Dulce de leche — the name is Spanish for "sweet [made of] milk" — is a thick, creamy caramel sauce that is traditionally prepared by slowly cooking milk and sugar on low heat for serval hours. According to Alton Brown, “Dulce de leche most likely evolved as a way to preserve milk in the pre-refrigerator era.”
You can make the caramel sauce from scratch by using milk and sugar, or you can cut a few corners and use a can of sweetened condensed milk. Both methods yield a delicious and thick Hispanic-style caramel sauce.
Use your homemade dulce de leche as a dipping sauce, turn the sauce into a chewy lollipops, or add it to cakes or French toast.
To make dulce de leche French toast, for instance, add a quarter cup of dulce de leche to your French toast custard. Then dip your slightly stale bread into the mixture to soak up the rich flavor of this caramel sauce. For an even more decadent and delicious treat, drizzle additional dulce de leche sauce on top of your French toast before serving.
Making dulce de leche from scratch or from a can of milk is simpler than you think. Just follow these easy steps to make this rich treat and then incorporate it into these delicious recipes we’ve included for your convenience.
Making Dulce De Leche From Scratch
When you’re making dulce de leche from scratch you only need a few key ingredients: 1 quart of whole milk, 1 cup of sugar, 1 split vanilla bean, ½ teaspoon of kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda (optional).
Making Dulce De Leche (Instructions)
To make the dulche de leche combine all of the ingredients expect the baking soda in a medium saucepan over high heat. Stir the mixture until all of the sugar has dissolved. Take the mixture off of the heat, then stir in the baking soda. The baking soda is not mandatory, but it ensures a smoother caramel when it’s done.
Mix everything until it is combined and place the saucepan back on medium heat. You want the milk to form small bubbles and not boil over.
Let the milk mixture boil for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. The color will begin to go from white to tan in about an hour and then darken at a quicker pace. Once it has turned tan make sure to keep an eye on it so you won’t burn the caramel.
Once the dulce de leche has reached your desired color take it off the heat and let it cool slightly. Then it is ready to be used for your brunch and dessert needs.