My mom, and my grandmother used to make their luscious Dulce de Leche caramel by boiling a tin of Sweetened condensed milk on the stove for a few hours, always making sure to keep it topped up with water. I always knew my mom was going to make Banoffee Pie when she did this and my gran used it to fill her signature chocolate cake.
I’m not gonna lie, this method scares the crap out of me. Every time I do it, I just imagine the tin exploding and pieces of shrapnel blinding or killing me (I’ve watched far too many ‘1000 Ways To Die’ on the crime network) Then having to take it out of the boiling water from scorching hot to room temp?!! I’m just a nervous wreck.
What a wonderful surprise it was when a few years back I saw that Nestle had taken on the task and actually done all the hard work for me! I was delighted! No more watching an explosive device cooking away on my stove, just waiting to detonate on me. It doesn’t taste exactly the same…but really, it’s not far off.
At £1.60 a tin, you can’t really go wrong….but it’s also almost double the price of a tin of condensed milk. I like to save my pennies where I can…don’t we all?! As luck would have it, I was scrolling through my Facebook page one day and found an article on DIY Dulce de Leche . SOO being the money scrimper that I am, I gave it a bash.
And it worked! Beautifully! So much so, that unless I forget to make more I ALWAYS have it on hand. All you need is a Slow Cooker, and enough tins of condensed milk to fit into the dish right side up.
Keep in mind that you either want to use an old slow cooker that you won’t use for food again…or go and by yourself a new one. You can get them for £10 these days. I found that when I made my Dulce de Leche the first time it left a gummy sticky residue from the glue of the wrapper and also there’s a bit of rust that gets left behind.
See what I mean? Doesn’t exactly make me want to feed my family from it… and it doesn’t matter how much elbow grease yout put into it either :/
The method is basically to peel the wrappers off your Sweetened Condensed Milk and place in your slow cooker. I can fit 4 tins in mine, and regardless of how much I need, I always make 4 at a time. Cost effectiveness and all that 😉 Fill the slow cooker with water until the tins are covered, switch the dial to ‘high’ and leave it for 6 hours. The beauty of this is that there’s no watching and no freaking out about the water level. After the 6 hours is up I turn the cooker off and just leave them in the water until they’re completely cooled.
When you’re ready to use it, open it up and give it a good mix and you’re good to go. I use this for my very popular Sticky Toffee Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream…I used to be that snobby baker that thought that I had to make EVERYTHING from scratch. That if I didn’t then I wouldn’t be ‘the best’ at my craft. Then one day all of a sudden life happened. And time was a luxury. And I cheated. And you know what, in all honesty, this caramel will ALWAYS be the best kind. Mainly because for me it reminds me of my childhood, and there’s a nostalgia and familiarity attached to it. Yeah I can make a mean caramel by boiling sugar and water and cream, but I guarantee you’ll get all the feels with this version. Because it’s just like mum used to make, and sometimes it’s just all about that home comfort 🙂 And gosh darn it…life is just too short x
4 Replies to “How I make my Caramel”
That is a very informative blog Carrie, I am very proud of all your shortcuts you have mastered to become an efficient baker. I am glad that me as your Mom was an inspiration with your journey. I will always use your blog for when I need some inspiration in the kitchen.
I love this. I am So glad you mentioned cake baking snob. I always make everything from scratch or I felt like I was cheating but I feel now I have the go ahead to not have to do that anymore haha. Brilliant. Still like home-made lemon curd best tho !
Haha, I’m glad I could make you feel less of a cheater 😉 I agree about homemade lemon curd, but if you’re ever in a pinch Tesco’s finest is beautiful! x
Hey Carrie, Thanks for the tips on Dulce de Leche…I’ve made it the first way you mentioned, and had similar anxiety related to anticipated explosions. Though the caramel was good, I find myself shying away from boiling the cans because of the anxiety involved. Well, I can kiss that goodbye thanks to your suggestions here! And say hello to plenty of Dulce on hand!