Friday, March 25, 2011

Canned Caramel

This little recipe always slips my mind when I'm looking for an easy dessert.  All you have to do is submerge a can of sweetened condensed milk in water and cook at what I would call a vigorous simmer for three hours.  (this recipe has failed me once and I don't know why, it came out a tepid blond color.) Alternatively, you could cover this pot of water throw it in 350˚ F oven for three hours. Once it's done, allow it to cool for around 30 minutes before opening.**

The result is a silky, perfectly sweetened, dulce de leche.  Spread this on a wafer cookie with a tiny pinch of sea salt and you have an amazing dessert.

**NOTE: Do not just drop a room temp. can of condensed milk into an already-boiling pot of water - the temperature contrast could cause the can to burst.  and DO NOT boil a can and return it to your cabinet for few months - once cooked I would not consider this a shelf stable product. 


  1. great idea - I'm going to try it the next time I need dulce de leche

    Have a great day

  2. Just to double check, submerge the can UN-opened than simmer (not boil) for 3 hours?

  3. I elaborated on the description a little bit. . . .

  4. Could you do it in a pressure cooker in a hour?

  5. The government might consider that an explosive device.
    While the pressure would raises the temperature in the pot, theoretically shortening the cooking time, the contents of the can are already under pressure.
    So while I have no experience with this sort of thing, the concept strikes me as potentially very dangerous.
    A sort of caramel bomb . . . but what a way to go.

  6. Caramel bomb. Explosively delicious!

    Josh, I wanted to pass along another great site to you, perhaps you've already seen it:

    Hope you are well. What are some recipes that would call for a can of caramel?

  7. I really like it on cookies, or on a spoon next to good coffee. I would say simply that if it is made, it will be eaten.

    But it could be used anywhere caramel would.
    - on ice cream
    - with fresh apples
    - on a banana caramel pizza
    - in a caramel bomb
    - in a truffle
    - a little bit on a strong stinky cheese is good too (like a Stilton or aged Gorganzola)
    - etc. etc.

  8. I was at the store buying a can of sweetened condensed milk to try this out tonight and all the cans say "caution-do not heat in can"... This recipe is ok though?

  9. I have used this recipe for over ten years without consequence. I do know that most food products are pasteurized (heated under very controlled conditions) in the can.
    I did a little reading on the subject and came across this article.

  10. Years ago a guest made it for our "1970's collective" on the Upper West Side by Columbia University, but she called it "Orphanage Pudding" because a small inexpensive can of condensed milk made enough for many kids.

    I heard that you should use a can/ bottle opener just to make a small opening in the condensed milk can top and keep the opened side just out of the water.
    Simmer the can in the water bath and make sure the water doesn't boil out!
    The longer it simmers the more solidified it becomes. When done you can cut it like canned cranberry sauce into slivers -- enough to feed an orphanage!


  11. Use this to make amazing Banofee pie. Just spread into a graham cracker crust, layer with sliced bananas and top with whipped cream. Unbelievable. Chocolate ganache is also a nice addition.

  12. I have done this same method for about 15 years to use in chocolates/truffles, on ice cream and others as mentioned by an earlier commentor.

    My first try was a failure but I believe due to impatience!!

  13. yes you can do this in a pressure cooker, in a much shorter amount of time. I learned this the hard way, after attempting to make Caramel the old fashion way, only to wind up with a melted sugar explosion all over my kitchen.

  14. You can buy dulce de leche that has already been turned to caramel in the Hispanic section of Publix or blowing up for you!

  15. I used to watch my grandmother make this all the time. When done, she would pour it into a coffee mug and place it in the fridge. Whenever us kids wanted a sweet treat we would grab a spoon and dip into the coffee mug for a spoonful candy! Great memories!

  16. I grew up on this! My mom taught me how when I was really tiny. Then ALL the warnings came out about how never, never, ever to do this. I still do. Thanks for the reminder that I'm not alone.

  17. My Argentinean Partner says this is how they make Dulce de Leche (the 'cheap' way) It's incredible how it changes from milk to a caramel! YUMMMMMMM

  18. So i want to use canned caramel (pre prepared) as a base in my chocolate carame tart, after it is set I want to pur over the chocolate filling and bake.
    Do you think it will taste good ? will the caramel melt and mix with the chocolate? or will it still be two seperate layers?

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