Are there three sweeter words than dulce de leche? Just the mention spikes a sugar rush and a frantic search for a spoon. This thick, caramel-like sauce, swirled or spread onto everything from cafe to toast, is consumed throughout all of Latin America and has many different names, manjar blanco, cajeta, arequipe.
No matter what you call it, dulce de leche means a sweet bite, an indulgent moment, a taste of childhood. The wonderfully versatile goodie can be consumed at breakfast, baked into pastries or ladled onto yogurts, mixed with afternoon snacks like nuts or smoothies, and, of course, featured in desserts, whether it's sandwiched between shortbread cookies, at the center of a chocolate cake, or spooned over a warm bread pudding.
With so many ways to enjoy dulce de leche, it's time to head into the kitchen and start making some. You'll also want to grab some of these cool mason jars to store up extra. Trust us, you'll want to slather dulce de leche on everything. So here, 16 sweet (and oh-so-sinful) recipes to quell the craving.
In the mood for fluffy pancakes? How about fluffy pancakes swirled with dulce de leche? Dulce de Leche and Banana Pancakes are as delicious as they sound and even easier to make.
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup soy milk
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 banana, sliced
- 2 tablespoons dulce de leche
- powdered sugar, for garnish
The volcan de chocolate is an Argentine classic, but no easy feat to perfect. To get the sponge cake cooked and the interior suitably oozy takes a masterful touch. Here, the dulce de leche heart replaces the classic molten chocolate center to make a sinfully sweet dessert.
Alfajores are little cookies from Latin America filled with the oh-so-delicious dulce de leche. The cookies resemble short bread in their sweetness and light texture. With a dusting of powdered sugar and an array of flavors to choose from, these little sandwich cookies are a taste of the sweet life.
Cocadas are a popular Colombian dessert made with shredded coconut. There are many variations of cocadas, dependent on the area of Colombia. This variation is made with arequipe, a traditional Colombian caramel sauce.
- 5 cups sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup arequipe or dulce de leche
Growing up, many of us spent time dunking our spoons into the communal jar of dulce de leche, and licking up the sticky, caramel-y goodness from between our fingers. Jars of dulce de leche are a great emergency item to keep in the pantry. In addition to being a traditional spoon candy, dulce de leche can become a cake topping, a layer in an ice cream sundae, a filling in an alfajor sandwich cookie, or a spread for homemade crepes.
Bite sized cheesecake? Sweet! Bite sized dulce de leche cheesecake? Delicioso! Full of flavor without the guilt, this cheesecake is a mix of greek yogurt and cream cheese with dulce de leche folded in for a heavenly, light and airy dessert.
The banana and dulce de leche crumble is another family kitchen classic from Argentina. The use of maracuya (passion fruit) juice instead of lemon to preserve the bananas gives it a unique Latin twist. Maracuya, although now cultivated worldwide where the climate is warm enough, has its origins in Brazil, Paraguay and northern Argentina.
- 2 ounces butter
- 6 tablespoons muscovado sugar
- 1 egg white
- 4 tablespoons self-raising flour
- 2 tablespoons rolled oats
- 2 1/2 ounces chocolate
- 5 1/2 ounces dulce de leche
- 4 bananas
- 4 tablespoons maracuya (passion fruit) juice (can substitute lemon juice)
- 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
Call it what you want: cajeta, dulce de leche, arequipe, manjar blanco, bollo de leche, or doce de leite. However, this sweet delight is the same delicious confection, prepared with goat or cow’s milk and equal parts sugar, and this bread pudding is a great way to celebrate cajeta's deliciousness.
- 6 day-old bolillos torn in 1/2-inch pieces
- 5 eggs
- 4 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/3 cup cajeta quemada (burnt cajeta)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup cajeta quemada (burnt cajeta)
Cajeta originates from the city of Celaya, in the Mexican state of Guanajuato, where the Mexican War of Independence began, and is Mexico's answer to dulce de leche using equal parts milk and sugar to form a silky, addictive treat.
- 1 quart goat's milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoon slight corn syrup (optional)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 tablespoon of water
- 2 tablespoons rum - brandy or bourbon (optional)
Chocolate whoopie pies get an upgrade with a fluffy and light dulce de leche filling. Dulce de Leche Whoopie Pies give the classic a punch of Latin flavor that's a perfect treat.
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 4 tablespoons shortening
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup chocolate milk
Making a natural yogurt smoothie in the morning only takes a couple of minutes, and can even be made the night before, for a quick “grab and go” breakfast.
- 2 cups natural unsweetened yogurt
- 1/4 cup cream of coconut (Coco Lopez)
- 1 teaspoon dulce de leche (caramel sauce)
- 1/2 teaspoon water
- 2 teaspoons toasted coconut
The classic flan is updated with the use of goat's milk caramel in this recipe by Chef Patricio Sandoval.
- 2 cups sugar (for caramel for bottom of cups)
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 14 ounces condensed milk
- 12 ounces evaporated milk
- 14 ounces cajeta (goat’s milk caramel)
- 5 whole eggs
- 2 yolks
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeded