Who watched Boardwalk Empire and absolutely loved it? I know that I did! I mean, I knew that I’d love it; how can you not? Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt, Stephen Graham, and all produced by Martin Scorsese? What’s not to love? The show is gorgeous and the actors are all fantastic. I can’t wait to watch more. Steve Buscemi has been a favorite actor of mine for a long, long time (as I’m sure he has been for many of you), so it’s so great to see him in a leading role in such a highly anticipated show. Kramer and I also saw The Town this weekend. I liked it more than him, but it’s definitely no Gone Baby Gone. I don’t like to compare them, though, because they are such different stories. Gone Baby Gone was a much more original idea than The Town, but The Town was a fantastic heist/gangster movie, and Ben Affleck did a wonderful job shooting some incredible car-chase and shoot-out scenes, which is usually my favorite part of most movies, anyway. Plus, Jon Hamm is in it, so I’m already prone to liking it. I’m sure that I’m not the only one!
Now, on to the classic combination: salty and sweet. It pairs so well that it is nearly irresistible, wouldn’t you agree? I can’t think of a better pairing, and the two are all wrapped up together in this fantastic little cookie. I made the dulce de leche myself, which is much easier than it sounds. All you have to do is simmer an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk for a few hours, let it cool, and before you know it, you have some luscious dulce de leche on your hands! There’s nothing more satisfying than opening up a can of this stuff and seeing the golden caramel ooze out, ready to be spread onto something delicious. I was a bit nervous at first, boiling an airtight can and all, but it was quite simple and as long as you are careful, everything should be perfectly fine. Even though you know what you should get when you open the can, it’s always a surprise to see that, yes, indeed, your plan did work! You have dulce de leche without having had to work too hard to get it. Amazing! Dulce de leche is eaten all around the world. You can make it into a hard or chewable candy, or you can use it as a spread for cookies, cakes, and other treats. All it really is is caramelized sugar; once you reduce the sweetened milk enough, this is the result! Dulce de leche literally means “milk candy,” is called confiture de lait in France, cajeta in Mexico, and hamar pålegg in Norway. It really does transcend almost every part of the globe, and how can you be surprised? The sticky, sweet caramel is absolutely finger-licking good. I promise that you won’t be able to get enough of it, especially when sandwiched between two simple shortbread cookie and sprinkled with just a tiny bit of fleur de sel, which is a hand-harvested salt scraped from the top of layer of salt itself. It is light and delicate, and melts in your mouth alongside the dulce de leche. Make these cookies and you’re sure to always have some dulce de leche on hand afterward!
When the 3 hours is up, turn off the heat and leave the cans in the water for at least 30-45 minutes, so the temperature can cool. Removing the cans prior to doing this can cause them to explode. When ready, remove the cans and open with a can opener. Set aside to finish cooling (I put mine in the fridge).
Roll the cookies into balls and flatten with the palm of your hands onto a lined and/or greased cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees F for 12-15 minutes, until the edges are just beginning to turn golden.
- 1 14 oz. can dulce de leche (recipe follows, or you can buy it in your local grocery store)
- 1¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 eggs yolks, beaten
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- fleur de sel, for sprinkling (optional)
- WARNING: This is semi-dangerous, as you are placing a sealed, air-tight can over heat. You should be fine, but always be careful when pouring more water into the pot and removing the cans from the water.
- 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
- enough water to cover, plus about ¾ cup every 30 minutes
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy and smooth, then add in the sugar and mix until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes). Beat in the egg yolks, milk, and vanilla. Add in the flour and mix until just moistened. Shape into two balls, wrap in plastic wrap or place in a sealable bag, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Take pieces of dough off of the large balls of dough, roll into balls with the palms of your hands, and press down onto a greased and/or lined baking sheet. The balls should be no bigger than an unshelled walnut.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are just barely golden brown. Allow to cool completely, then spread about a teaspoon of the dulce de leche on one flat side of the cookies and sandwich with another, flat side down. Sprinkle the outsides of the sandwiched cookies with a pinch of fleur de sel, if you have it. Makes about 30 sandwiched cookies.
- Peel the label off of the can. Fill a pot with enough water to cover the can, with about an inch between the top of the can and the water. Place the can in the water to check, then remove it and set it aside. Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat, then reduce to simmering over medium to medium-low heat and add in the can.
- Add in enough warm water to keep the water at the same level every 30 minutes or so (I did about ¾ cup of water every 30 minutes). Simmer the can for a minimum of 3 hours. After 3 hours, turn off of the heat and place the pot on a different, cool burner. Do NOT remove the can from the water immediately, as the temperature change may cause the can to explode. Allow the can to sit in the water for 30-45 minutes, then carefully, with tongs, remove the can to another surface and allow it to sit for another 20 minutes or so, until it is cool enough to touch.
- Use a can opener to open the can. Allow to cool a bit before spreading onto the cookies (or whatever else you would like to use it for).