Dulce de leche is a thick, milk-based caramel sauce that is popular throughout many Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries, though variations exist in many other countries and cultures as well. The sauce has the distinctive flavor of caramelized milk because milk and sugar are caramelized together to make it, in contrast to some other types of caramel sauce where milk, butter or other dairy products are added in after the sugar has been caramelized and are not necessarily caramelized themselves. You can make your own dulce de leche at home, using sweetened condensed milk, or you can pick some up at your local grocery store. Whether you’re buying it or making your own, the spread is easy to eat with a spoon and can also be added to frostings, coffee drinks and all kinds of baked goods.
A few short years ago, dulce de leche was not widely available, but it is relatively easy to find these days. Trader Joe’s recent introduced their own Dulce de Leche and I picked up a jar to see how it stacked up to some of the other brands out there. This dulce de leche is silky smooth with a thick, but not overly sticky, consistency. It is not pourable, however it is still more fluid than some other brands of dulce de leche I’ve dried. It has a mild flavor with strong caramel notes and a relatively mild dairy flavor. This makes it a great choice for those who aren’t huge fans of the strong dairy flavor usually found in dulce de leche, but may leave some wanting a spread with a less subtle flavor. It melts on your tongue and leaves you with a smooth, sweet finish. I also appreciate the small, resealable jar that this spread is packaged in, since many dulce de leches come in cans and must be transferred from one container to another if you’re not going to use them up all at once.