This week’s obsession: Dulce de Leche
Happy Mother's Day, everyone!
Usually for Mother’s Day, I feel the urge to make light and happy morsels of deliciousness that center around flowers, pearls, and the color pink.
I didn’t feel that way this year. For some reason when I was deciding what I should make this weekend, I kept picturing the face of indulgent enjoyment that my mom makes and the accompanying low purr of her appreciative “ooohhhhh” when she tastes something decadent. Kind of like the shudder from the hyenas in Lion King when they whisper the word “Mufasa”.
Kind of a terrible analogy when it’s written out like that, but it is what it is. (Sorry, Mom!)
Now back to that face she makes when something is sinfully delicious (which, by the way, when I FaceTimed her to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day, she asked what I was baking so I described it to her, and she and my sister BOTH made the face #SUCCESS)… it almost always happens when chocolate is involved, so of course that meant that I needed a chocolate element. But what else?
Given the spirit of this past week (Cinco de Mayo) and the number of margaritas I consumed, I certainly had Mexican flavor on the brain. Which meant that I planned to spice my chocolate for a little kick, but still that didn’t seem like enough to build a Mother’s Day worthy dessert from. And then I came across a recipe for baked dulce de leche. Usually when I make dulce de leche, I use the stovetop method which consists of boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk for three hours and also somewhat runs the risk of explosion 😬 Talk about a time suck with a side of anxiety! So when I saw the baked dulce de leche method, I knew we were in business.
Here’s where my tip of the week comes into play. Apparently, when baking milk and sugar to create dulce de leche, there is a common problem that people experience: the end result is grainy.
I, too, did not end up with the smooth, silky texture that I was planning to fill my delectable macarons. I looked up some troubleshooting sites to see if maybe I just screwed it up because it was my first time using that method, but apparently, this is common. Phew!
But never fear - there's an easy way to fix it! If you decide to bake your milk and sugar (or condensed milk, in my case) and it comes out grainy, all you have to do is pop it into a saucepan over low heat, add a tablespoon or two of milk (do it one at a time and add gradually!), then stir, stir, stir! Your dulce de leche will smooth out in no time! I also read that you can scrape your grainy dulce de leche into a food processor or blender and blend it until it smooths out. I didn’t try that method but I’m sure it will work well! #CrisisAverted
After I baked my dark chocolate macarons with chile powder, I taste-tested them and decided that I needed more spice in the flavor composition, so I pulled out the big guns: Cayenne Pepper.
Oooooh yeah!! (I definitely just made the Mufasa face 😂) I used it sparingly because I never aim to burn off someone's tastebuds, but I sprinkled enough on the dulce de leche filling to let you know that it's there.
Ok, I’m not going to leave you with a video this week because we all have more important things to do today, like celebrating the amazing women in our lives who are mothers! Today is their day and they deserve every moment of your attention! And maybe a spicy dulce de leche macaron or two, if you’d like to send some to her (I know a gal who could hook you up!)
Happy eating, y’all!
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