Thursday, January 12, 2012

DIY Condensed Milk.

Have you ever had the urge to make your own condensed milk? I thought not. Perhaps you are curious however, as to how it could be made at home on your own stove, should the desire or need arise? The Genesee Farmer in 1864, tells how:

“A correspondent of the Germantown Telegraph says: "To one quart of new milk, take one pound of the best crushed sugar; let the milk boil, then stir in the sugar until all is dissolved; continue to stir until it has commenced again to boil, which must be on a gentle, heat to keep from burning. When it becomes the consistency of molasses it is done for use. Put in cans or close jars and cork them tightly. This is of much value where fresh milk cannot be had, either in preparing food for the sick, or to use in tea and coffee. In hospitals this is a valuable article."

The timing of the article in the newspaper is relevant to the story of condensed milk, as there was a great deal of interest in it at the time. Although Gail Borden, the inventor of the product had finally succeeded in patenting it in 1856, as so often has happened in respect of food preservation methods in the past, it was the requirements of wartime – in this case, the American Civil War – which gave impetus to its commercial development.

A number of stories on this blog have contained condensed milk as an ingredient, including the infamous mock mayonnaise salad dressing, so it was quite a challenge to find something interesting. I hope you like my choice, from an article in the Washington Post of July 1937. “Absolutely failure proof” candy firecrackers seem like a great idea for the kids-at-heart in your family, and would make fun gifts for any holiday season.

Safe and Sane Firecrackers.
1 ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar
¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
Blend sifted confectioners’ sugar gradually with sweetened condensed milk, using fork. Add peppermint extract and continue mixing until smooth and creamy. Use just enough sugar so that the fondant will hold its shape when formed into rolls. Roll out on a board or waxed paper dusted lightly with confectioners’ sugar, making long rolls about ½ to ¾-inch thick. Cut rolls into about 3 ½-inch lengths. Cover with melted dipping chocolate which has been cooled. Chill. Make fuse of bits of string held in place with pins, or lengths of coloured toothpicks or strips of candied fruit. Makes about ten.

Happy Holiday Pinwheels.
½ cup cocoa
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
½ cup sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
Sift together cocoa and 1 ½ cups condensed milk and vanilla. Blend thoroughly. Pat out on board or waxed paper which has been dusted with confectioners’ sugar, into oblong layer ¼-inch thick. Blend remaining confectioners’ sugar and sweetened condensed milk. Tint with vegetable coloring if desired. Spread with spatula on top of dark layer. Roll as in making jelly roll, folding edges to conceal fondant. Allow to stand in cool place until firm. Cut into diagonal slices 1/2 –inch thick.Wipe knife after each slice, to keep the colors clear. Makes 15 to 20 pinwheels.

Quotation for the Day.

(With no apologies for repeating this quotation – it was impossible to resist.)
Condensed milk is wonderful. I don't see how they can get a cow to sit down on those little cans.
Fred Allen.

5 comments:

Miss Kate said...

Ooh! I've never thought about making my own condensed milk, but I can see how people would be curious to try it in the days when families had a cow or two lounging around the barn.

What would this recipe be like to make this recipe, but then can the contents in a water bath to make canned condensed milk? That would be delicious, especially if you slipped a vanilla bean in while you reduced the milk.

Catherine said...

Actually, yes, I have! This is purely because about the only brand available in the UK is Nestle - I've boycotted them for years, and wish that a more ethical, organic version was available.

The recipes I've seen are slightly more complicated than this - in that you make evaporated milk first before adding the sugar. Whichever, you can also make dulce de leche with it afterwards....

Alys K. said...

Canned, sweetened, condensed milk will make a fine "dulce de leche". During my stay in Argentina, the house mother showed me how to put the unopened can into a pot of water which covered the can an inch or more. The water was brought up to a simmer and kept that way for 4-6 hours, adding more water as necessary. The longer the "cooking" time, the darker the resultant dulce de leche. You carefully remove the can and let it cool before opening.

kensingtonkitchen said...

I'm going to have to try this.

A lot of Filipino sweets recipes use canned condensed milk (presumably brought over with the soldiers in WWII, but perhaps not), as fresh milk isn't much available in the tropics.

Will let you know the results of the experiment.

The Old Foodie said...

Thanks everyone - and sorry for the belated response.
Miss Kate - if I ever make condensed milk, there will definitely be a vanilla bean in the mix!
Catherine - I am impressed! I didnt think that anyone would respond and say they did make their own!
Alys - I think there are a couple of brands now that sell it already caramelised - too many victims of exploding boiling cans and lawsuits I think