Sunday, August 11, 2013

Foolproof Homemade Caramel

By Casey Calhoun, White House Organic Gardener (And disaster in the kitchen)
From: The White House Gardener Mysteries by Dorothy St. James

Despite (or rather because of) my aunts attempts to teach me to cook, I am quite hopeless in the kitchen. I blame that on the fact that Aunt Alba and Aunt Willow have never agreed on how to do anything.

But that doesn't mean I haven't learned a few foolproof recipes in my years living away from home (and away from my well-meaning but meddling aunts.)

One such recipe is perfect for the end of summer and the beginning of fall. And that's my one ingredient caramel. Perfect for drizzling on ice cream or apples.

A can of sweetened condensed milk (low fat will work as well as whole milk).

  • Open can of condensed milk.
  • Pour into a canning jar and tighten the lid.
  • Put jar into a slow cooker.
  • Fill slow cooker with enough water that it covers the lid of the jar.
  • Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or until the condensed milk darkens.

What you get is a tasty caramel that will make your mouth water!

I would post a picture of the finished product, but Jack and I have already eaten the latest batch.

So, you see, I can cook without burning down the apartment. To keep that good impression you have of me and my cooking abilities, whatever you do, do not read THE SCARLET PEPPER.


You can learn more about Dorothy St. James's books at her website. Join her Facebook page. Or follow her on Twitter.

Praise for FLOWERBED OF STATE (book #1 in the White House Gardener Mysteries):
"Credible characters, a fast-paced plot, and a light look at political life in Washington, D.C., will delight cozy fans." ~ Publishers Weekly

Praise for THE SCARLET PEPPER (book #2 in the White House Gardener Mysteries):
"A potboiler of homicide, blackmail, journalism, power and sex - but one that St. James handles with taste as well as verve - “The Scarlet Pepper” fulfills the promise of last year’s series debut, “Flowerbed of State,” and then some." ~ Richmond Times-Dispatch

Praise for OAK AND DAGGER (book #3 in the White House Gardener Mysteries):
"Hang on tight! This story is a wild ride! I loved it!" ~ Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book Blog


  1. Now that is an easy recipe! Delicious too, I love caramel.

  2. Sounds great. Maybe I will make a jar for my daughter to take with her when she moves into college this week.

  3. wow, that's a cool recipe, that even I can make.

  4. Casey forgot to mention (although I'm not surprised) that although this recipe uses canning jars, it's not following the canning process. The caramel will need to be refrigerated. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Also, the longer you cook it the thicker the caramel will be.

  5. Wow 8 hours, that is a lot of gas. I thought you got caramel by melting sugar.

  6. Slow cookers are electric...and 8 hrs on low is the norm for preparing most meals- the point of the slow cooker was for working women to put dinner in it in the morning and have it ready when they returned at night. Caramel is from melting sugar- sweet milk is just about all sugar with a little condensed milk tossed in. You can carmalize it on the stove too, but have to stir it constantly so it will not burn...and it takes longer....

    1. Thanks SueAnn, I did not know that. Not sure we have sweet milk here in Holland, can't remember if I have ever seen it. What do you normally use sweet milk for?