This is a milk-based sauce popular throughout Latin America. Milk sweetened with vanilla and sugar is cooked to make a wonderful, versatile caramel-like cream. You can eat it alone, use it to fill cakes, or serve over bananas, ice cream or any other pudding!
Previous reviewers' frustration with this recipe is probably the fault of a certain vagueness in the directions. Dulce de leche is essentially a jelly based on milk instead of fruit juice; the liquid needs to be reduced to about half its original volume. It will foam up considerably when first reaching an active simmer, and again when the baking soda is added. After that, it will be relatively well-behaved for a while and the heat can be turned up, though constant stirring will still be needed to keep the bottom from burning. When it's nearly ready, it will suddenly get very foamy again (if you have a jelly/deepfry thermometer, this will be at about 220 F). After that, you can keep testing small samples on a chilled plate to see how much it stiffens up; if you evaporate it too far down, you may end up with something more like soft fudge-- still perfectly edible, but perhaps not what you had in mind. I'm not sure why this recipe suggests chilling the dulce de leche *before* placing in jelly jars, which seems like an invitation for trouble of various kinds. For a start, it's much easier to scrape it out when it's still hot. One last cleanup note-- instead of tossing the sticky pot into the sink to soak off the caramel you couldn't scrape out, pour a bit of plain milk into it and gently reheat it on the stove while stirring. Hey presto: caramel-sweet - 04 Sep 2002 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
My daughter-in-law is from Argentina and taught me how to make this. She uses skim milk and splenda for half the sugar in the recipe. Instead of standing over the pot and stirring, she places a saucer upside down in the bottom of the pot. As the milk heats up, the saucer starts rocking and stirs the milk. She lets it simmer away without stirring for a few hours and it's delicious! Use it for a dipping sauce on bananas or any fruit, cake, ice cream. Unfortunately, it disappears by the spoonful eaten right from the storage jar! - 12 Feb 2008 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)
I loved this recipe. I actually made less by using 4 cups milk, 1 cup white sugar, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract. It was done in 35 minutes. I had it on medium-high the entire time and ended up transferring it to a larger pan in the middle of it since it kept wanting to overflow. I did beat "vigorously" the entire time, my husband helped for a few minutes and it was done! At 20 minutes, it started turning slightly light brown and was heavier in consistency, I chose to leave it longer because I like it thick but you can probably turn it off as soon as it starts to get thick and brown if you want it runnier. I am argentinian and grew up on this so I'm thrilled to have this recipe. I made swedish pancakes that are so easy and put the dulce de leche inside...yummmmmmy! For the swedish-like pancake recipe put everything in blender together: 3 eggs 2 cups milk 1 1/2 cup flour 3 Tbs sugar 2 Tbs oil 1 tsp salt Blend completely in blender. Fry very thin in hot frying pan coated with oil. Turn once, they should be lightly brown on both sides. Put a coat of dulde de leche and then roll them up. I like to add powdered sugar on top for presentation. Everyone will be impressed, these are delicious! Enjoy! (the swedish pancakes make about 24 pancakes, I cut this recipe in half to match the amount of dulce de leche made. - 19 May 2007 (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)