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Febuary 28th was proclaimed to be world dulce de leche day… I meant to post this yesterday, however… I was distracted by the wonders of pita bread and those little magical, sought after air pockets.

This was my first time trying dulce de leche (to my conscious knowledge) and hmm… my thoughts on it? It’s pretty darned good. It’s pretty much like a casual caramel. There are three ways to make it, one in boiling water (which you can google if you really care to, but I believe you will be better off with the oven technique), the other in the oven and the last in the microwave

Dulce de leche:

Via oven;

Recipe from Jumbo Empanadas

1 can sweetened condensed milk

Sprinkle of salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Empty can of condensed milk in a glass pie plate or shallow baking pan. Stir in salt.

Cover pie plate with aluminum foil, fit snugly to sides.

Set the pie plate within a second, larger pan. (ex: roasting pan) Set them on the oven rack.

Fill larger pan with hot water until it reaches halfway up the pie plate.

Bake until the milk has browned and carmelized (It may take an hour or more — mine took 1 hr 30 and was still rather light…) It is advised during baking to check the water level and refill the water if it has depleted.

When done, let cool on counter and whisk or stir until smooth.

Keep refrigerated*

Via microwave;

Recipe from Cooking for engineers (For a photo walk through look at his recipe)

1 can sweetened condensed milk

Put sweetened condensed milk into a large microwavable bowl.

Cook on medium for two minutes.

Whisk milk cautiously (it may be hot)

Microwave for two more minutes on medium.

It is advised to keep a close eye on the milk as it cooks; to quote the writer of the recipe: “A microwave oven generally has only two modes – on and off. High means the microwave is continuously on, but a medium setting will cycle of microwave oven on and off every few seconds. The off periods help prevent boil over. If the bowl boils over, clean up the mess, upgrade to a larger bowl and continue.”

Continue a few more times of cooking for 2 minutes and then cautiously whisking until about 10-12 minutes when it begins to look curdled.

(Yes it will look strange at this point) Whisk until smooth.

Note: if you want a firmer dulce de leche you will have to continue cooking. The higher the temperature the firmer.

*Keep refrigerated

After making the caramel, I went on to make these supposedly traditional argentinan cookies:

Alfajores;

Recipe adapted from Cristina

250 grams butter

150 grams sugar

1 small lemons worth of zest

1 tsp vanilla

3 room yolks

200 grams all purpose flour

300 grams corn starch

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

Filling:

Dulce de leche

Coconut flakes (I use unsweetened)

Sift together corn flour, AP flour, salt and baking powder in medium bowl.

In seperate larger bowl cream together butter, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla.

Add egg yolks one at a time, fully incorporating the previous one before adding the next yolk.

Add dry ingredients in three additions, mixing between additions until just incorporated. (You don’t want to overbeat because you will end up with a tough cookie)

Wrap up cookie dough and let rest in fridge for 1 hour.

To make cutouts roll dough out to 1/4 inch thick and cut shapes; An easier method for these crumbly cookies I felt was to make them into slice and bake cookies. Seperate dough into two portions and roll dough into a log. Chill log for a few minutes and it will be very easy to slice through. (Sometimes as a shortcut I preform the logs or preroll out the dough after I make the dough and before I chill it)

Bake cookies at 350 until there is a hint of golden to them (About 10-12 minutes: Keep an eye on them though, they can change quickly)

Spread or pipe dulce de leche on to cookies and sandwich them. Roll sides in coconut flakes.

*These cookies to me are reminiscent of shortbread cookies and are hard and snappy the first day. After a day of sitting with the filling they soften up quite a bit. (I prefer them soft)

What did I think of them personally? Well… I thought they were alright, kind of interesting to try. I’ve tried to love shortbread but for some reason I just don’t like it. I think it is the texture.  ) : I did however like them the day after, the soft cookie seemed to be a lot more fitting.

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