Monday, August 28, 2017

Making Caramel from Sweetened Condensed Milk

By now most of us have seen how to make caramel sauce by slow cooking sweetened condensed milk in the can.  All you do is place unopened cans of sweetened condensed milk in a slow cooker, cover the cans with water, put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for five hours.  From what I can tell it works but cooking in the metal can always bothered me, and I never tried it.  Then I saw how you can do the same thing, but instead pour the milk into canning jars, cover with a lid and put it in the slow cooker or better yet, cook it in a pressure cooker.  I bought two cans of sweetened condensed milk at Aldi.  I poured the milk out into half pint canning jars.  Two cans of milk fit into three canning jars.  I put lids on the jars and put them on a trivet in the pressure cooker.  I added enough water so it came just under the lids.  I set the cooker on high for thirty five minutes and let the pressure release naturally.  When I opened the pressure cooker, I was amazed to see beautiful caramel dipping sauce for apples or anything you like to eat with caramel.  Just taking spoonfuls will work too.

It was very good, but I have very intense taste buds and I could taste a slight evaporated milk taste.  Maybe it was the Aldi product or maybe all sweetened condensed milk tastes that way.   My husband and my grandson's liked it, but I wasn't satisfied.

I decided to make my own sweetened condensed milk.  I used 1 cup of powdered milk (which also has that taste too), boiling water, sugar and a little melted butter.  I put it in the blender and mixed it until smooth.  Then I put that mixture in the small jars to cook in the pressure cooker.  It tasted better to me, but the texture was wrong.  Maybe I didn't blend it enough, maybe I blended it too much or it could be the butter.

Next I decided to try another brand of sweetened condensed milk.  It was between Borden and La Lechera.  I decided on La Lechera by Nestle.  Now I am very aware of the Nestle Boycott and of all of Nestle’s alleged crimes against humanity.  It has been going on for years.  Some of it has to do with baby formula but also about their business practices.  All the charges against them are most likely true, but to eliminate all products from a big company like Nestle is virtually impossible.  Nestle is also the parent company for thousands of other products we don't even associate with the Nestle company.  I have a feeling if we got down to the bottom line on most products, we would be disappointed.

The caramel I made from La Lechera was quite good.  I will be asking my family what they think, but I preferred it over the others I have made.  I will try the Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk by Borden next time, but as of now I have had my fill of caramel.  The Borden company probably has people protesting them too.  I don't really know or maybe Nestle owns Borden.  It's way too complicated for my brain.  The bottom line is that cooking any brand of sweetened condensed milk, which is basically sugar and milk, turns it into a nice caramel. 


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