My abuelita (may she rest in peace) always used to make dulce de leche when I was little. Even though she was diabetic, she always made dulces (tomato, coconut, pineapple too) so she could offer it to visiting relatives or guests. So dulce de leche makes me think of her.
Anyway, I've always loved condensed milk (or leche condensada) which tastes great when you put a bit in coffee, on toast, or when cooking. What I didn't realize was that dulce de leche is, in a nutshell, cooked condensed milk, and that I could make it in the microwave.
I ran across this post last week on the Bakers Royale website, which lists three different ways to make dulce de leche 1) oven 2) stovetop and 3) microwave. The other ways are likely to give you a smoother consistency. As it happens, when I've eaten it homemade it has always been a bit thicker. Also, I really did not feel like spending hours on this endeavor so I opted for the microwave method. If I were planning to frost something with dulce de leche, I would probably try another method.
I would DEFINITELY recommend using a large bowl because the condensed milk boiled over between minutes 2 and 4 despite the plastic wrap - making a mess in my microwave.
Also, be very careful of the steam. I kept lifting the plastic wrap nervously in the meaning and nothing happened....until around minute 7 or 8 I peeled back the plastic less cautiously than before and of course that is when I burned my middle finger around the nail bed.
Since you are stirring in two minute increments, monitor your dulce and see how it's coming along. I microwaved it about ten minutes but next time I believe I would do a bit less; I felt it was a bit too cooked around minute 10 ten but the previous cycle had been ideal. Fortunately, I tried it with a cracker both times =)
Without further ado...
1. Empty contents of can in a LARGE microwave safe dish and loosely cover with plastic wrap.
2. Cook it on medium in two minute increments stirring between each increment, being VERY careful of any steam as you lift the plastic wrap (as steam may get very hot around minute 7 or 8) for 8-10 minutes for thinner consistency. ( I liked the consistency of mine closer to what I believe was the eight minute mark - not sure if that's because microwave cooks quickly or because the plastic wrap peeled off one of the corners a bit so if you don't like the result just keep following the two minute increment pattern for another two to three increments - until you reach the 15 minute mark).
3. Let cool before storing.
If you liked this recipe, you may also enjoy this delicious pumpkin pie recipe, which is also made using condensed milk.