9.27.2009

Dulce de Leche Heaven

My family always had sweetened condensed milk on the grocery list. My father called it "goo-goo"- probably because one of us described it that way as a child- and it stuck...my kids still call it that. Dad even liked it on toast and, until the day he died, he had a spoonful of it in his coffee. It was both sugar and cream. Manna. He lived to the ripe old age of 94.

Mother made dulce de leche by boiling cans of sweetened condensed milk for a couple hours then she'd slice it and serve it with cream for dessert. (Are you mentally counting those calories?) I'm too chicken to boil it - why doesn't it blow up?-and mother is no longer here to give me exact directions. We all know the only directions that really count are Mother's. My sister does hers in a pressure cooker- no way I'm doing that either. Then I read someplace about making it in the microwave. Uhhhhh..no.  So while doing a search online for a simple and safe and fool-proof method I came across the recipe for Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares at Smitten Kitchen. She has an excellent plan for making the dulce de leche part of the recipe: in the the top of a double boiler. Works for me. 

I know.  I'm a tad late arriving at the dulce de leche party (pronounced: dool-say deh lay-chay according to a Cuban friend, who corrected me), but we've been eating it in my family since way back. I just never made it myself. Go figure. So I continued on and made the cheesecake squares. The recipe has already made the rounds so you've probably tried them by now and I'm not saying they aren't good, they're delicious. But if your raison d'être for making them is to savor the flavor of dulce de leche- you can forget it. Mainly you taste the chocolate on top. I know you chocolate fanatics are loving that idea.

Even though I am posting the cheesecake square recipe here, I have a confession: I really wanted to make dulce de leche so I could eventually try Dulce de Leche Brioche. Doesn't that sound divine? I'll keep you posted. And just in case there are one or two of you out there who haven't yet made these cheesecake squares- here's the recipe. Yummy.

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares
(Adapted from a Smitten Kitchen post  in February 2008, who adapted it from Gourmet Magazine, December 2003)

Making dulce de leche:
Pour one can (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk into the top of a double-boiler. Place over boiling water.


This is after 30 minutes simmering.


Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 50 minutes to an hour, or until thick and light caramel-colored. Remove from heat. Whisk until smooth. Makes 1 cup.



Done, but still warm.

Cheesecake squares:





Ingredients for the crust:
1 cup of crushed graham crackers
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Ingredients for the filling:

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup whole milk
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup dulce de leche

Ingredients for the glaze:
3 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), coarsely chopped
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons light corn syrup

Method:
With the rack in the center of your oven,  preheat to 325°.  Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with 2 sheets of foil (crisscrossed), leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides.

Crush the crackers and add the sugar, a pinch of salt, the butter and mix thoroughly.  Press the mixture into the bottom of your prepared baking pan. Bake 10 minutes, then cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes.

Sprinkle gelatin over milk in a bowl and let it soften for 2 minutes. In a mixer, beat together cream cheese, eggs, salt, and gelatin mixture until well combined, then stir in dulce de leche gently but thoroughly. Pour the filling over the crust, smoothing top, then bake in a hot water bath in the oven (leaving the temperature the same) until center is just set, about 45 minutes. Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 2 hours. Chill, covered, at least 6 hours.

Heat all glaze ingredients in a glass bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Repeat in 10 second intervals until melted together. Give it a quick whip by hand to make it smooth, then pour the glaze over the cheesecake, tilting the baking pan to coat the top evenly. Chill, uncovered, 30 minutes.

Lift cheesecake from the pan using the foil overhang and cut it into 1-inch squares (anything bigger is just too rich) with a thin knife, dipping and cleaning off the knife in hot water after each cut. (Don’t skip this step! A clean knife is essential if you want your squares to look pretty and not have chocolate smeared down the sides!)
Makes about 64 one inch squares.
Note: you can refrigerate the cheesecake (without the glaze) for up to 3 days.

46 comments:

  1. Nice work!! I haven't made any dulce de leche yet. Yours looks so great and the slice looks tasty! looking forward to more recipes similar :)

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  2. This looks wonderful. Those little bite size squares would make fabulous treats!

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  3. Your cheesecake sounds so good Barbara. I love dulce de leche in it.

    Btw, thanks for visiting my blog.
    Cheers,
    elra

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  4. Yum, I've seen it but haven't made it. Thanks for the reminder and the tip! I'll forego the chocolate layer and just add a light drizzle!
    ~ingrid

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  5. These look fantastic!!! My daughter loves condensed milk and, in fact, got a can for her b'day so she could dunk in...yes...Twinkies!

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  6. Holy deliciousness. That looks incredible.

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  7. That is how I usually make my dulce de leche - yum! I need to make these squares now!

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  8. Cheesecake squares with dolce de leche sound absolutely heavenly! I would love one right now!

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  9. I've never made my own dulce de leche, but I really should give it a try. It would be incredible in brioche!

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  10. ooh, somehow I missed this smitten kitchen recipe. Looks awesome! Your squares turned out so neat and pretty. Saving this in my favorites :)

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  11. This looks really amazing. I love your addition of dulce de leche to cheesecake! I've seen Paula Deen make what she calls a toffee sauce by baking sweetened condensed milk in the oven...it got a very dark toffee color and looked delish!

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  12. That looks delicious! I love the color it gets after 50 minutes.

    Definitely insulin worthy for me! :D

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  13. I must make these. And then hide them. I could drink dulche de leche all day, every day.

    But then I wouldn't be able to get through the door to get more...

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  14. I'm paranoid about making my own dulce de leche, but I know I shouldn't be...your recipe looks yummy and doable! who doesn't love condensed milk? yum!

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  15. Lovely!

    Lovely rich & delicious looking treats!

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  16. I adore cheesecake, so was excited at this recipe. Must try it.

    Thank you for your kind comment at The Attic, do come again.
    xoxo

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  17. glooooorious. dulce de leche is a magical ingredient, and since i fear exploding cans, your method of making it is a lot more appealing! incidentally, sweetened condensed milk on toast sounds delicious!

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  18. I'm drooling, Barbara! Sounds absolutely delicious.

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  19. Those squares looks utterly delicious. I love condensed milk (we used to sneak spoonfuls out of the fridge when mum wasn't looking), but have never tried making dulce de leche for your reasons (ka-boom!) :) Thanks for sharing this safer method.

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  20. I have not made them. I'm not normally a cheesecake fan but these have me thinking I should give cheesecake a second chance.

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  21. I'm glad you liked Lorraine's interview? Would you like to be creative woman of the Pond?

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  22. Those look amazing! I've never tried making dulce de leche for the very reasons you mentioned. I think I can handle the double boiler method :)

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  23. I tried making dulce de leche by boiling the can and it didn't work. Maybe I didn't cook it long enough. I like your double boiler method much better.

    These bars look pretty darn good to me.

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  24. gosh this looks lovely barbara!

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  25. I've always wanted to make those. They look soo good.

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  26. Those look absolutely delightful!
    Brenda

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  27. ummm YUM thats all I have to say about this post!!

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  28. If your lunchboxes/ dishes/ creatures of magic and mayhem do argue, threaten not to give them any cookies until they behave. That does the trick.

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  29. Condensed milk, we grew up with it back in Brazil...I love everything with it...we even cook then can in a pressure cooker...yummie yummie. By the way, your little square is a must :-)

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  30. Just excellent! I love the way you got to the Dulce de Leche and the cheescake squares just rock!

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  31. I love how Americans call it Dulce de Leche. It makes it sound all fancy! In Australia we just call that a caremel slice. (rather boring isn't it?)

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  32. I'd love to have a couple of these bars and I would not even bat an eyelid about the calories :D. Your sister is so brave..I have a phobia with pressure cooker :(.

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  33. I have been wanting to make dulce de leche...thanks for making it sound so easy and yes your post is a lovely read!

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  34. I love the background and these really sound delicious! (wondering why all the comments above are dated 2/10/09 - a mystery of the blogosphere :)

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  35. oh wow I love these little yummies, great blog as well thanks so much for visiting mine have a great weekend

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  36. thanks for dropping by my random world! hope you make my dessert on the fly & love it!
    btw.. your dulce looks yummy!

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  37. I had no idea that you boil down condensed milk. I learned something new today! I never thought to put it in my coffee like your dad-you are right, it is the sugar and the creamer. What a great idea! I think you should keep working towards the courage to try to prepare it like your mom :-) I think it would be well worth the effort.

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  38. That sounds like heaven alright! I love me anything with dulce de leche!

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  39. This looks SO good.As for boiling the cans of sweetened condensed milk, the barefoot contessa on food network gave detailed instructions recently.

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  40. That's brilliant! I love love love dulce de leche, and I actually put condensed milk in my coffee too. I think it's the best thing ever.

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  41. I want to make these- they look simply delicious. I just made a dulce de leche apple pie, and the method I use for making dulce de leche is the easiest I've come across. You just dump the sw. condensed milk in a pie plate, cover it w/ foil, place it in a water bath and bake it for a little over an hour. So easy!!

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  42. those squares look perfect! love dulce de leche with anything!

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  43. I have an unhealthy love of condensed milk, and often have it in my coffee, Vietnamese style. This summer I used it to make ice cream.

    These squares look heavenly indeed.

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  44. Who doesn't like dulce de leche? This looks so wonderfully creamy!

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  45. I love dulce leche! Those cheesecake squares look so good!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  46. I never thougth I'd enjoy so much reading about the making of a dessert!
    PS I'm Italian, and I never heard of fergola, although I've seen those "edible pellets" in stores on occasion ... will have to read the label and check out the name next time!

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