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Learn everything you need to know about making caramel as Martha demystifies the secret to this one ingredient wonder with four irresistible recipes, including a decadent six-layer chocolate cake filled with salted caramel and covered with swirls of chocolate frosting. Learn the technique for making dulce de leche, a creamy caramel confection used to fill shortbread cookies, known as alfajores, and a buttery pound cake with a caramel glaze with Matt Lewis from Baked. Plus, the best chocolate-caramel bar cookies.
This Week’s Recipe
Alfajores de Dulce de Leche
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1/2 cup water
- Sanding sugar, for sprinkling
- For the Dulce de Leche:
- 2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
- Line a baking sheet with parchment or a nonstick baking mat (such as Silpat).
- Sift together flour and confectioners’ sugar. In a food processor, pulse together flour mixture and butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 20 seconds. With machine running, pour in the water in a slow steam and process just until the dough comes together, about 20 seconds. Form the dough into 2 flattened disks and wrap well in plastic. Refrigerate 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350°. On a well-floured work surface, roll out 1 disk of dough to a scant 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 1 3/4-inch round cookie cutter, cut out rounds from dough and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with other disk of dough. Gather up the scraps from both batches, and reroll and cut. Sprinkle half the rounds with sanding sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- About 30 minutes before serving, spread 1 to 2 teaspoons of the cold dulce de leche on bottom of unsugared cookies. Place sugared cookies on top to make sandwiches. Serve immediately. Unfilled cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.
- For the dulce de leche: Empty milk into the top of a double boiler or a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes, until milk is thick and amber in color, about 5 hours. Remove from heat and beat with a wooden spoon to smooth out. Transfer to a clean bowl, and refrigerate several hours or up to 3 days.
Yield: 16 cookies
Additional recipes and video clips from the episode are available on MarthaStewart.com: