I am loving baking these days, I guess it’s the weather! But ever since I managed to go ahead and finally make pizza dough, calzone dough and puff pastry (after years!), there has been no stopping me. I manage to refrigerate meals for the next 2 days, so that means I get alternate days to bake. This past Sunday I had made a mincemeat mix for cutlets, I had a part done dish of Chicken Cacciatore for Monday and for Tuesday, I had a small jar of marinade ready, I plan to pick up fresh cut lamb on the way and make a spicy, rich curry. So that gives me Monday evening to bake. I have wanted a project for a while now, so when I came across a recipe for Chocolate Dulce De Leche bars, I knew this was fate. I had never actually made Dulce De Leche but I had bought bottled version before and it is a favourite in ice creams for me (Haagen Daz has a lovely one with Dulce De Leche). Also with a 5 year old, I try to be conscious as possible about packaged and bottled foods, so I decided to make it from scratch ... well hardly scratch, I used a can of condensed milk but then I was short on time!
All you have to do is open the can slightly (so it doesn’t burst with all the steam when it is heated), place in a pan and submerged 3/4th in water. Keep this on simmer for 2-3 hours, the top will top light but believe me, when you get that can out and stir, you will get the richest caramel colour ever. To be honest, that itself seems like such a culinary achievement! Be careful when you remove the can, I used oven mitts. So there I had it, a whole jar of lovely Dulce De Leche. It was just about enough for the chocolate bars I wanted to make, but I kept half to try other recipes.
Once you have the Dulce De Leche ready, here are a few things you can do with it –
Ice cream – vanilla, strawberry, coffee or chocolate
Melt the ice cream for 10 minutes or so, till it is easy to blend with a thick wired whisk. Churn the ice cream gently in a bowl (the same one you can use to reset the ice cream in the freezer). Use a tablespoon to pour the dulce de leche in circles over the ice cream. Use a spatula to give one fold and reset in the freezer till well set. When you serve you will get ribbons of Dulce De Leche in the ice cream.
Frosting for cakes and cupcakes
1 cup dulce de leche
1/3 cup nutella
½ cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
2-4 tablespoons milk
Place butter, nutella, and dulce de leche in the bowl of a standing mixer, and cream until fluffy. Add the confectioner’s sugar, salt, 2 tablespoons milk, and vanilla, and mix. Add more milk if icing seems to stiff, or add confectioner’s sugar if it seems too runny. The frosting will stiffen in the refrigerator. Beat icing until fluffy. Spread frosting over the cake when the cake you have made is completely cool. This is ideal for vanilla, chocolate, devil’s food, banana and apple cakes.
Filling for tarts, doughnuts and pies
You can use as is, depending upon how thick or thin you made the DDL. Cooking for 2-3 hours makes a relatively tanned and thick version, cook for an hour or so for a runny version. I prefer it thick because then I can thin it down and use in different preparations. For fillings I use combinations of DDL with Nutella, thick cream, melted chocolate, even coconut milk (very thick). These fillings are great if you want to make a quick pie or tart. If you bake with the DDL mix then the filling will set well, if you don’t it will be nice and soft.