Dulce de Leche Bars

Dulce de Leche Squares | Pinky's Pantry
I love dulce de leche. It’s so delicious, I can eat it by the spoonful! I thought it would be fun to make some kind of bars with dulce de leche in them. So I made up this recipe with a blondie base and ready-made dulce de leche. It turned out great! The kids loved them. I’ll definitely be making these again!
Dulce de Leche Squares | Pinky's Pantry

DULCE DE LECHE BARS

  • 1½ cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 can (13.4 ozs.) dulce de leche (or you can make your own)
  • ¼ cup evaporated milk (can substitute fresh milk)
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 9×13 baking pan with foil and grease foil lightly.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, melt butter in microwave.
  4. To melted butter, add brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and nuts, stirring to combine.
  5.  Add flour mixture to butter mixture, mixing together well. Batter will be thick.
  6. Reserve 1 cup of the batter and set aside.
  7. Spread remaining batter into prepared pan. It will seem like you don’t have enough batter to completely cover the bottom of the pan, but just do your best, spreading as thinly as you need to.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes.
  9. While bottom crust is baking, empty dulce de leche into a bowl and add milk.
  10. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring after every 30 seconds, until dulce de leche is completely combined with milk and is soft and pourable.
  11. Remove cooked crust from oven and pour dulce de leche over crust, spreading to within ¼-inch of edges.
  12. Drop spoonfuls of reserved 1 cup batter randomly over dulce de leche layer.
  13. Cut through batter and dulce with a knife to create a marbled effect.
  14. Return to oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until set.
  15. Cool on wire rack, then lift foil from pan to remove.
  16. Cut into bars or squares.
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Homemade Dulce de Leche

Dulce de Leche | Pinky's PantryDulce de Leche is a South American caramel confection. It’s made by cooking sweetened condensed milk until the sugar is caramelized and the milk is thickened and brownish in color. I remember my Mom boiling an unopened can of condensed milk for what seemed like hours on the stove. Of course we all grew up hearing the horror stories and dire warnings of how you should be careful because the can could explode, but none of that ever seemed to matter. What was most important was getting a taste of that sweet, thick, and sticky treat. I remember how awfully hard it was to wait for it to be ready, and even harder to wait for it to cool! But you had to let it cool before you could open the can or the dulce would spurt out and could burn you. We would eat it by the teaspoonful, carefully eking it out and eating it ever so slowly to make it last as long as possible because Mom would never let us have more than 2 little spoonfuls of it in one day.

There are many different ways to make your own dulce de leche at home. You could do like my Mom always did and boil an unopened can of condensed milk on the stove for 2 or 3 hours. You could bake an unopened can in a water bath in the oven; or cook a can in a pressure cooker; or cook it in a slow cooker; or open a can, empty the milk into a pot and cook the milk over the stove, stirring till your arm falls off (don’t ask me how I know). Why, I’ve heard you could even make it in a microwave!

My favorite method is super easy and doesn’t involve any risk of explosion or having your arm fall off. Give it a try and you’ll see what I mean.

HOMEMADE DULCE DE LECHE

  1. Empty 1 can of sweetened condensed milk into a glass pie plate.
    Dulce de Leche | Pinky's Pantry
  2. Cover pie plate tightly with foil.
    Dulce de Leche | Pinky's Pantry
  3. Make a water bath by placing a pan larger than the pie plate into the oven and filling it with enough water to go 3/4 up the side of the pie plate.
  4. Place pie plate in center of water bath and bake at 400ºF for 1½ hours or so, adding water as needed. The longer you cook it, the darker the caramel gets.
    Dulce de Leche | Pinky's Pantry
  5. Remove foil. The edges are usually more cooked than the center so take a wire whisk and whisk everything together until it’s well-combined and smooth.
    Dulce de Leche | Pinky's Pantry
  6. Pour into a clean jar and allow to cool before using.
  7. Store dulce de leche in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.