I decided to make these before I received my peanut butter dulce de leche (PBDDL) from Blake Makes. You see, Blake was giving away little jars of PBDDL to a lucky group of food bloggers. I was a little late in finding out about it, and when I didn't get any kind of congratulatory or confirmation email, I just assumed that I wasn't going to be one of the lucky recipients. (Yes, I was too lazy to count through the comments and figure out if I was one of the first 32 to comment on that post.)
So, as I sat around, wishing for a jar of PBDDL, I thought to myself... Why do I need to wait for someone to send me some? I bet I could make my own :) Well, I didn't go as far as making the peanut butter version, but I did try my hand at making my very own dulce de leche for the first time.
Dulce de leche literally means "sweet of milk" and is made by heating sweetened milk until it turns into this rich, caramel flavored substance. The process was very simple. I found myself wondering why I hadn't made some sooner! It was so good I could just eat it by the spoonful!
I decided to make macaroons with my dulce de leche after seeing this simple recipe in the Pastry Queen. These macaroons taste like a Mounds candy bar + caramel. They were good, but very sweet so I couldn't really eat more than one at a time. If you love coconut, you need to try these.
Oh, and of course right after I made these, I was surprised to receive a package from Blake with a cute little PBDDL jar inside! Thanks Blake! I still haven't decided if I want to just eat it with a spoon, or make something with it :) We'll see...
Dulce de Leche Macaroons
from The Pastry Queen, by Rebecca Rather
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
3 cups lightly packed sweetened flaked coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips or 1 cup toasted slivered almonds
Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats, or grease generously with butter or cooking spray.
Remove the paper wrapper from the can of the sweetened condensed milk. Use a can opener to make two small punctures in the top of the can on opposite sides. Set the can of milk in a medium saucepan, puncture side up. Fill the saucepan with water to reach two-thirds of the way up the sides of the can. Cover the saucepan and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat until the water simmers and simmer about 1 hour. Check the saucepan periodically, adding water to ensure that the level dose not drop below halfway. A bit of milk may seep out of the small holes in the can. Cook until the milk pooled on top of the can has turned a deep golden brown. (The pooled milk never turned a deep golden brown for me, but I cooked mine for 2 hours and when I opened the can, it was a light caramel color. I might try 3 hours next time and see if I can get a darker caramel.) (You may have heard that boiling the can of sweetened condensed milk unopened is a shortcut. Do not attempt this. The milk expands when heated and may erupt with explosive results.)
Preheat the oven to 350F. Remove the can from the simmering water using a pot holder or tongs (it will be very hot). Carefully open the can and use a rubber spatula to spoon the cooked milk into a medium bowl. (Make sure you whisk it together well after transferring it to the bowl to break up any clumps.) Let it cool at least 10 minutes. Add the coconut, vanilla, and chocolate chips, stirring until combined.
Use a firmly packed 1-3/4 inch-diameter scoop to 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.
Yield: About 1-1/2 Dozen.