One-Step Homemade Caramel

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Thank heavens it’s Friday and fall is here and I am loving it!  The temperatures are low enough that I don’t have to walk at 5 a.m. just to keep from sweating to death. I know, I know, I hardly walk fast enough to ever sweat at all, but I sure love the falling temps and mid-afternoon walks.  The yellow day lilies in this picture where buds when I brought them in from the garden and today they bloomed amid these beautiful sprigs of rosemary, sweetly given to me by my friend Nancy. These bright and sunny day lilies usher in the spring and bloom all through July.   In August they take a little rest and now in September I am enjoying the beautiful colors again along with the sights and tastes of autumn.
One of my favorite flavors of autumn is caramel.  Last year while traveling in England I tasted Banoffi Pie for the first time.  I adore caramel and was totally enthralled with the idea of making my own caramel pie.  That is when I learned to slowly boil sweetened condensed milk in the can to change it in the most wonderful of all caramel.  When I posted this little trick last year along with my Banoffi Pie recipe, I wrote to Borden asking for details on how to turn the sweetened milk into caramel.  They wrote back and said absolutely do not put the unopened cans in boiling water.  I had already done it by the time they answered my email.  My bad.  Then yesterday I came across this information on Wikihow! Hmmm … surely if it is on the internet it must be okay! 🙂  Today I found 3 cans of sweetened condensed milk in my pantry.  Two fat-free, one regular.  I need caramel for some fun and delicious upcoming recipes and you need to know how easy it is to make homemade caramel. Both the regular and fat-free work equally well.  This opened can is the fat-free version from Great Value.
The very, very most important part is that the unopened cans are completely covered with water during the entire cooking time.  I added water 3 times during the cooking process to make sure the level never dropped.  The water is brought to a boil and then turned down low to a slow simmer — just enough to see bubbles and a little bit of water rolling.  I used a large pot and kept it covered with a lid with a steam vent. I let the water slowly boil for 2 hours, then carefully removed the cans and let them sit to cool.  They should not ever be opened while still warm.  This can was completely cooled to touch.  The caramel over the edge and on the plate I spilled out on purpose so you can see the beautiful warm color and perfect consistency.
This homemade caramel is an outstanding addition to any apple crisp … and especially my Autumn Apple Crisp, or how about some Sweet and Salty Chocolate Caramel Bars?

I haven’t added the recipe to my Tasty Kitchen Recipe box yet, however, here is the one-step:

Immerse the can(s) of unopened  sweetened condensed milk in a deep pan of boiling water.  Cover and boil for 2 to 3 hours making sure that the pan does not boil dry. I use my large canner pot so I can cover the tin cans with about 3 inches of water.  It works great!

Carefully remove the tins from the water and allow to cool completely before opening.  Inside you will find the soft toffee filling.  It’s a miracle 🙂

It is absolutely vital to top up the pan of boiling water frequently during the cooking of the cans. 2 to 3 hours is a long time and if they are allowed to boil dry the cans will explode causing a grave risk to life, limb and kitchen ceilings.

Wishing you a sweet and lovely weekend with a little caramel on the side.
~Blessings, Catherine



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8 thoughts on “One-Step Homemade Caramel”

  1. I made dulche the leche a couple of time, stirring for…ever (at least 2 hours). I had heard about making it with tins of condensed milk, but I feared an explosion!
    I may have a go! Thank you for sharing.
    Life without caramel wouldn’t be sweet enough 🙂

    • There is always the possibility of an “explosion” — I kept a lid on the pot, one that was vented. Also, I kept the water at a very LOW boil and I think that makes a difference. Life without caramel … oh I hate to think!

  2. I have to restrain myself from eating the sweetened condensed milk when using it for a recipe….this may be my last meal before I head to heaven. Meal? Yes. 🙂

    I’ve never tried boiling the cans…I may try this sometime. And, we all know, the taste does not disappoint.



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