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Why It’s Worth It to Make Your Own Condensed Milk

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This month, our Baking Club members are working their way through Stella Parks’ BraveTart, and are making homemade versions of everything from classic store-bought treats to ingredients like sweetened condensed milk.

Recipes generally call for one-can's worth at a time, and those cans are easy enough to pick up and store for when the need arises, so why should you bother with making your own? Namely, better flavor and personal control. Stella Parks explains:

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Making sweetened condensed milk at home means subjecting it to a far less heat-intensive process than commercially canned milk, which helps preserve a fresher dairy flavor. DIY also means you can infuse the milk with aromatics, and better control the sugar content, so the end result can be dramatically different from a canned equivalent (like using toasted sugar and chai spices, or a vanilla bean, etc).

Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk
Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk

Between the ability to tweak and control the flavor, and fact that Parks' homemade condensed milk recipe is a relatively quick one, it's definitely worth the effort. Members like Sandra Blau have been raving about the results:

Oh me, oh my, Stella Parks, this is insane—you are a genius. I tasted it when it was cool enough and I could eat/drink the whole jar! Saving it for Key Lime Pie, a favorite in our house. I didn't think it would actually, well, CONDENSE, but it sure did! Amazing, too, that I was able to use skim milk.

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Whether or not you've joined the Baking Club yet, we don't want you missing out on boosting your baked goods with homemade sweetened condensed milk. Try making the DIY version pictured above or Stella Parks’ recipe from BraveTart and then put it to use in one (or more!) of these 17 recipes:

Irish Cream
Irish Cream
Coconut Tres Leches

Coconut Tres Leches by aargersi

Julia Turshen's Angel Food Bread Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce

Julia Turshen's Angel Food Bread Pudding with Butterscotc... by Julia Turshen

Fudgy Condensed Milk Cookies

Fudgy Condensed Milk Cookies by Posie Harwood

Danielle Kartes' Coconut Custard Macaroons

Danielle Kartes' Coconut Custard Macaroons by Genius Recipes

Arroz con Leche Nuevo Mexicano
Arroz con Leche Nuevo Mexicano
Pumpkin Flan

Pumpkin Flan by aargersi

Coffee Pudding

Coffee Pudding by Kendra Vaculin

Extra Dark Cocoa

Extra Dark Cocoa by Erin McDowell

Magic Cookie Bars

Magic Cookie Bars by Posie Harwood

Brigadeiro (The Favorite Brazilian Sweet)

Brigadeiro (The Favorite Brazilian Sweet) by My Sweet Brigadeiro

Anthony Myint's French Toast Crunch

Anthony Myint's French Toast Crunch by Genius Recipes

Grapefruit Tart
Grapefruit Tart
Key Lime Meringue Pie

Key Lime Meringue Pie by Posie Harwood

Vietnamese Coffee Cake

Vietnamese Coffee Cake by Laura Biscaro

Darjeeling Tea Pain Perdu with Condensed Milk Butter

Darjeeling Tea Pain Perdu with Condensed Milk Butter by Aliwaks

Banoffee Pie

Banoffee Pie by Food52

See what's ahead for the Baking Club this fall (and beyond) here, and get in on the action by joining us on Facebook.

Tags: cookbook club, baking club