Dulce de Leche

When in Argentina…well, eat lots of dulce de leche! Argentina might be know best around the world for it’s meat and wine but to me nothing screams out eat me like their delectable dulce de leche. If you have never had proper dulce de leche you really must, it is unlike any other caramel in the world.

Walking down the street in Corrientes, Argentina it is impossible not to notice how popular this desert is. Dulce de leche sandwhiched between light cakelike cookies called alfajores peer at you from every kiosko, artists create songs cooing the qualities dulce de leche and love, every supermarket has at least 4 different brands to offer from the most liquid to the thick almost peanut-buttery dulce de leche repostero, dulce de leche in Argentina is everywhere.

I remember in the early days of my romance with my soon-to-be-husband his pinings for true dulce de leche durning his foreign-study-exile in Washington. To help, I purchased a quart of dulce de leche icecream a la Haagen-Dazs: my intensions were good. His eyes were wide with excitement, ready for the taste of home- but this was not even close, this was not his dulce de leche.

Dulce de leche found in the USA is almost always imported from Argentina, and that means two things: expensive and made to suite the North American market. But there is no good reason not to make dulce de leche at your own home, it is cheap, easy and painless and incomparable to anything else.

The first time I made dulce de leche I was terrified. How on earth would cooking milk and sugar for ages turn into something so creamy and smooth, so buttery sweet! My fear lead to two mistakes: one, I didn’t want to burn it so I cooked the mix for nearly 4 hours on a almost nonexistent flame leaving me insanely bored and sore in the arm, and two I left off cooking it much too soon. Your dulce de leche will actually thicken in the pan, I promise, just give it time and lay on the heat!

Dulce de Leche

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 vanilla pod, split (or 1 heaping teaspoon vanilla powder)
Step one, stick everything in a large sauce pan. Turn your stove up to a high heat and boil the heck out of it. Don´t get scared you wont burn it, just keep stiring until it starts to take on a light brown color and starts to get streaky with caramel.

Step two. Turn the stove down to a low to medium heat and stir constantly until thickened, remember that when you put it in the fridge it will harden up a little bit more so you will want to stop cooking right before it gets to the point you want it. Your dulce de leche will turn a soft caramel color and be thick enough to coat the spoon. The second step goes quickly so make sure you have the tools you need at hand.

Because dulce de leche has a high sugar contant you can store it in the fridge for quite a long time. It is wonderful on apples, ice cream, toast, in cakes or brownies and swedish pancakes.


Tania said...

I love dulce de leche! Since my mother grew up in Argentina, dulce de leche has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. You're right: it is wonderful on all kinds of things!

I've never made it in the genuine manner, though; I always just simmer an unopened can of condensed milk for a couple of hours. It's yummy, but I'm sure yours is much better, not to mention more authentic.

You have a lovely blog! I love the banner at the top -- gorgeous!

Katy said...

Thank you so much Tania that is very sweet. I have heard of people making dulce de leche that way. Sounds good, but I have never tried it. Take care~

Melissa CookingDiva said...

Hola Katy! Thank you for visiting my blog :) Let me tell you something,...you have cooked something that is highly rated among food bloggers: dulce de leche! Yes, and the fact that you have prepared it from scratch, gives you more points :) Congrats, it looks scrumptious :)

miss tango in her eyes said...

Hola Katy! Thanks for linking me to your recipe. Does the whole milk there have a different fat content than North America? If you can let me know what percentage you used por favor :)
I have had this craving to make homemade alfajores!

Spanish School in Buenos Aires said...

I LOVE Dulce de Leche!! I think it should be more popular than it actually is outside Argentina.

Here's the my blog post about it:
What is the story behind Dulce de Leche in Argentina?

Keep up the good posts, Katy!

montygonza said...

oh My god this reciepe was so easy. It may the most creamy yummiest dulcie de leche I have ever tasted.

I boiled the heck out of it like you said turning off the heat to stop it boiling it over, then put it on medimum heat and stirred. The whole thing took about an hour.

Thank you thank you
Amanda Gonzalez

Katy said...

Thanks Amanda,
I am glad you enjoyed it! The key is to use a really big pot :) Happy eating!

Rogger Mcloud said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rogger Mcloud said...

You know that dulce de leche is an argentinian invention. I have seen the dulce de leche for the first time in the province of Tucuman. And then I had a dulce de leche waiting for me in all the Argentina apartments where I have been.