I have a confession to make. There hasn’t been a whole lot of cooking going on in my house. It’s just too darn hot outside. We live in an older house with horrible insulation, and although we had central air put in when we bought the house, it still is hard to keep the house cool. (It also could have to do with the fact that the people we hired put in a much too small unit – if you live in Utah County and are wanting to put in heating or air conditioning – I’ll tell you who not to hire!) So we’ve been eating very simple lately. I pulled up the folder of pictures to blog on my computer this morning, and I realized that my back-ups are getting quite thin!! Since I don’t have a whole lot left to choose from, I’m bringing you another cookie recipe – but I never complain about too many cookies!!
I think I’m like most people over the world – I love dulce de leche. So when I see a recipe with it, I’m always drawn to it. This one was no exception! I know that dulce de leche can now be bought at many supermarkets and grocery stores across the US these days. In fact, I’ve seen it at my store, but I’ve never bought it. I’ve always made my own. Even though it takes a long time, it is really quite easy. And to my knowledge, there are 3 different ways to make it using sweetened condensed milk. I know everyone has their preference, and so do I.
1 – put the can in a pot of boiling water, completely covered by water. Let the can simmer in the water for 2 to 4 hours. This is actually the way that my Junior High Spanish teacher taught us to make it. The caution on this one is that the can can explode. It’s never happened to me, but there are warnings everywhere of the danger of making dulce de leche this way. The good thing about this method is that the milk caramelizes evenly through the can, but on the bad side, you can’t really tell when it is done because the can is sealed.
2 – poke 2 holes in the top of the sweetened condensed milk can. Put it into a pot of simmering water, and leave it there for 2-4 hours, refilling the water as neccesary to keep the water level about 2/3 up the can. The milk will pool a bit on the top of the can, and when it turns a caramel color, it is done. Although this is the safer way, (and the way suggested in the recipe for these cookeis), it’s probably my least favorite way. Because the bottom 2/3 of the can are immersed in water, they turn much darker than the top. What I usually end up with is thick, almost solid caramel on the bottom, and barely caramelized milk on the top. I don’t like the inconsistency.
3 – the third way, and my favorite way, is to bring a pot of water to a simmer or light boil, and set a bowl on top of the pan. Open the can of sweetened condensed milk, and pour it into the bowl. Cover the bowl with foil, and go back and stir the milk every 15 to 30 minutes until it has caramelized and thickened. Although this way seems to take the longest, I like that the milk caramelizes evenly, and you can tell when it is done and to the consistency you want.
No matter which method you choose, I wouldn’t suggest using fat free sweetened condensed milk. That’s all I had at home when I made these, and it doesn’t work quite right.
Whether you choose to buy the pre-made dulce de leche or make your own, these are easy and delicious cookies!
Dulce de Leche Macaroons
adapted from The Pastry Queen
Makes about 1 1/2 dozen
14 oz can dulce de leche
3 cups lightly packed sweetened flaked coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchement paper or silicone mats, or butter generously.
Mix together the dulce de leche, coconut and vanilla. Using a 1 3/4-diameter scoop, drop the spoonfuls of dough on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 1-1/2 inches apart. Wet your fingertips lightly with water and gently flatten the cookie dough (no need to press hard; just press out the hump). Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until the edges are dark brown and crisp. Let the cookies cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Store the cookies for about 1 week in an airtight tin, or freeze for 1 month. Separate the layers of cookies with waxed paper or they will stick together.