Pantry Pull: One Ingredient Caramel

This time of the year churns up memories that I  love about fall. One of the many is when mom bought a bag of caramels and we were given the task to unwrap every little square of chewy goodness - and without sneaking a few. She would remind us that the more we ate, the less caramel there would be for dunking apples to make that favorite fall treat - caramel apples on a stick. 

The older I got the less I wanted to bite into a caramel apple with getting sticky, and possibly snapping the jaw or a tooth. However, I still want that heart-warming taste. Caramel dip and apple slices satisfy that need - and hey, it's almost a healthy dessert when you're munching on apple slices. 

By now, everyone should know about this simple one-ingredient caramel but just in case there are a few of you that have missed out, all it takes is one can of sweetened condensed milk. And this is one of the "pantry pulls" I make sure I always have at least one can in my cupboards. 

(Important, make sure the label says, "sweetened" and not plain condensed or evaporated milk or this will not give you the satisfying results you're expecting.) 

1.) It's really easy as can be. Fill a deep medium saucepan with water. Bring to the boil. Remove the label from the unopened can of sweetened condensed milk. Carefully place the can in the saucepan, ensuring there’s enough water to completely cover the can at all times, topping water as needed throughout the cooking process. Simmer for at least three hours. The longer the cooking, the deeper the color and thicker the caramel. 

2.) Ensure the can is completely covered with water at all times during cooking. Do not cover the pan just in case of pressure. And note, the label on the can will state "Do not heat in the can," but that's their insurance policy just in case you do something dumb. 

3.) After three hours of simmering, carefully remove the can from the hot water. Allow cooling at least for an hour before opening the can to discover the magic inside. 

(Slow Cooker Alternative: Fill slow cooker with hot tap water.  Place in one or more cans and turn on slow cooker for 8 hours on low.)

How to use other than for apple dipping? I can't believe you have to ask? Use it as a dip for other fruits and cookies. Spread over pancakes, French toast, cakes, cheesecake, churros... And put a cute label on the bare can, add a bow, and you have a gift! 


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