For the ultimate indulgence, sweetened condensed milk is like liquid gold. With its thick and creamy texture, it adds a unique flavor to any dessert or treat that you could imagine.
Whether you’re baking up something special or adding a splash of sweetness to your morning coffee, there’s no denying the power of this delicious ingredient.
Join us as we explore why this sweet staple is so beloved among soul food cooks around the world.
What Is The Condensed Milk
Sweetened condensed milk is a thick, sweet milk-like substance that is made by removing most of the water from regular milk and then adding sugar. The resulting product is used in a variety of desserts and confections, and it can also be used as an ingredient in savory dishes. It is often used as an ingredient in baking and is a key ingredient in many traditional desserts such as key lime pie, banana pudding, and fudge.
The shelf life of sweetened condensed milk is much longer than that of regular milk, as the process of removing the water also removes most of the bacteria that would cause the milk to spoil.
What is condensed milk used for?
Sweetened condensed milk is a versatile ingredient that is used in a variety of sweet and savory dishes. It's a staple in soul food desserts! Some common uses include:
- Desserts: It's a key ingredient in many traditional desserts such as key lime pie, banana pudding, and fudge. I use it to make a great Mexican Strawberries and Cream dish.
- Beverages: It's a common ingredient in coffee drinks, like café con leche, and also in certain cocktails, like some variations of the Margarita.
- Sauces and Toppings: Sweetened condensed milk can be used as a base for making a variety of sauces and toppings. It can be whipped with butter and vanilla to make a creamy frosting or topping, or it can be used as a sweetener and thickener in savory sauces and dips.
- Dairy Products: Sweetened condensed milk is also used to make sweetened condensed milk-based products such as sweetened condensed milk ice cream and sweetened condensed milk yogurt.
- Baked Goods: Bakers use it in recipes that call for its specific consistency, flavor, and sweetness. It's commonly used in recipes that require a lot of sugar, as it can help to moisten and sweeten cakes, cookies, and bars.
Overall, sweetened condensed milk is a common ingredient in sweet recipes and its usage varies by regions and traditional dishes. While it's rarely a direct replacement for regular milk, it can bring a unique flavor and texture to the recipe, which makes it a popular ingredient among bakers and cooks.
What Is A Substitute for sweetened condensed milk?
There are several substitutes for sweetened condensed milk that you can use, depending on the recipe and the desired result. Some common substitutes include:
- Evaporated milk: As previously mentioned, evaporated milk is similar to sweetened condensed milk in that it is made by removing most of the water from regular milk. You can use it as a one-to-one replacement for sweetened condensed milk in most recipes, but keep in mind that it is not sweetened, so you will need to add sugar to taste.
- Homemade sweetened condensed milk: You can make your own sweetened condensed milk by simmering 2 cups of whole milk with 1 cup of sugar and ¼ cup of butter, until the mixture is reduced by about half.
- Powdered sweetened condensed milk: There are some commercial Powdered sweetened condensed milk that you can use as a replacement, they are made by drying sweetened condensed milk and then grinding it into a powder. This type of sweetened condensed milk can be reconstituted by adding water.
- Sweetened condensed milk alternatives: There are some alternatives to sweetened condensed milk like sweeteners, honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar. These alternatives can be used instead of sweetened condensed milk, but may result in a different consistency and taste.
- Cream and Sugar: If you don't have sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk, you can make a quick substitution by mixing 2 cups of heavy cream and 1 cup of sugar, and reducing it until thick, it's not a perfect replacement, but it can get the job done in some recipes.
Ultimately, the best substitute for sweetened condensed milk will depend on the recipe and the desired outcome. If a recipe calls for sweetened condensed milk specifically, it's best to use one of the above-mentioned substitutes or make your own sweetened condensed milk as a replacement.
Here Are Some Tips and Considerations When Using Condensed Milk
- Keep in mind that sweetened condensed milk is already sweetened, so you may need to adjust the amount of sugar in a recipe if you're using it as an ingredient.
- Use a clean, dry measuring cup to measure out the sweetened condensed milk. If the cup is not dry, it will be difficult to get an accurate measurement.
- If a recipe calls for sweetened condensed milk and you don't have any on hand, you can use a substitute, but keep in mind that the final product may have a slightly different texture or flavor.
- Due to its high sugar content, it can burn easily when heated, so you should use low heat and stir frequently when using sweetened condensed milk in a recipe that requires heating.
- It's shelf-stable and can be stored at room temperature for months, or refrigerated for a longer shelf life. It's important to always check the expiration date before using it.
- Due to its high sugar content, sweetened condensed milk can make food too sweet, in some cases it's best to use it in moderation, or mix with other ingredients.
- Be careful when consuming sweetened condensed milk for people who are lactose intolerant, as it can cause digestive symptoms.
- Sweetened condensed milk can also be used as a sweetener, a glaze or a caramel sauce, and it can give a nice texture and flavor.
Overall, sweetened condensed milk is a versatile ingredient, but it's important to use it in the right amount and in the right context to get the desired result and to avoid overpowering sweetness.
Are sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk the same
Sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk are both forms of concentrated milk that have had most of their water removed, but they are used in different ways and have some key differences.
Evaporated milk is made by heating regular milk until about 60% of the water has been removed, after which it is cooled and canned. The result is a thick, creamy milk that has a slightly caramelized flavor and a slightly darker color than regular milk. It is often used as a cooking ingredient in savory dishes, as well as in baking and coffee drinks.
Sweetened condensed milk, on the other hand, is made by removing most of the water from regular milk and then adding sugar. The result is a thick, sweet milk-like substance that has a very high sugar content and is often used in desserts and confections. It is a key ingredient in traditional desserts such as key lime pie, banana pudding, and fudge.
In summary, evaporated milk is unsweetened condensed milk and it has a slightly caramelized taste and a thicker texture than regular milk. While sweetened condensed milk is very sweet and used mostly in sweet recipes like candy, pie and some cakes.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Sweetened Condensed Milk
Is sweetened condensed milk lactose free?
Sweetened condensed milk is not lactose-free, as it is made from regular milk, which contains lactose. Lactose is a naturally occurring sugar found in milk and other dairy products. During the process of making sweetened condensed milk, most of the water is removed, which concentrates the lactose along with other milk sugars, as well as increasing its sweetness.
People who are lactose intolerant or have a sensitivity to lactose may find it difficult to digest sweetened condensed milk and could experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea after consuming it. There is lactose-free sweetened condensed milk available in the market which are made with lactase enzyme that breaks down lactose, so it may be a viable option for lactose intolerant individuals, but it's always best to double-check the product label or consult with your doctor.
Is sweetened condensed milk the same as dulce de leche?
Sweetened condensed milk and dulce de leche are similar in that they are both sweet, concentrated milk products, but they are not the same thing.
Dulce de leche is a caramelized sweet milk-like substance that is popular in Latin American countries. It is made by simmering sweetened milk (usually whole milk) and sugar together, until the mixture thickens and turns a caramel color.
The result is a thick, spreadable substance that has a rich, caramel flavor and a smooth, creamy texture. It's often used as a spread or filling for pastries, on top of pancakes and waffles, as a spread, or eaten by the spoonful.
Sweetened condensed milk, as previously mentioned is made by removing most of the water from regular milk and then adding sugar, resulting in a thick, sweet milk-like substance that has a very high sugar content. As it doesn't get caramelized as dulce de leche, its taste and texture are different, it's less dense and less caramelly than dulce de leche.
In summary, Dulce de leche is made by simmering sweetened milk until it caramelizes, while sweetened condensed milk is made by removing most of the water from regular milk and adding sugar. The resulting products have a similar sweetness and concentration, but they have different taste and texture.
All in all, sweetened condensed milk is an extremely versatile ingredient with a long shelf-life and no sign of going away anytime soon. It can be used to make an array of dishes, desserts, and drinks ranging from cheesecake or simple sweets to thick and creamy smoothies or shakes. For those reasons alone, make sure you add sweetened condensed milk to your pantry staples next time you’re at the market!