Dulce de Leche: Recipes, Stories, & Sweet Traditions, written by Josephine Caminos Oría, features the versatile South American Dulce de Leche in 80 authentic and unique recipes. Oría demonstrates that Dulce de Leche isn’t only made for sweet treats. It also has a place in enhancing savory dishes and produce. Highlights include Dulce de Leche Hot Chocolate, Alfajores, Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeños, Grilled Peach Pizzas, Arroz con Leche Criollo, Dark Chocolate Banana Bread, Apricot Bread Pudding, and Helado de Dulce de Leche.
Josephine Caminos Oría was born in La Plata, Buenos Aires in Argentina. She moved to the United States with her family and now lives in Pittsburg with her husband and five children. She was influenced in the kitchen by her grandmother Dorita and founded La Dorita, a small-batch all-natural line of Dulce de Leche products, in 2009 with her husband, Gastón.
Disclaimer: I received this book from Burgess Lea Press in exchange for my honest review. All comments and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
Chapters are divided based on course: Dulce de Leche Casero (Essential, From Scratch Foundation Recipes), En El Desayuno (At Breakfast), En La Merienda (At Afternoon Tea or Coffee), En La Picada (On Small Plates), En La Cena (At Dinner), and En La Mesa de Postre (At the Dessert Table).
Dulce de Leche is a spreadable, creamy milk jam created by slowly cooking fresh milk and sugar on the stove until thickened. It originated in Argentina, but there are versions throughout Latin America with variations from the name to the type of milk used. Store-bought has become more readily available in American grocery stores, but there isn’t much better than homemade. Oría’s recipes for homemade Dulce de Leche create a less sweet and more flavorful option without the additional additives. She includes basic recipes for Dulce de Leche Clásico (traditional), Dulce de Leche con Miel (uses raw honey instead of sugar), Dulce de Leche Criollo (burnt caramel), Dulce de Leche con Chocolate (dark chocolate), and Dulce de Leche Repostero (thicker for baked goods). Each recipe takes about 2 hours and makes about 6 cups of Dulce de Leche.
While there are no photographs, the book does contain illustrations by Kate Forrester– from the cover to the decorative borders and drawings of a few of the recipes. I also loved the actual quality of the book. The hardback cover has a cushiony feel and the paper is heavy and durable with orange edges. Measurements are provided in US Customary. The name of each dish is listed in English and/or Spanish. Every recipe includes a headnote with background information and serving size. Along with her delicious recipes, Oría also provides little insights into her family, life with her grandmother, and traditions surrounding food.
This book is a great pick for those who love Dulce de Leche and are looking for more ways to incorporate it in their cooking and baking. Recipes range from easy with minimal effort to more complex and impressive dishes. Many would be perfect for holidays and celebrations with family. The instructions for all of the recipes I tried were well-written and easy to follow. Most of the ingredients can be found in the average American grocery store.
Variations of Buñuelos occur throughout Latin America and a few other countries around the world. In the Argentine version, the Buñuelo resembles the Italian Zeppole and the dough is created in a similar manner to a Churro. Flour is mixed into the wet ingredients on the stove first (pâte à choux), before beating in the eggs until smooth and almost cake batter-like in consistency. Forming the dough on the stove first gives the Buñuelos that light and airy texture. Spoonfuls of the dough are dropped in hot oil and fried until golden, then tossed in orange sugar.
When combining the orange zest with with sugar, I used my fingertips to rub them together until well blended to help enhance the flavor.
For this recipe, the Dulce de Leche is incorporated into the Brown Velvet Glaze. After creating a chocolate ganache, butter and the Dulce de Leche are mixed in to form a shiny, smooth accompaniment to the Buñuelos. This is made as the last few Buñuelos are frying since it will harden as it cools to room temperature. It can be reheated in a double boiler on the stove.
I also made Dulce de Leche con Chocolate (Dark Chocolate Dulce de Leche), Torta de Nuez, Double-Chocolate Brownies, and Glazed Carrots.
Dulce de Leche con Chocolate is created by mixing unsweetened cocoa powder into the milk mixture towards the end of cooking. I enjoyed it as a sweet spread on croissants for breakfast. Oría mentions that it reminds her of the Italian chocolate hazelnut spread and I definitely agree. She recommends heating it in a fondue pot to pair with angel food cake and seasonal fruits.
The Torta de Nuez is a nut cake from Oría’s Grandma Dorita. The rich cake is filled with walnuts and served with traditional dulce de leche or dark chocolate dulce de leche (I used both). It is the perfect accompaniment to special occasions, breakfast, or as an afternoon snack.
The Double-Chocolate Brownies are a rich, indulgent treat to help satisfy those chocolate cravings. The gooey brownie base is swirled with a thin layer of dulce de leche before baking for an extra boost of flavor and richness.
I stuck mostly to the sweet offerings in the book, but also made the Glazed Carrots for a more savory note. These carrots don’t take much effort and would be a great side for the holiday table. Peeled carrots are boiled until just tender and tossed in a butter, dulce de leche, and lemon coating before garnishing with parsley. Claire especially loved these.
Buñuelos with Brown Velvet Glaze
Adapted from Dulce de Leche
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons orange zest, divided
Canola oil for frying
Brown Velvet Glaze:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
6 ounces 60% cacao chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup traditional dulce de leche
To make the dough: In a medium saucepan, bring the butter, salt, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and 1/2 cup water to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in the flour. Return to low heat and continue to stir until the dough comes together in a ball, about 4 minutes. Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl.
Use an electric hand mixer to beat in the eggs, one at a time, on low speed until combined and smooth. Beat in 1 tablespoon of the orange zest.
In a wide bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar with the remaining 1 tablespoon orange zest.
In a large saucepan, add enough oil to fill the pot 2 inches and place over medium-high heat until it reaches 360 degrees F.
Use two spoons or a small ice cream scoop to drop 1 tablespoon balls of dough into the hot oil. Only add 3-4 at a time, being sure not to overcrowd the pan. Cook until golden on each side, about 5 minutes total. Remove with a slotted spoon and coat immediately in the orange sugar. Repeat with remaining dough.
When most of the dough has been used, prepare the glaze: In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream just until bubbles begin to form around the edges. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and allow to cool for a minute before adding the chocolate. Stir together and place over a pan of simmering water until the chocolate has melted. Cut the butter into pieces and add to the chocolate along with the dulce de leche. Pour the mixture through a sieve and serve immediately with the fresh buñuelos.
The glaze will thicken as it cools. Reheat in a double boiler if needed.