condensed milk

Happy Father’s Day!  For my dad, I made this easy blackberry cheesecake bars with an added twist — I incorporated some sweetened condensed milk into the cheesecake batter to add a new layer of creaminess.  Something special for one special dad :) .

To start, in a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it’s light and fluffy.

Add in the eggs, one at a time.

And, here’s the twist to this cheesecake:  condensed milk.  If regular milk tasted like this, I know I’d easily get my daily dose vitamin D (sadly, that is not the case).

Slowly add in the condensed milk to the cream cheese mixture.  Beat until the mixture is well-blended.

In a bowl, crush about 5-6 pieces of graham crackers.

Mix in some sugar.

Then, pour in some melted butter.  Mix well.

Press the mixture into  a baking pan.

Pour the cream cheese mixture onto the graham cracker mixture.

Now for the blackberries.

Place the blackberries evenly on the cheesecake mixture.

In the oven it goes …

Here’s what it looks like coming out.  Some of the blackberries have disappeared into the cheesecake.  Poor things.

The creaminess of the cheesecake compliments well with the sweet and tartness of the blackberries.

If you like your cheesecake on the thinner-layer side, you can reserve about 1.5 cups of the cream cheese batter and 3 tablespoons of the graham cracker mixture for a half dozen cupcakes.  Each cupcake liner will get about a 1/2 tablespoon of graham cracker mixture.

Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, pour in a cupful of cream cheese batter to each cupcake.

Dress each with a blackberry on top.

Viola!

Blackberry Cheesecake Bars

Print this Recipe!

Makes 16 bars
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Ready in: 8 hours

Ingredients:

  • 2 – 3 cups crushed graham crackers (about 5-6 pieces)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 large eggs
  • 14 ounces can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 pint fresh blackberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C).
  2. Beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended.
  3. Gradually add sweetened condensed milk, and continue beating until blended.
  4. In a bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter.  Once the mixture is evenly blended, press the mixture into the bottom of a 9×9-inch baking pan.
  5. Pour the cream cheese mixture into the baking pan on top of the crust.  Sprinkle the blackberries evenly on top of the cheesecake batter.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Turn off oven, and let cheesecake stand in oven 30 minutes.
  7. Remove cheesecake from the oven, and let cool completely.
  8. Cover and chill for 6 – 8 hours before serving.

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I’ve always had a bit of a crush on dulce de leche — its rich and creamy goodness makes me happy whenever I’m eat it.  Until recently, I had no idea how unbelievably easy it was to make this yourself!

Dulce de leche is basically a milk-based caramel sauce.  You can make it with whole milk and sugar, but this process takes a little more work.  Instead, I opted for the lazier version, which requires just a can of sweetened condensed milk.

Start with a can of condense milk.  Either poke two vent holes on the top of the can or open the can halfway with a can opener (as I did above).  This is important because as the milk simmers inside the can, it will need some room to simmer.  Keeping the can completely airtight may lead to a potential explosion.  And we don’t want that.  No, we want smooth and yummy non-explosive dulce de leche.

Put the partially opened can in a pot, and fill the pot with enough water to cover  3/4 of the can.  Heat the pot on the stove on low to medium heat, enough for the water to simmer, but not boil.

Let the pot and can simmer gently for about 2 hours for runny dulce de leche, 3 hours for thick dulce de leche, or up to 4 hours for solid dulce de leche.

Be sure to watch the water level during the simmering process, and add more water whenever the water level boils down too much.

When it’s done, let it cool for a while before opening up the can completely.  The condensed milk should now be colored tan or brown.  Using a spoon, stir this condensed milk/dulce de leche until it is well-blended — the bottom layers should be darker in color than the top layers.

The delicious dulce de leche can be directly eaten, or used as a part of a dessert (I’ll post a recipe for some cupcakes using this dulce de leche shortly).

[UPDATE]  Dulce de leche is a key ingredient in this “Better Than Sex” cupcake.  This is definitely a must-try cupcake!

Dulce De Leche

Print this Recipe!

Makes 1 Cup
Cooking Time:  2-4 hours

Directions

  1. Partially open with a can opener (or poke two holes on the top of) a 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk.
  2. Put the partially-opened can in a pot, covering 3/4 of the can with water.
  3. Simmer the water and can on low to medium heat for 2-4 hours, depending on the consistency of the dulce de leche you want.  Simmer for 2 hours for runny dulce de leche, 3 hours for thick dulce de leche, or up to 4 hours for solid dulce de leche.
  4. Periodically add more water when the water level boils down too much.
  5. Remove from stove and let the can cool before opening the can completely.
  6. Stir to blend and even out the consistency of the condensed milk.
  7. Eat directly, or use as a part of a dessert.

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