My family often visits Argentina where dulce de leche has its own aisle in the grocery store and might as well be on the national flag. (Maybe that’s what the smiling sun represents already.) It’s been awhile since I was in Buenos Aires, but last time I was home in Los Angeles, I found Catalina’s Market, a shop in Hollywood
full of Argentine imports. Michael and I put our bounty to use the other day in some homemade dulce de leche ice cream.
Now, let’s talk about dulce de leche.
At this point, you’re either drooling or googling. In case you’ve never had the wonder that is dulce de leche, think about caramel. Now imagine it being creamier and more amazing.
Traditional caramel is simply melted sugar (caramel sauces add butter and cream after the sugar is golden). Dulce de leche is made from a slowly simmered milk and sugar mixture. Many homemade recipes call for sweetened condensed milk to be cooked over a long period.
If you’ve only had dulce de leche in Haagen Daaz or Starbucks form, you’re still missing out. That stuff is just sweet. Real dulce has a much more layered taste. I haven’t tried to make my own yet, but the Smitten Kitchen and Straight from the Farm, among others, have had gooey goldeny success.
However you get your dulce de leche — specialty shops, inspected at customs, or slowly over a stove — ice cream is a great place to showcase it.
Dulce de Leche Ice Cream
- 16 oz of dulce de leche
- 1 quart of half and half
- pinch of salt
- splash of vanilla extract
- shot of dark rum
Heat a pot of half and half and dulce de leche, stirring to combine. Add salt and vanilla. Allow to cool completely before putting in ice cream maker and making according to individual directions.
When it was at thick milkshake consistency, I added a shot of Captain Morgan rum because I’ve found alcohol keeps homemade ice cream from becoming rock hard in the freezer.
I had wanted the ice cream to have a dulce de leche swirl, but it all mixed together. Oh well. The chocolate chips were purely decorative, but if you’d like chocolate with the dulce, I suggest a melted chocolate sauce because big chips become too hard in the cold ice cream.