot can of dulce de leche: Wait until the can has cooled to room temperature before opening it.
- Yield:Makes 1 (14-ounce) can
- Active time: 15 minutes
- Total time:2 to 3 hours
- 1 (14-ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk, label removed
Place the can on its side in a large pot. Fill the pot with room-temperature water, making sure the water level is at least 2 inches above the can.
Set pot over high heat and allow to come to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours for a lighter caramel, and up to 3 hours for a darker caramel; check the pot every 30 minutes to ensure the water level stays above the can, adding boiling water as necessary to top it up.
Using a pair of tongs, remove the can from the water and set on a wire rack to cool to room temperature (important: do not attempt to open the can while still hot, which can cause pressurized hot caramel to spray dangerously).
Unopened cans of dulce de leche can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 months. To use dulce de leche, open can when cool and scoop out of can; reheat in a double boiler to soften dulce de leche to a spreadable or drizzle-able consistency. Dulce de leche can be tranferred to an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.