Dulce de Leche, which translates to “sweet milk”, is a sweet sauce (similar to caramel), made of caramelized sweetened milk – or in this case coconut cream. Coconut dulce de leche is thick, creamy and tastes like sweetened toasted coconut, which in my opinion, tastes heavenly, and is even better than the original version.
Dulce de leche can be made either by cooking sweetened condensed coconut milk until it caramelizes, or by using a combination of coconut cream and sugar. I prefer the second method because coconut condensed milk is not available everywhere, it’s more expensive. and it’s even more sweet.
What is the difference between Dulche de Leche and Caramel sauce?
Caramel is simply sugar that is cooked until it turns golden. At this point, cream or butter may be added to the caramelized sugar.
Vegan Dulce de Leche is made with sweetened condensed coconut milk, or coconut cream and sugar, that is cooked until it caramelizes and turns a deep golden color. Dulche de Leche is creamier, richer and thicker than regular caramel sauce.
How to use coconut dulce de leche
The first time I made dulce de leche was at the request of one of my brother’s friends, Javier, who was from Paraguay. I was making Black & White cookies – a NY staple – and the cookies reminded him of Alfajores, which he had missed from back home. Alfajores are little sandwich cookies filled with dulce de leche in the middle and rolled in toasted coconut flakes.
In addition to the classic Alfajores, coconut dulce de leche is delicious drizzled on brownies, smothered in crepes, in caramel Tiramisu, as a filling in German Chocolate Cake, and more…
Why add baking soda to caramel?
The baking soda is optional in this recipe. However, when added to the caramel, baking soda helps to make the finished dulce de leche smoother and creamier, with a darker, richer color.
Coconut Dulce de Leche
- 2 cans unsweetened coconut cream
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda optional
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pour the coconut cream in a large pot. Add the brown sugar, salt and baking soda. Whisk to combine.
- Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for approximately one hour, until deep golden and thickened. Make sure to stir the sauce occasionally so that it does not stick and burn.
- Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Store in the refrigerator. The sauce will become thicker as it cools.