The thought of Dulce de Leche was sweet and enticing, but the nightmares I had every time I thought about cooking an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk on my stovetop was a strong deterrent. Nobody wants to pick shards of aluminum can out of their rental apartment ceiling or spend hours scrubbing gooey, not-quite-cooked-through caramel sauce off the walls. Ew and no fun.
So the first time I made Dulce de Leche, I opted for the microwave version. It claimed to be fast and easy and relatively non-messy. Fibbers. I mixed the ingredients in the biggest bowl I had that would fit in my microwave but it still bubbled over repeatedly and turned into a huge, sticky, hot mess and by the time it was finally done, my feet had started to ache from standing around the microwave for so long and I only had about half the amount that the recipe promised I'd have! I'm sure the rest of it was stuck on some inner surface of the microwave. Oops.
Needless to say, I never wanted to make Dulce de Leche again. Until now.
Fearless Dulce de Leche [click to print]
If you want to make your dulce without any leftover milk, you'll need two 14oz. cans of sweetened condensed milk and three 1/2 pint canning jars with tight sealing lids. You can use fat-free sweetened condensed milk, too, and it tastes pretty great!
Step 1: Pour the sweetened condensed milk into the canning jars and screw the lids on tight. (I put rubber bands around two of my smaller jars because I was nervous about how tight the seal was.)
Step 2: Put the jars in the crockpot and cover with warm tap water so there's at least an inch of water above the top of the jars. (Hot water gets your dulce cooking faster.)
Step 3: Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Don't lift the lid during cooking! Every time you do, it adds about 30 minutes to the total cook time.
Step 4: At the 8 hour mark, peek in your crockpot and see how dark the dulce is getting. When it reaches a dark caramel color, remove from crockpot with tongs and allow to cool completely.
Source: Adapted from The Yummy Life