Slow Cooker Dulce de Leche (aka Milk Caramel)


So about three weeks before Christmas, Marco slides up to me in the kitchen, starts kissing my neck and whispers in my ear “Is it time get out the slow cooker?”  This is how romance works in our home, I know the drill.  I get kisses, he gets dulce.

And everyday when he comes home from work during the Christmas season, he opens the fridge and helps himself to a spoonful of dulce.  Come to think of it, he may need to seek counseling for dulce addiction.

Dulce de leche is Spanish milk caramel.  Traditionally, it is made by slow cooking sweetened condensed milk until it becomes a thick caramel with divine hints of vanilla.  It is oh so good.  I have been making it for about 8 years and like to think I have quite perfected it.

We like dulce licked off a spoon, drizzled on ice cream and stirred into coffee.  This slow cooker version requires very little effort on your part and other than the heavy cream, all of the ingredients are pantry items.

Get slow cooking flavoristas!  What are you waiting for?  Christmas?  Nah, dulce de leche is the perfect sweet treat for Valentine’s Day.

Slow Cooker Dulce de Leche adapted from Lora Brody’s Slow Cooker Cooking
Yields 2 cups plus a few tablespoons for sampling

1 2/3 cups sugar
3 1/4 cups whole milk
1/4 cup water
large pinch baking soda
pinch of salt
(vanilla salt works well here if you happen to have some)

Whisk everything together in a slow cooker and let it cook on high, uncovered, for 12 – 14 hours until there is visible caramelization.  There many be some large bits of caramelized sugar & milk. Use a spatula to scrape up the caramelized sugars. Then add:

3/4 cup room temperature heavy cream or light cream
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or 1 tsp. vanilla extract)

Using an immersion blender process until smooth and there are no visible clumps of caramel left. Be careful here as the caramel and the slow cooker are hot.  It may require an extra set of hands to tilt the slow cooker.  Continue to heat on high for 1 more hour.

Skim foam (aka nougat) and transfer remaining dulce to clean jars. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate.

Proceed to swoon 🙂

Before skimming.

The finished product.  Oh la la.

Nougat ready for sampling.

More on dulce de leche from the blogosphere:

Not Without Salt
Purple Foodie
David Lebovitz
Chez Pim
Recipe Girl

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