Dulce de leche. The idea of making my own seemed as foreign as the name itself. And as much as I want to be all Top Chef status (Bravo addict, y'all), I cannot tell a lie... It was pretty much the easiest thing I've ever whipped up in a kitchen. If you've got a can of sweetened condensed milk and an arm to stir with, you're in business.
The only challenge (besides for not chugging the entire can of Eagle Brand - nectar of the gods - before you've even embarked on said culinary quest) is patience. If you don't have two hours to spare, save it for another day. While I'm usually a big fan of kitchen shortcuts (hello, steam-in-the-bag veggies!), this one's worth the time. The proof is in the pudding (er, dulce de leche).
I'm borrowing the recipe from David Lebovitz...
Preheat the oven to 425° F.
Pour one can (14 ounces) of sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk) into a glass pie plate or shallow baking dish. Stir in a few flecks of sea salt.
Set the pie plate within a larger pan, such as a roasting pan, and add hot water until it reaches halfway up the side of the pie plate.
Cover the pie plate snugly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 to 1¼ hours. (Check a few times during baking and add more water to the roasting pan as necessary).
Once the dulce de leche is nicely browned and caramelized, remove from the oven and let cool. Once cool, whisk until smooth.
Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Warm gently in a microwave oven before using.
And the best part? Dulce de leche is like the Swiss army knife of desserts. It's functionality is endless... Sandwich it between cookies. Drizzle it atop your ice cream. Dip your apples in it. Eat heaping spoonfuls of it straight from the bowl (like me). Whatever tickles your sweet tooth.