(by Andreina P. Botto Roever, Valentina Roever, and Sophia Roever)
4 c. milk
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/4 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla
Stir together milk, sugar, and baking soda in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until caramelized and thickened, about 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 hours.
(After about an hour, stir more often as milk caramelizes, to avoid burning.)
Stir in vanilla.
Transfer to a bowl to cool.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
Sweetened condensed milk method:
14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
Pre-heat oven to 425 F. with rack in middle.
Pour sweetened condensed milk into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate, and cover tightly with foil.
Set plate in a roasting pan, and add enough hot water to pan to reach halfway up pie plate.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Check water level and add additional, if necessary, then continue to bake 45 minutes more, or until milk is thick and brown.
Remove pie plate from water bath and cool, uncovered.
Makes about 1 1/4 cups.
Dulce de leche will keep for a couple of weeks, refrigerated. It would be great stirred into coffee or cocoa, spread on toast, or warmed and drizzled on ice cream. Try it with peanut butter on a sandwich (surely the top trade at the school lunch table).
(Read It Takes Three to Tango, the story that accompanies this recipe.)