Dulce de leche, with its rich caramel flavor, fits perfectly with so many dessert preparations and with other sweet ingredients, such as chocolate. Originally concocted as a means to preserve milk in the days before refrigeration, it appears in dozens of versions throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean.
Store the cooled bars between sheets of wax paper in an airtight tin or plastic container for up to 10 days, or freeze the whole baked sheet, well wrapped, for up to 1 month. Defrost and cut as needed.
Servings: 24 squares
- For the cookie base and topping
- 1/2 batch pasta frolla, freshly made (see separate recipe)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- For the filling
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 14 ounces can sweetened condensed milk
For the cookie base: Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Press 3/4 of the chilled dough evenly into the bottom of the pan, using gentle pressure from the palm of your hand. Refrigerate until ready to use. Reserve the remaining 1/4 of the dough at room temperature.
For the filling: Combine the butter, corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan. Melt the butter, then cook for 5 to 10 minutes over medium-low heat, constantly stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the filling starts to thicken and darkens slightly. Pour into a stainless-steel bowl and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes, then spread the filling into the chilled dough-lined pan, using a small offset spatula to spread it evenly.
To make the topping: Work the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour into the reserved dough, then crumble it into 1/4 - to 1/2 -inch pieces over a small bowl. Evenly scatter the crumbs over the filling.
Set an oven rack at the lowest level. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the filling is a deep caramel color and the dough and crumb topping are baked through. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool. Lift the slab of baked dough out of the pan and onto a cutting board before it has cooled completely, and cut into 2-inch squares.
Tested by Joe Yonan.
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