Slow cooker dulce de leche (Cajeta) (gluten-free)

Dulce de leche (“milk candy”) is a milk based caramel type sauce which was popularized in South American countries. This recipe is similar to the Mexican ‘cajeta’ which uses 1/2 goat milk and 1/2 cow’s milk.

You can buy dulce de leche, but why buy canned dulce de leche? Its SO very, very easy to make. Besides, the commercial stuff usually contains crap ingredients and artificial colours.

Now, traditionally dulce de leche is made in clay pots, but I don’t have anything like that in my house. And I am so impatient, I don’t like leaving things on the stove burner that I have to watch and stir for hours, so voila! An overnight recipe using a slow cooker! Beware: close your bedroom door if you make this overnight, if you don’t you’ll be sleep walking into the kitchen drooling. Its just smells so good you’ll want to eat it before its finished! If you want to use your stove, or you don’t have a slow cooker you can still make this recipe! Simply simmer the same recipe for 1-2 hours, or until the sauce is a caramel brown. It will thicken after you remove it from the burner, so don’t worry if it looks runny.

Speaking of caramel, many, many people incorrectly believe that dulce de leche is simply caramel made with milk. This is 100% incorrect. Dulce de leche is not produced through caramelization. It is created through a common chemical a reaction known as a Maillard reaction. This is the same reaction that causes searing on the outside of meat and vegetables when they are grilled. Anyway, my point is that because it is a chemical reaction you can do some very scientific things to this sauce to make the reaction work ‘better’. And by scientific I mean add baking soda or should I say sodium bicarbonate (more scientific sounding). Anyway, if you would like really dark almost chocolate coloured dulce de leche you can simply add 1 tsp baking soda to the recipe. If you do, your sauce will not only be darker but much stronger and richer in flavour. Scientifically speaking, sodium bicarbonate is added to prevent coagulation of milk proteins cased by the decrease in both the pH of the mixture and the decrease of the isoelectric pH of the proteins during heating process.

Whether you add baking soda is 100% up to you! Believe me, you’ll love the final product either way. Pour it over fruit or a slice of pound cake, or stir it into vanilla ice cream. I made a dulce de leche chocolate, vanilla praline pie using mine. I’ll post that recipe another day.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (250 mL) whole (homogenized) goat’s milk
  • 2 cups (250 mL) whole (homogenized) cow’s milk
  • 1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds separated (add 1tsp vanilla if you don’t have the bean, but I really do like to use the real bean, they are really cheap if you buy them on Ebay)

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker, stir well.
  2. Cook on high for 10 hours.
  3. Stir occasionally the last hour.
  4. Remove the vanilla bean pod
  5. Store refrigerated for up to three weeks, or freeze for future occasions.
  6. Serve at room temperature over fruit, on cakes, or buy itself. Its all good! Enjoy!


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One Response

  1. Great idea. Just what I was looking for, since I did not want to spend all day stirring the dulce de leche while on the stove.

    250 ml is one cup, not 2 cups

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