Did you know?
Dulce de leche
, also known as manjar blanco in some countries and cajeta in others, is a traditional candy in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Uruguay and other parts of South America. It means literally “sweet from milk.”
Its most basic recipe mixes boiled milk and sugar, although preservatives may be included. Making your own dulce de leche at home is no simple process. The milk and sugar must cook for hours before it will achieve the rich caramel color and taste of good quality dulce de leche. Using genuine South American dulce de leche in your recipes will afford you true taste satisfaction. Dulce de leche is used in cakes, cookies and dessert recipes. In Argentina, it is also popular spread on toast.
The origins of dulce de leche are unclear, as there are several stories about its creation. It is said to have been created by accident when a kitchen maid was making some lechada, a popular drink made with milk and sugar and she heard someone knocking at the door. She left the lechada on the stove and went to get the door, when she came back, the lechada was burnt and it turned into a brown jam--dulce de leche.
Recently, dulce de leche has become extremely popular in the United States as a result of the 1997 introduction by a famous ice cream manufacturer of the ice-cream flavor by the same name. It's popularity is now only surpassed by vanilla.
While you can make your own by a long and laborious process of cooking milk and sugar, the easy availability of kosher dulce de leche makes it a go-to ingredient in many dairy dessert dishes. Also referred to as “milk jam" or "caramel spread", we have used dulce de leche in many recipes over the last few years. We’ve got some more tasty treats for your Chanukah party buffet table.
What would Chanukah be without doughnuts? We’ve got a special new version for you to try this year.
Chocolate Caramel Doughnuts
2 1/2 cups flour, plus more for work surface
1 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup sugar, plus more for coating
3/4 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
2 large eggs
28 to 30 store-bought soft caramel candies
5 to 6 cups vegetable oil, for frying
1. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl.
2. In another bowl, whisk together sugar, buttermilk, butter, and eggs until thoroughly combined. Stir buttermilk mixture into flour mixture just until a smooth dough forms.
3. On a lightly floured work surface, pat dough flat and lightly flour. Roll out dough to a 1/3-inch thickness. Cut into rounds with a 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter (to lift rounds from work surface, use a thin spatula). Reroll and cut scraps.
4. Place a caramel in the center of each round, pinch dough closed around it, and gently roll into a smooth ball.
5. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Fill a wide shallow bowl with 1 inch of sugar.
6. In a large heavy pot, heat 4 inches oil until it registers 350 degrees on a candy thermometer. In batches of 4, fry doughnuts 3-4 minutes, turning once with a slotted spoon and adjusting heat as needed. Transfer doughnuts to prepared baking sheet; let rest 4 minutes. Roll in sugar to coat. Serve immediately.
Mini Dulce de Leche Tarts
for the crust:
1 cup cold butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cold water
for the filling:
½ cup dulce de leche (caramel)
½ cup brown sugar
3 ounces butter
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon flour
whipped cream for garnish
prepare the crust:
1. Cut the butter into small cubes. Place the flour and sugar into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
2. Mix for a second or two to blend the dry ingredients. Add the butter and then, running the mixer on low or by hand with a pastry blender, work the mixture until it's crumbly and the largest pieces of butter are no bigger than a pea.
3. With the mixer turned on low, sprinkle the cold water evenly over the flour and butter. Work the dough just until it pulls together. Flatten into a disc and wrap in plastic; refrigerate.
4. Filling: Mix together all ingredients until well combined.
To prepare tarts:
1. Spray a mini muffin pan or 12 mini tart pans with baking spray.
2. Roll out dough to 1/4” thickness. Using a 2 1/2 to 3” cutter, cut circles. Place each in the prepared pan. Refrigerate 10 minutes Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
3. Place 1-2 tablespoons of filling in each crust. Bake 15 minutes or until crust is golden.
4. Remove from oven and cool. Top with whipped cream, if desired.
Photos are for illustrative purposes only.