Argentinians LOVE their dulce de leche. This creamy and chocolaty sauce can be added to almost anything, including cakes, cookies, brownies, and ice cream! Such is the love for dulce de leche in Argentina, that it is even sometimes eaten on its own from the cooking pot!
Dulce de Leche is a confection prepared by slowly heating sweetened milk to create a substance that changes form and colour. Literally translated it means “candy made of milk”. The most basic recipe calls for slowly simmering milk and sugar, stirring almost constantly, although other ingredients such as vanilla may be added for flavour. Much of the water in the milk evaporates and the mix thickens; the resulting dulce de leche is usually about a sixth of the volume of the milk used.
I can remember a Brazilian sweet named Brigadeiro, which before setting in its shape is often kept in a jar or pot as a creamy substance, and it looks much like dulce de leche. I know Brazilians often eat it straight from the pot rather than going through the rigmarole of creating the tiny round sweets, and who can blame them, as the chocolate sauce must smell so good that it NEEDS to be eaten as quickly as possible!
Dulce de leche is used to flavour candies or other sweet foods, such as cakes, churros, alfajores, waffles, crème caramel, and ice creams. Even the classic Argentine dessert Chocotorta can be coated in dulce de leche! It always interests me when a country has a particular foodstuff that it considers its national pride and joy – such as spaghetti in Italy or sushi in Japan – and during my brief travel to Buenos Aires, I discovered that Argentinians are right to be proud of their dulce de leche!