I have the biggest sweet tooth ever. I grew up in a house where it wasn’t dinner without dessert and cupcakes were on the table at least once a week. I blame it on my mom who loves to bake and has even more of a sweet tooth than me.
Abroad though, I have a hard time satisfying my sweet tooth. South American cakes tend to be very dense and their candy comes in unusual flavors that just throw me off. There is one South American treat though that hits the spot every time and is never missing from my shopping cart – Dulce de Leche or Arequipe (as it’s called in Colombia).
Kind of like caramel, but made with sweetened milk, dulce de leche is found throughout Latin America and is called by different names depending on the country. I once made the mistake of telling an Argentinian that Colombia arequipe was the same as the dulce de leche found in Argentina… they freaked. While the recipe throughout South America is relatively the same, each country has their own variety and the flavors do change depending on where you travel. And of course, every country claimed to make the best.
When I go back to the US to visit family I always take a jar of arequipe or dulce de leche back with me. It’s a big hit and always goes fast. I once asked Jaime for the recipe but he gave me some complicated recipe (remember I can’t cook to save my life) so I never even tried to make it at home.
Then the other day I came across the most incredible discovery… you can make Dulce de Leche in the Crock Pot! Ok, so it might not be Argentina quality dulce de leche and it doesn’t exactly taste the same but its pretty close and super, super easy.
Dulce de leche is a favorite South American treat served with everything from bread at breakfast to cookies at dessert. The recipe and taste varies from country to country and is also known as arequipe (in Colombia) or manjar blanco (in Peru).
Similar to caramel, but made with sweetened milk and not just sugar, dulce de leche is usually made on the stove top over the course of a few hours. If you are looking for something a little easier though, you can get pretty close to the original recipe with just a can of sweetened condensed milk and a crock pot.
- Sweetened Condensed Milk - any size jar will work
- You Will Also Need:
- Canning Jars - most crock pots will hold 3-4 1/2 pint jars
- Water - enough to cover the jars
- Open the can of sweetened condensed milk and pour directly into the empty canning jars.
- Seal the jars and place them in your crock pot or slow cooker. Add enough water to completely submerge the jars and then some extra to compensate for evaporation.
- Cook on the lowest setting for 9-10 hours. You can check the color of the dulce de leche to determine the best point to remove the jars.
- Remove the jars and allow them to cool before placing in the refrigerator. The jars should last at least a month.