Saturday, February 9, 2013


Caramel loving Feingolders such as myself will surely have noticed the dearth of caramel sauces in the Foodlist. I found exactly one listed, by Monin, which is a brand I have never seen for sale locally.

I seriously considered trying some off-list brands of caramel, but once I looked at the ingredients, I couldn't. I saw some with better ingredients, but they were pricy, and I want to dump a jar caramel on everything, so I couldn't justify it. I know you can make it, but all of the stirring and temperature taking intimidated me, and I never tried. So for a very long, very sad time, I went without caramel on my ice cream.

But no longer. Did you know you can simmer a can of sweetened condensed milk for four to five hours, and at the end you have caramel? I'm not kidding. It's like magic. I used Eagle brand (because it was cheapest, not because it's "most trusted").

I'd read about doing this, but it seemed too good to be true, and I was wary. Until friends brought some over one night. Clouds parted, angels sang. I was hooked.

This stuff has two ingredients: milk and sugar. It's practically health food.

First, remove the labels.

Then, put the cans in a deep pan, and add enough water to generously cover the cans. A stock pot is ideal, really, but let's not talk about the one I bought at a garage sale to use for canning, and how it sat unused in my basement for two years, until I brought it upstairs to make caramel. And let's definitely not talk about the horrible "what did they cook in this thing?" smell that lingered in my kitchen for two days, even though the pan appeared clean, and I washed it before I used it.

Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer.

Check every so often, and add water if you need to, to keep the cans submerged. If the water gets too low and the cans are uncovered, they can explode.

I've read all kinds of variations on how long to let it cook. I found 4 hours and 45 minutes (give or take, it's not an exact science) perfect. I think that the longer you go, the thicker it gets, but my understanding is that it will never get as thick as caramel candy.

Once it's done, you do have to wait for it to cool to open it. I usually let mine cool in the pan until the water is lukewarm, then I pour out the water and add cold water. Once the cans are cool enough to handle, they are safe to open.

See? Magic!

Once the can is open, dump the caramel into a bowl, and give it a good stir. I also recommend adding  a half a teaspoon or so of sea salt at this time. If you like that sort of thing (I do).

Also, because the milk is canned, unopened cans can be stored in your cupboard for up to a year. So make extra.


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