Last week, I shared an easy dulce de leche recipe. Today, I’m sharing a difficult dulce de leche recipe.
Nah…just kidding. This recipe’s not hard at all, just time consuming. Making homemade dulce de leche, the old school way, takes a lot of patience and constant attention while cooking.
Now, why would I share a recipe that tries your patience after sharing a recipe that’s fairly easy to make?
Well, if you do a search of dulce de leche, the most common recipe you’ll find is the one made from a can of sweetened condensed milk. To dulce de leche purists, this isn’t really dulce de leche. I speak from experience…a part of my family comes from South America. They’re used to a thicker, lighter-colored version that’s made with whole milk. Whenever I make alfajores (dulce de leche sandwich cookies) with store bought dulce de leche, I always catch some flack for not using “real” dulce de leche, lol.
Like I’ve said before, I enjoy any dulce de leche, whatever the prep method 😉 Remember the cold pizza analogy? However, I have to say, I genuinely find taste variations among all the different versions. And, there really is a difference when you use whole milk. I’m not even touching on the Mexican cajeta, made from goat’s milk, which some feel is the best.
Today’s dulce de leche recipe is one of my favorites. In my next post, I’ll be sharing a final recipe for dulce de leche that I love as well. That will be it for this topic…hopefully, lol. Although, there will be plenty of recipes with dulce de leche in them.
This recipe is an old standard and very popular in Argentina, Uruguay and Peru, although there are different flavors added to the milk, different types of milk, and lots of variations in texture and color.
Start out by pouring four cups of milk into a saucepan.
Add one and a half cups of granulated sugar.
Add one and a half tablespoons of vanilla extract.
Stir over medium-high heat until just boiling. Don’t let this boil over…remove from heat when necessary. The point is to allow the sugar to dissolve.
After the sugar has dissolved, remove from the stove temporarily and add the baking soda.
Mix well and place back on the stove. Reduce the heat to low or a setting which will allow for a gentle simmer.
Now comes the part where you need to muster up some patience. Give the dulce de leche a stir about every ten minutes for the next hour. Yes, an hour.
When the dulce de leche takes on a light brown color, start checking and stirring every five minutes.
Once it has that nice golden color, test to see if the dulce de leche is done. I do this by pouring a spoonful onto a plate. I then run the back of the spoon through the middle of the dulce de leche. If the dulce de leche does not come together, it’s done!
Strain the dulce de leche with a sieve to remove any clumps. I use a spatula to help push it through. Next, whisk well to smooth. Some people use a hand mixer or processor to do this. Place in a glass jar and get ready to indulge!
Now you’re ready to use this thick…
and super sweet…
Use it to stuff alfajores, as a cake filling or just drizzle over icecream. Or just eat it with a spoon! Enjoy!
- 4 cups whole milk (1 liter)
- 1½ cups granulated sugar (300g)
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- In a large saucepan, combine milk, sugar and vanilla extract on medium-high heat.
- Once the mixture begins to boil, lower the heat until it gently simmers, sitrring often.
- Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and add baking soda. Stir to combine.
- Return to heat and allow to simmer for up to 1½ hours to 2 hours
- Check on the mixture every 10 minutes and stir gently.
- When the mixture begins to turn a light brown color, begin checking every 5 minutes, sitrring gently.
- To test if done, remove a spoonful and place on a dish. Run the back of the spoon through the middle of the dulce de leche, if it does not recombine, it is ready.
- Pass the dulce de leche through a mesh strainer to remove any lumps.
- Whisk well to smooth.
If a thicker dulce de leche is preferred, add 2 tablespoons cornstarch at the end of cooking and whisk well.