Dulce de Leche Sammies Part 1

Today we’re going to make some Dulce de Leche! Yum! This is the first step in making alfajores which are a South American treat consisting of two sweet, flakey cookies smooshed together with a dulce de leche filling.  These little sammies are so delightful they are actually Argentina’s official National Cookie.

The recipes I found to make these cookies generally called for store-bought dulce de leche, which is totally acceptable if you want to make these quickly and which you can find at most Mexican markets.  There are plenty of those markets here in San Francisco, but as a real do-it-yourself-er I felt the need to make my own.

Enter: Alton Brown.

I love this guy.  He speaks not only to my inner foodie, but my inner (or not so inner) science nerd.  This recipe is from his show,  “Good Eats.”  I’m sure you can watch the episode online if you’re interested, and the original recipe is available on the Food Network’s website, here.

Make sure you’ve got a lot of time to set aside for this project.  There are a few hours of waiting and simmering involved, so it’s best to have another cooking project going, such as baking the cookies to make into sandwiches (which I’ll show you tomorrow).

Alton Brown’s Dulce de Leche

courtesy of foodnetwork.com

Hardware: This is an easy one… all you need is a pot and a jar or air tight container to store in. A fine mesh strainer is ideal, but it’s no biggie if you don’t have one.

Go Buy This Stuff!

1 quart (that’s 4 cups) Whole Milk… and get the good stuff! I recommend Straus Family Creamery if you live in the Bay Area

1 1/2 cups Sugar

1 Vanilla Bean

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

First, you have to do a little surgery on your vanilla bean.  Take a very sharp knife and cut the bean in half crosswise. Now slit each half open lengthwise.

Set this aside for a minute.  Pour the milk and sugar into a sauce pan that is at least 4 quarts, which is bigger than the one I used.

Scrape all the little seeds out of your vanilla bean halves into the milk. Then toss the empty pod in there, too. Heat on medium until the milk is simmering and the sugar is dissolved.  Now add the baking soda and stir to combine.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for an hour, uncovered.  Try not to stir it too much, as you don’t want to mix the foam that forms on the surface back in.  Don’t be too anxious about the milk burning on the bottom of the pot since the heat is pretty low.

It will foam up and then settle back down a few times.  This is why your pot has to be bigger than mine.

After an hour, remove both halves of the empty vanilla bean pod.  Continue to simmer over low heat for another 2 hours.

When the mixture has reduced down to about 1 1/2 cups of thick, dark, caramel-y love, remove it from the heat.  Make sure that it is reduced enough, and if it isn’t very thick (like the consistency of honey) then keep cooking it.  The first time I made this I think I had my heat too low and so I added another half hour to the cooking time and the end product still wasn’t quite as thick as I wanted it once I started filling the sandwiches.  Once you have the sauce quite thick, let it cool for a bit and then pour it through a fine mesh strainer (or don’t, I didn’t and it was fine) into your storage container of choice.  A glass jar looks the coolest, but I just kept mine in a regular plastic thing.  All that matters is that it’s airtight.  Keep it in the fridge for up to a month, but there’s no way it will last longer than a week.

Tomorrow I’ll show you how to make the cookies for these sandwiches, but tonight drizzle some of this sauce over ice cream or grilled pound cake or both at the same time.

Published in: on March 19, 2010 at 1:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

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