It's the last week of the year and my final recipe for 2016! So much has happened in one year, I ate, I cooked, I made new friends and grew up in more ways than I could have ever imagined. As with any year, 2016 was a year mixed with happy and sad emotions. I'm thankful for many special moments too. We rescued a cat and ended up adopting another kitten. I started to write a new food column for the San Francisco Chronicle and visited Canada for the first time. But more than anything, I had many first experiences that I got to learn from. From sampling and learning how to cook better Chinese food at home, making better pastries and experimenting in the kitchen, it was a year of learning and fun in the kitchen and I hope 2017 will offer me the same opportunities to learn and understand this wonderful world of food.
And so it should come as no surprise that my final recipe this year, is one that is full of fun muddled with flavor. This vegan version of dulce de leche is sweet yet not cloyingly sweet with a hint of ground green cardamom and a little dash of brandy for a kick. Serve it warm or serve it cool, drizzle it on cookies, or over fresh fruit. It is marvelous by itself and I'll admit to sampling spoonfuls every now and then.
This is a small batch recipe, so you can easily double the amount if needed. I started out with Califia's almond milk to create this sauce and since Califia's milk is heat-stable, I was able to slowly let the sugar cook with the almond milk and create that toffee-like flavor, dulce de leche is so well known for! Even if you're not vegan, it's worth the taste test.
Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this dulce de leche,
- The recipe can be easily doubled to make larger amounts, adjust the amounts of ingredients accordingly.
- Play with flavors, you can substitute the cardamom with different spices such as cinnamon and even swap out the brandy for different liquors.
- I use cornstarch to thicken the final product because it brings the texture as close as possible to the non-vegan version. If you like it a little thicker, increase the amount of cornstarch.
brandied cardamom dulce de leche (vegan)
yields: 1/2 cup (120mL)
1 cup + 1 tablespoon a href="www.califiafarms.com?utm_source=influencer&utm_medium=abrowntable&utm_campaign=nik_sharma" rel="nofollow">Califia almond milk (unsweetened) 1/4 cup (50g) packed brown sugar 1 teaspoon coarsely ground green cardamom seeds 1 teaspoon cornstarch 1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
Bring the 1 cup of the almond milk, sugar and cardamom to a boil on medium-high heat in a medium sized thick bottomed saucepan.
Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and allow to cook for about 35 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping the sides of the saucepan with a silicone spatula. The mixture will turn to a toffee-like color liquid and will reduce in volume to about 1/2 cup.
Once the mixture has reached this stage, prepare a slurry with the cornstarch and the 1 tablespoon of almond milk in a small bowl and quickly whisk this into the dulce de leche in the saucepan. Increase the heat to medium-high and using a whisk, stir the mixture until it starts to thicken (about 1 minute, it should be able to coat the sides of a spoon). Transfer the thickened liquid, scraping the sides of the saucepan into a clean and dry 300mL jar. Stir in the brandy and cover the jar with a lid, refrigerate and allow to cool for about 4 hours before using.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Califia Farms, all opinions expressed are solely my own.