Dulce de Frustrating
In all fairness to the actual dulce de leche, it’s amazing. It’s those damn brownies that they were supposed to be swirled in…
Up until a few weeks ago, I’ve never even made a brownie my entire life. Scratch that. Yes I have. It came in a box and all you had to do was add eggs and oil and…*mekka lekka hi mekka hiney ho* (Pee Wee Herman reference for those of you who don’t know, now you know). Brownies magically appear in your oven!
These days, I’ve been testing and developing recipes with Chef Einat Admony for her cookbook. And I may or may not be testing a recipe for some sort of brownie. Let’s just say if I told you I’d have to kill you, yes, all three of you reading my blog. I seeeeee youuuuu… (insert creepy neurotic girl voice). And let’s just say I may or may not have included several batches of brownies in our Hurricane Irene supply.
Anywhoooo, I’ve also been reading David Lebovitz’s book “The Sweet Life in Paris” and he generously shares his recipe for the famous dulce de leche brownies that helped him win over the notoriously hard-to-impress Parsians. Fully armed with an inflated confidence from my recent brownie successes, I thought easy peasy. So to challenge myself, I decided to make my own dulce de leche from scratch as opposed to Lebovitz’s suggestion of using a store-bought version. Otherwise, I followed his recipe entirely since I’m not obliged to discuss some other top secret brownie formula.
Now it’s safe to assume that I finally lost my dulce-de-leche cherry. And it didn’t hurt one bit. All you need are four ingredients: milk, sugar, vanilla (I substituted mine with tonka bean) and baking soda. I’m sure you’re thinking “baking soda?!?! WTF?!?!”. Yeah, me too. So I Googled it because I can. And here’s a great explanation from Jude of Apple Pie, Patis and Pâté.
Back to my brownie fail. David Lebovitz said to only swirl in the dulce de leche once or twice through your batter. Otherwise all you’ll end up with is a hot, bubbly mess. I dragged my knife twice. That’s it. And what did I get? A hot, bubbly mess. Twice. I’m all baked-out for today and I’m throwing in the towel. So excuse me while I wallow in self pity and drown myself in this jar of dulce de leche.
Ingredients (Courtesy of Alton Brown):
|1||quart whole milk|
|1 1/2||cups white granulated sugar|
|1||vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped|
|1/2||tsp baking soda|
- Combine milk, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds in a 4-quart saucepan. Over low heat, bring to a simmer and stir occasionally until sugar dissolves.
- Add baking soda and stir to combine with the milk mixture. Leave over low heat (barely simmering), uncovered, until reduced to about 1 cup. It took mine almost two hours.
- Stir occasionally but do not reincorporate the foam that accumulates on the surface.
- Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Place in airtight container and refrigerate. Mixture will slightly thicken as it cools.