Dulce de Leche is everywhere these days; in brownies, on ice cream, in ice cream, as a filling for cookies, on cake - you name it. Unfortunately, though the store I shop at (an enormous locally-owned health food store) does sell pre-made Dulce de Leche, they don't sell organic Dulce de Leche. Though I don't know if this is exactly a downside, as homemade is always better.
I finally bit the bullet a few weeks ago and bought a can of sweetened condensed milk to make my own. When I saw that ever reliable David Lebovitz had a recipe on his site for it, I tried it out. It was simple enough - pour can of sweetened condensed milk into a glass pie plate, place that in a water bath, cover pie plate with aluminum foil and leave it in the oven at 425 for 1 - 1 1/4 hours. Well, the result was tasty, but it wasn't smooth. The final instruction was to whisk until smooth, but I could have whisked until my arm fell off and it wouldn't have made a difference. It had chunks. Small chunks, but chunks nonetheless. It was also a little chalky. I was slightly horrified that I was unable to execute such simple instructions...
A couple of weeks went by, and I was sent this wonderful box of goodies from an acquaintance at Heavenly Organics (as I was doing a tasting for them in a local store). Including sweetened condensed milk. I was determined to try again. With a different technique. The result was pure heaven. Smooth, rich, creamy Dulce de Leche. Lick-the-bowl-clean Dulce de Leche. I don't think there is anything it wouldn't be delicious on. The perfect addition to your holiday table.
You'll be amazed at how easy it is to make.
Dulce de Leche
Pour can of sweetened condensed milk into a heat-proof bowl, and place over simmering water. Leave it for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes or so with a whisk. Check the water periodically, adding more when necessary. The longer you leave it, the darker and thicker it will become. If you want it to be a sauce, pull it off the heat at around 1 1/2 hours. For thicker, scoop-able Dulce de Leche, it will be more like 3 hours. When your Dulce de Leche has reached your desired consistency, whisk it until smooth (though it should be nearly smooth already). Remember, it will thicken some as it cools, so keep this in mind when deciding how long to cook it for.