So, from the mouth and mind of
one of my very best friends ever......
I am slightly obsessed with homemade gifts. This year, I have made pickles, BBQ sauce, infused bourbon... I've done it all. Around Christmas, the theme for my family's annual Yankee swap was the letter "A" (don't ask- every family has weird traditions, right?) So, in a major stretch, I decided to give gifts from Argentina- one of which is my attempt at homemade Dulce de Leche. After a lot of recipe and blog reading, I felt like this was something I could take on... It's pretty simple ingredients-wise and seemed like something I could do in a night. So, I got to work and had so much fun in the kitchen doing it and ended up with a really tasty sauce that that made the most awesome gift! I hope you give this one a try!
Here's what you need:
a big pot. Bigger than you think you'll need. I will explain why later.
4 c whole milk
2 c sugar
1 vanilla bean (you sub 1 teaspoon of extract, but I really like the look of the flecks of seeds you get with the actual bean)
1 teaspoon baking soda
Split the vanilla bean down the middle. Heat milk, sugar and vanilla bean over medium heat and whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved (about 20 minutes). Lower the heat and add the baking soda. Here is where the big pot comes into play. You need a lot of space in the pot because this shit is going to GROW. I mean bubble and foam like your 8th grade volcano science project. I kind of wish I didn't tell you this part and let you have the experience that I had in my kitchen. I just stood there in a daze staring at this ever-expanding mass of foam overflow onto my stove top. I ended up with a pretty big mess on my hands, but the final result was well worth it!
At this point, it's pretty simple. The foam will go down eventually. Don't try to whisk it back into the liquid, just let it do its thing and give it an occasional gentle stir, about every 5 minutes. It will bubble away for about 2 hours, slowly getting darker and thicker. Once you get to the consistency you like (remember it will thicken as it cools), kill the heat. I put mine through a strainer just to get out any clumps- not necessary, I was just going for a super pro look since it was going to be a gift. Pour into jars. Let cool a bit before putting on the lid to avoid condensation. Will last in the fridge for a few months. If you have a pressure canning system, you can preserve it, but don't use a hot water bath. The temp doesn't get high enough to kill everything, so you are better off keeping it in the fridge.
**Please note, the pictures here reflect a DOUBLED recipe.**I hope you try it out! It is really fun to do and the sauce is AMAZING on ice cream, drizzled over chocolate cake, nestled between two shortbread cookies...YUM!
I can't wait to make this! Just slap a red bow on and you are set for the 14th!
One other thing - have you guys checked ou the "Can Jam" hosted by Tigress in a Jam? I originally read about it on Design Sponge and thought it was such a great idea to can a different seasong veg/fruit each month. Such a fun challenge!