So, usually if I post about food, its because I'm all psyched that something turned out really well. Well, not today. Today, I would like to introduce you to one of the nastiest things to emerge from my kitchen in quite a while.
It all started when one of my co-workers picked up a can of sweetened condensed milk and told me that you can boil it (the can) and make caramel. (as a side note, what kind of job would involve cans of sweetened condensed milk but not kitchens? thats another story). He claimed you just stick the can in a pot of water, boil it, and end up with a can of caramel. I am a huge giant sucker for things that have very few ingredients and yet produce that "no way, I made that!" feeling (see, pitas) so of course I had to try it.
I consulted the internets, and it was even better than I hoped, you seriously just take the label off a can of sweetened condensed milk, completely submerge the can, and either simmer or boil it for 4 hours (there was conflicting info regarding simmering vs boilin). Now, on the face of it, heating up a closed can full of molten sugar seems like an insane prospect. And, it turns out, you need to be very careful to avoid acquiring a new dulce de leche colored kitchen paint job and hair-do (also, to be serious, being burned by a projectile boiling sticky substance would be no joke). But, people the world over seem to have done this without too much damage to life and limb, so I gave it a shot.
Here are my ingredients:
I submerged the can, and since I was kind of concerned about this whole thing, decided to go with a simmer rather than a boil (this was the first mistake). I also read that you can cook it from anywhere from 1-4 hours, with the main difference being the thickness of the resulting caramel (pourable vs scoopable). So, after 3 hours I decided to be done mainly because I wanted to go to bed (second mistake).
All the info said it has to be really cool before you open it, or it explodes (this was a lot more drama than something like, cookies). So, I let it cool over night, and woke up this morning all excited to see what I made.
Now, this is the kind of delicious looking item people have made (they also frost cakes with it, top ice-cream with it, make cookie sandwiches, etc, etc):
This is what I made (little did I know, this was the pinnacle of what I would produce)... a can of under-cooked yellow goo:
I remembered reading that if this happens, you can just submerge the open can most of the way to the top in a pot and cook it for a while. I started to do that, but, I had things to do and places to go, and got bored. I had also read that you can cook it in a pan, on the stove, and it'll do the same thing. So, that seemed reasonable. And, it was initially promising:
That era of promise lasted 3-4 minutes tops... when it reached the phase you can see below, I finally decided to pull the plug on the whole debacle... as you can see I generated a pot of chunky goo that was simultaneously burnt and undercooked and in no way resembled delicious caramel. Julia Childs, here I come!
Now, the upside is, I am a stubborn lady, and now that I am more confident that the can won't explode, am definitely going to try this again... so, I'll keep you posted.
(The real irony here is that when I went to get the milk, strawberries were on sale, so I also made this super awesome strawberry pie inspired by Lauren over at Love Your Oven, but I didn't even get to take a picture because the camera batteries died (or maybe, the lens was burnt out by the hideousness of the chunky goo?). Anyhow, it is spectacularly delicious.