Dulce de Leche

Last summer, after reading a memoir by Josaphine Caminos Orias, I discovered that she has also written a cookbook.  Fascinated by the memoir and sucked in by the vibrant cover art, I ordered up a copy of the cookbook...and let it collect dust for a while before finally taking the time to read it.

Here’s my review:

Dulce de Leche: Recipes, Stories,  Sweet Traditions
Dulce de Leche: Recipes, Stories, Sweet Traditions by Josephine Caminos Oria
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I purchased this cookbook after reading Oria's memoir, Sobremesa. Dulce de Leche (the recipe) was referenced frequently in the memoir and I was excited to try the recipe and others in the cookbook!

Things I love about this cookbook:
-Recipe for Dulce de Leche (several versions)
-Bright eye catching cover
-consistent bright colors throughout the book
-snippets that the beginnings of sections AND beginnings of recipes detailing personal connections to recipes

Things I didn't love:
-No pictures of food
-ALL of the recipes included dulce de leche. While this isn't a bad this per se, I was taken aback, realizing that I'd have to make or acquire ducle de leche to try any of the recipes in the cookbook. Having read the memoire (with lots of food mentioned), I came in expecting some of those family recipes to make an appearance and was a little disappointed when they didn't.

Overall, this is a great book with a tried and true from scratch dulce de leche recipe, especially if you're looking to expand your use of dulce de leche in both sweet and savory applications.

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While not as excited as I originally was, I was happy to find Orias’ recipe for dulce de leche (teased but never shared in the memoir).  I finally found time (it takes 2 hours of stirring) to make the dulce de leche and was happy that I finally did!

I loved it in coffee (in place of syrup) and also in an upcoming cookie and pie recipe (so good!) 

Dulce de Leche

Adapted from Dulce de Leche

1 quart (4 cups) whole milk

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1 cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Mix together the milk and baking soda in a saucepan over medium heat.  Once the mixture reaches 150 degrees F (steaming), slowly add in the sugar and vanilla bean paste, whisking constantly.

Continue cooking at a steady boil for about 2 hours.  At first, the milk will foam up aggressively, keep stirring and reduce heat as necessary until the milk stops foaming.

As the mixture cooks, stay nearby to continue stirring every minute or two with a wooden spoon to ensure that the milk/sugar does not prematurely caramelize to the bottom of the pan.

After about 2 hours, the mixture will be thick and amber in color, at this point, almost constant stirring is needed.  

To test for doneness, the dulce de leche should coat the wooden spoon.  Additionally, a small amount of dulce de leche can be drizzled onto a cold plate and cooled for a minute.  If the dulce de leche does not run when the plate is tipped, it is done cooking.

At this point the dulce de leche should be poured into a metal bowl and placed in an ice bath (a large bowl filled with ice and water) and stirred occasionally until cooled.

Pour the cooled dulce de leche into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 month.