I have seen this homemade Dulce De Leche on Pinterest several times and was curious as to weather or not it would work. I have a family reunion this weekend and have a chocolate/pretzel/caramel cake I wanted to make for it so I figured now would be the perfect time to try it.
I knew the general idea is making the caramel from condensed milk, but I had seen multiple variations on what steps to follow. Some sites say to just put the unopened can in a slow cooker, some say to submerge it, some say to make sure to open it or it may explode. After a lot of back and forth and research I decided to submerge the unopened can in my large stock pot and simmer it for a few hours. Every site I saw said to make sure you let it cool fully before opening it, so after 3 hours I pulled it out and set it in the sink and left it alone until it was cool to the touch.
Imagine my surprise when I opened it, and it had worked!
I was so happy it looked just like the pictures I had seen online! A success!
It doesn’t really taste like caramel that we are used to eating, it tastes lighter and creamier, like dulce de leche is supposed to taste. I was really excited to use it in my recipe.
I had found a recipe for cookie bars using cake mix. The lady who had posted it said it was incredibly versatile and she had added all kinds of fun things like M&Ms and chocolate chips and things. I had originally wanted to make these brownies that i found on Tablespoon, but as usual I was missing something (this time it was the brownie mix, oops) so I was trying to fake it. I figured with the “super versatile” cookie bar recipe I could use my chocolate cake mix to make pretzel caramel cookie bars.
I laid the pretzels down in the bottom of my 9×13 pan, realized I had forgotten to spray it and had to take all the pretzels back out. Sprayed it, put the pretzels back.
The recipe for the cookie bars is one box of cake mix, 5 T melted butter, and 2 eggs (beaten). I mixed up the dough and it was SUPER thick. Crazy thick, like my spoon was stuck in it thick. I added some milk and some oil and got my spoon dislodged but it was still incredibly thick. I tried to smoosh it down over the brownies into the pan, like how you make rice krispie treats. Only, it didn’t work very well. The pretzels were sliding everywhere and sticking up through the dough like sad little pretzel bones.
I had originally planned to reserve all the caramel and spoon in on top of the bars when they were finished but I got antsy and decided to swirl the caramel on top before baking it. I believe this is where I went wrong.
I stuck the pan in the oven- the original recipe calls for 20 minutes at 350.
Unfortunately, as it baked the cake puffed up and sucked up all the caramel so when it was finished I had a weird tasting chocolate cake with pretzels on the bottom. I could barely even cut pieces because the pretzels were so hard and weird the knife kept slipping. I spooned the remaining Dulce on top, but because I had already swirled some into the recipe there wasn’t enough to make a nice thick layer, it just looks like a sad caramel drizzle. Not even a pretty drizzle.
I am still taking it to the reunion, because cake is cake and if it stays here I will eat it. I would at least like to pawn off a few pieces on some relatives.
In all fairness, I tried the cookie bar recipe with yellow cake and Reese Pieces, much more similar to the original recipe and they turned out great. So I am assuming the caramel/chocolate cake were the problem. I am not sure it REALLY matters, because lets face it, I made a can of caramel… I could just eat that with a spoon.