So Dear Readers, I have many character flaws and this post directly relates to the particular flaw of haste. Yes, I know haste makes waste but I can’t seem to keep that lesson in mind for very long. During my latest trip to Costco (a terrific warehouse-type store where I shop only every other month or so because it is an hour and a half drive from my home), I snagged a flat of what I thought was sweetened condensed milk. I saw cans, some familiar text, loaded it into the giant cart, and on I went zooming down the aisles in search of a giant jug of olive oil. I gave the flat zero thought after that. A week later, I ran out of my dulce de leche and quickly set up my crockpot (as described in this post here), ripped the label off of one of the cans, and plunked it in the water. Here was the first red flag that I ignored in haste. The can of evaporated milk is about half an inch taller than the sweetened condensed and I thought, “huh, that’s strange” and set the can on its side so it would be completely submerged. Six hours later, I shut the crockpot off, and when it was cool I pulled the can from the water and heard a distinctive slosh. One detail I failed to mention explicitly in my post about dulce de leche was that once it is cooked, it is really thick and there is no sloshing about inside the can. I of course then realized my error. This error led me to a laugh at myself and led to a few important discoveries that I will share with you now.
Evaporated milk has no added sugar, thus heating it in a crock pot will NOT result in a caramel of any kind. Sweetened condensed milk is exactly that- sugar is added and it is cooked down, leaving less water and more milk and sugar, which is why it is so delicious in coffee. Evaporated milk cannot be interchanged with sweetened condensed milk unless sugar is added to the recipe. The type and quantity depend on the recipe at hand. Once you get into Ingredient Replacement 2.0, I feel like the risk of failure is a bit greater, so proceed with such replacements at your own risk and not on an important cooking day like Thanksgiving. I wouldn’t wish that kind of stress upon anyone, least of all my dear readers.
My second discovery is that there are MANY recipes that call for evaporated milk and you can bet your boots that once I come upon a great one, you dear readers will get to see how I use up all 12 cans of evaporated milk that I bought in haste.
Surely, I could have guessed that these ingredients (marketed in very similar cans, dang it) are not interchangeable but once I took to an internet search it was clear that I wasn’t the only hasty shopper to make such a mistake.
How can I use up 12 cans of evaporated milk, my wise wildflowers? Leave your pearls of milk wisdom in the comments below and happy cooking!