Dulce de Leche or Milk Caramel is made by slowly cooking fresh milk and sugar until the mixture thickens into a luscious creamy caramel sauce. Popular in Latin America and in Spain, my first taste of Dulce de Leche was in Madrid a decade ago when it was served poured over vanilla ice cream.
Thicker than a sauce, Dulce de Leche is more like a cooled melted caramel – thick, rich and not unlike the caramel that sticks to a spoon when making caramel apples. Although Dulce de Leche cannot be used to make caramel apples (because it doesn’t harden when cooled), the sauce can be spooned over ice cream, yogurt, cake, waffles, crepes, biscuits, toast, and even used as a layer between sweet crisp breads known as “tortas” (as pictured above). Some fans have been known to stick a spoon in the jar and enjoy Dulce de Leche plain – it’s that good. Read more
Several years ago, I tasted the creamiest yogurt ever and set upon figuring out how a small Molkerei (dairy) in Switzerland could make a yogurt with the proper balance of three major traits: smooth texture, big flavor, and a slight tangy aftertaste. I tried to replicate that yogurt about a dozen times with my yogurt maker using every type of milk before I gave up and decided to ask the owner of the Molkerie in Switzerland how they make their yogurt. The owner told me the secret to making really great yogurt lies with the cows: they need to graze and be well cared for. I realized I would never be able to reproduce a really great yogurt unless I had my own cow, and that was pretty much out of the question but the message stayed with me. Read more
There is no big mystery to chocolate except how luscious it tastes in every form. As with most creations, the quality of the ingredients – cocoa beans, butter, cream, sugar, and the endless selection of nuts, fruits, and products mixed with the chocolate – matter; the higher the quality, the better the flavor. Some chocolatiers go so far as to grow and roast their own beans, while others purchase high quality chocolates and blend them. We all have our preferences: milk, dark, and even white chocolate although some connoisseurs do not consider white chocolate to be “real” chocolate. In any form, most of those that indulge agree that chocolate is simply delicious. Read more
My first introduction to caramel was in the form of those perfect little commercially produced squares wrapped in plastic. It was love at first sight and I realized that almost everything (apples, ice cream, popcorn, chocolate, cookies) tastes better with caramel. Even the Girl Scouts discovered the marvels of caramel when they started selling Samosas and there are a hundred variations of the “turtle” with chocolate, nuts, and caramel blended together. But, the real epiphany was when I tasted homemade caramel: creamy, buttery caramel that melts in your mouth and leaves a lingering sweet taste. Read more