Although I love cooking, I am far from a professional chef. I’ve never taken a culinary class, never worked in a restaurant, never written a cookbook (I’d love to though!), never have I done anything to even come close to being anything more than a girl that loves to cook. I have no knowledge of how to fillet a fish, cut a chicken, decorate a cake, or make tofu edible (the last two are a work in progress). I’m not fancy in the kitchen and I often skip steps (is it really always necessary to mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl?….I think not!). I also insist on changing up almost every recipe I try and have burnt my fare share of cookies.My point is, my culinary skills are somewhat…ah hem….lacking. Because of this, I often find myself intimidated in the kitchen. And, while I do enjoy taking risk (A fat free, egg free cupcake…risky and delicious!), some risk I’m just too scared to take just yet. Homemade caramel on the stove was one of them.
This version of homemade caramel is perfect for a caramel making beginner. It involves virtually zero effort and yields amazing results! Sweetened condensed milk, a mason jar, water, a crock-pot, and time is all you need to make a delicious, thick, creamy caramel that is perfect for topping, dipping, filling, or eating with a spoon (…oops). Who knew it could be so easy or taste so good?!
Homemade Caramel (In Your Crock-Pot)
Adapted from Stephanie O’Dea
Yields 14 Ounces
1 (14 Ounce) Can Sweetened Condensed Milk *(Full Fat, Low Fat, or Fat Free)
Mason Jar (14 Ounces or Larger)
Open the condensed milk can and pour contents into a mason jar.
Place the lid on the jar and then set the jar in your crock-pot. Fill the crock-pot with enough water to cover about 1-2 inches above where the condensed milk sits in the jar. (If you put too much water in, the jar will bobble around. If this happens, just remove a little water at a time until the jar stays in place.)
Once the jar is settled, place the lid on your crock pot…if it fits. If the lid does not fit because the jars are too tall, just cover the top of your crock-pot with aluminum foil.
Turn the pot on low heat and cook for 6-8 hours. Carefully remove the lid from your crock-pot and turn heat off. Allow jars to sit until they are cool enough to handle then, remove them from the pot and carefully take the lid off the jar. Yay! Caramel! Serve as desired. Keep any unused caramel refrigerated. Enjoy!
* I tried this will the full fat, low fat, and fat free versions of condensed milk. All produced equally tasty results but, the full fat version produced the most creamy caramel. The low fat version was still creamy but, thicker and it would be a bit difficult to drizzle over anything but, not impossible. The fat free version, while it tasted good, the texture was pretty weird. It looked a bit like mousse but was rich and caramely. The full fat version is what is pictured in this post.
You can do this with more than one mason jar at a time if your crock-pot is large enough. Follow the same rules as above. Just be sure all jars sit flat on the bottom of the pot.
I would also like to give a quick thank you to the people who commented on Stephanie O’Dae’s crock-pot caramel sauce post and suggested the use of a mason jar. Traditionally, caramel made from sweetened condensed milk is heated in the can it comes in as Stephanie showed in her post. I was all set to make it this way until I read the comments on her site stating that heating a can releases the BPA thus causing it to leech into the caramel. So, “Thank you!” to Stephanie’s readers for the mason jar idea and “Thank you!” to Stephanie for introducing me to the amazingness that is crock-pot caramel!