If y’all will excuse me braggin’, these are divine. I absolutely love caramel, so as soon as it popped into my head I couldn’t resist the idea to put dulce de lèche in my new recipe chocolates! I was a little unsure as to how they would turn out, especially given I made a little boo-boo with the dulce de lèche, or so I thought, but in the end they turned out so well that once again I was forcing tasters on everyone in the vicinity and they got the family and flat-mate tick of approval! Yay!
So first things first, I decided I had to come up with a name for these little babies because a “Not really paleo or dairy free but kind of healthy if you exclude the centres caramel chocolates” didn’t really hit the mark. SO I decided to call them “Dulce Vitas” and YES I am aware this is a mix of two different languages but that is how I roll and I thought it was fitting because they are totally going to be a corner stone of my “dolce vita” going forward, and the dulce de lèche is just too good not to include in the name. So Voilà, behold the Dulce Vita!
You will need
-A double batch of the Real Deal Paleo Chocolate recipe here
-A can of sweetened condensed milk
-The biggest pot you can find
-Lots of water
-Lots of patience!
OPTIONAL: A hammer and clean nail
DULCE DE LÈCHE
The Dulce de lèche filling is very easy to make but very time consuming. You will need to allow about four hours to be able to keep an eye on it and keep topping it up. Essentially all you are going to do is take your can of condensed milk and boil it in the can. That is literally all there is to it, however there are a few precautions you will have to take to ensure you don’t end up with a dulce de lèche feature wall. While you are waiting for the dulce de lèche to cook, you can of course make the chocolate using this recipe, and follow instructions below for the filling.
1. Remove the label from the can completely and boil a jug of water
2. Using a clean nail, carefully hammer two small holes on opposite sides of the can, taking care to make sure you don’t get the nail all in the condensed milk inside. If you have a rip-top can like I did then be careful to make the holes close to the edge of the can so it doesn’t create a large rip. If it does as it did in my case it’s not a major, it just may take slightly longer to cook and you will have to be more attentive to ensure water does not get into it. If any condensed milk bubbles up, as it likely will now and throughout the process, just dab it off with a clean cloth.
*NOTE: If you do not have a method to put holes in the can, you can still make dulce de lèche, however you will need to make sure that the can is FULLY submerged in water the entire time so as to avoid an explosion. This means you will need to be much more attentive.
3. Place a folded tea towel or rag in the bottom of the pot. This will stop the can rattling and jumping around so much. (Trust me, this is a necessary step. I didn’t think it would bother me but the rattling gets very irritating very quickly- it’s much easier to do this at the start than half way through like I did when you risk tipping your can and getting water in it!)
4. Place the can on top and fill the pot up with the boiled water and some colder water so it is just under the rim of the can and is hot but not boiling temperature.
5. Turn on the element to medium and let the water come to mid way between a boil and a simmer. You are going to continue this for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, so make sure you set a timer for every twenty minutes to remind yourself to top up the pot with more boiling water. You need to keep the water level constantly at no more than a centimetre below the top of the can.
6. After 3 1/2 to 4 hours (the longer you leave it the darker and more solid it will become) Carefully remove the can and let it cool down until you can safely open it without burning yourself. Be careful to open the can away from you.
7. You will find that the density is different throughout the depths of the can, so if you have any very liquid condensed milk on top, pour it out carefully. Then pour/scoop out ALL the dulce de lèche into a bowl and using an egg beater bring it to a uniform texture.
8. Fill your chocolates as shown below! (or eat with a spoon!)
You can theoretically do this with any chocolate, so if you want to cheat and use melted regular chocolate that is fine. Just take care to temper your chocolate carefully using the double boiler method rather than microwaving it.
However, if you want to have a really satisfying treat that is simultaneously packed with lots of goodness, then use this recipe here for my Real Deal Paleo Chocolate. If you are a Peanut butter fan, you can use this recipe also, but from my experience it definitely tastes better using the first unless everyone you’re planning on serving them to are Reese’s fans.
1. Make the chocolate mix from either recipe.
2. Prepare your moulds. It is best to use mini muffin cases if you want to be able to share them around easily, as they van get a bit melty when they warm. But if you’d like a more sustainable version then you can use small chocolate moulds of any shape, the principle is the same. If you are using the mini muffin cases, it’s always a good idea to lay some paper down underneath to prevent them getting anything on them and to save spilling and contaminating chocolate everywhere when they do get fiddly.
. Pour your mix into the moulds and fill them right to the top. Then put them in the freezer to set for a few minutes.
4. You have two methods you can use for making the space for the filling. My preferred method is to allow the chocolates to semi set, around 15 minutes in the freezer, depending on how cold your freezer is. Then you are going to scoop out a well in the centre using a teaspoon, being careful to make sure that there is solid chocolate on all sides with no paper showing through (This will make the walls weak and result in leaking filling or easily broken chocolates). Make sure you KEEP the scooped out centres.
5. The OTHER method, however, is particularly suited to those who may be using “real” chocolate which sets at room temperature, or for those who want very thin chocolate walls, particularly if you are going to be using a very solid filling. This time you are going to fill all the cases up as normal and then let them set for about ten minutes in the freezer if you are using one of my paleo recipes, or if you are using regular chocolate, for a few minutes at room temperature. Either way you want the sides to have set, and you are going to tip them into a bowl so that only a small shell remains in the cases.
6. Carefully spoon in your filling.
7. Bring the remainder of the chocolate, either the scooped out or poured out centres, back to liquid using the same double-boiler method again.
8. Pour the liquid over top, ensuring that all gaps are filled up so there are no holes for your delicious dulce de lèche (or other filling) to escape!
9. If you are working with regular chocolate, leave to set at room temperature. Otherwise if you are using one of my recipes then set in either the fridge or freezer. I personally love these chocolates quite cold and very solid, so I keep them in the freezer (the dulce de lèche will still be gooey when you take them out to eat). However, they can be kept in the fridge, just be wary that the edges will melt much more quickly if taken direct out of the fridge- so if you are planning on taking them out then freeze freeze freeze!
10. Mangez-les! Eat ’em!
NOTE: You can obviously use this method for any kind of filling so here are a few suggestions:
-Peanut butter + Dulce de Lèche for sweet Reese’s style peanut butter cups: If you want to be true to style even make these in larger muffin cases with the tops trimmed down.
-Liqueurs either on their own (warn tasters: they will be runny!) or mixed with dulce de lèche
-Dulce de Lèche with a single hazelnut or macadamia in the middle
-Nutella either by itself or mixed with crushed hazelnuts (or other nuts)