Thursday, December 3, 2009

WWBFD (What Would Brett Favre Do?) and Crock Pot Dulce de Leche

We have made easy and muy delicioso dulce de leche in the crock pot before, using a can of sweetened condensed milk. But could I also use the crock pot to make dulce de leche from scratch? Would that not be better and tastier?

Following Lora Brody's recipe in Slow Cooker Cooking, I put 3 cups of whole milk, a split vanilla bean, 1 2/3 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup water and a pinch of baking soda in the crock pot, left the lid off, set it on high, and went on my merry way.

For several hours, it just looked like this: hot, spiced milk.
And then 5 hours in ... voila! Caramel color! Thickened caramelliness!

But, the recipe dictated several more hours - 4 more hours, for a total of 9 hours in the crock pot.

And this is where I was faced with my Brett Favre moment.

Do I stop here, turn off the crock pot and take what looks to be a good batch, a successful batch, and call it a day?

Or do I keep going? Do I let it caramelize even more, reaching possibly even greater heights of glory? And risk going too long, ending a long, sweet run with the bitter taste of failure?

I took the way of Favre: I waffled about it forever, and finally decided to keep it in a little longer. The recipe, I figured, couldn't be that off. My crock pot, I thought, can't be that hot.

But while Brett Favre is currently generating talk of a possible MVP, my dulce de leche just generated talk of being my LFF - Latest Food Fail.

Because the next time I checked the dulce de leche, less than an hour later, it looked like this:


Not super-caramelly and slightly burnt, which might be good, but kind of curdled and a little too burnt.

Adding the additional cup of milk as directed by the recipe made it seem less burnt. It tasted okay, but it still had that bitter edge, and it wasn't quite the creaminess and sticky goodness I had hoped for, once had, and lost.

Which goes to show you that I am no Brett Favre, and that you should watch the food, not the clock, and not the recipe.
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  1. Anonymous9:36 PM

    easiest dulce de leche is achieved by boiling the can of sweetened condensed milk in a big pot of water for about 2 hrs! it's really yummy all you have to do is take off the label! I have never had a can blow up on me, just make sure that the can is covered fully with water... good luck!

    jen downing/

  2. awww nice try though!!!