Monday, December 5, 2016
Making sweetened, condensed milk
I was making a half-batch of 7-layer Dream Bars, on Saturday afternoon. One of the ingredients is sweetened, condensed milk. I have never bought that stuff. It just seems oddly expensive for what it is, a cup and a half of milk, cooked with a little sugar, with some butter added. In the store, this concoction sells for $1.50 to $2.00. I just can't bring myself to spend that much for about 50 cents of ingredients. (Your costs may differ from mine.)
When I've needed this product for baking recipes, I've always made my own. There are two common methods for making sweetened condensed milk. One uses powdered milk, and the other (which I make) uses liquid milk. Neither method is complicated. The powdered milk method takes minutes to make. The liquid milk method takes a little over an hour of intermittent attention.
Among the merits of making your own sweetened, condensed milk is the ability to make this with any type of milk, including soy or almond, and just the amount that a recipe may need.
7-layer Dream Bars are yummy, but rich and not super cheap, so I usually just make a half-batch. In addition, making my own SCM, for a half-batch bars, is super handy. Buying a can would give me twice as much as I need.
I wanted to pass on this recipe during the holiday baking season. So, here it is.
Homemade sweetened, condensed milk
1 1/2 cup of whole milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir together milk and sugar. Bring to a simmer over MED. Reduce heat to low and very gently simmer for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until it has reduced by half. Stir every 5-10 minutes, to prevent scorching.
After 1 hour, begin measuring, every 10 minutes. Pour the milk/sugar into the measuring cup that was used to measure the milk at the beginning of this recipe. When the concoction has reduced to just over 1 cup, stir in the butter and vanilla.
If the milk and sugar are over-reduced by measurement, add water to the correct level. The final amount should be about 1 1/4 cups of liquid.
Allow to cool before using in recipes.
That's it. Nothing special. Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for a couple of weeks.