How to Make Authentic Mexican Hard Milk Candy


Authentic Mexican hard milk candy is called leche quemada, which means "burned milk." It is also known as dulce de leche, "milk candy." In Peru, the same candy is called manjar blanco. Making it takes a lot of patience because you have to pay attention to it while it cooks for more than an hour, and you have to stir it frequently. If you don't allow the mixture to cool, you can use it like hot fudge, pouring it over cake or ice cream. After it cools, though, it remains the consistency of fudge. This recipe makes 24 pieces of authentic Mexican hard milk candy.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 qt. milk 2 cups granulated sugar 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar 1 tsp. real vanilla 1/2 cup grated coconut (optional) Heavy 4-qt. saucepan Wooden spoon Candy thermometer Wax paper Square cake pan
  • Combine 1 qt. of milk with 2 cups of granulated sugar in a heavy saucepan. Add the cream of tartar. Place this over low heat. Stir constantly until the sugar is totally dissolved.

  • Allow the mixture to cook for 1 hour over low heat. Stir occasionally until it begins to thicken. Then stir constantly until the mixture reaches 234 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer. If you do not have a candy thermometer, drizzle a small amount of the hot syrup into a glass of very cold water. If the syrup forms a soft ball, it is the right temperature. Remove it from the heat.

  • Add 1 tsp. of real vanilla. Stir to make it combine with the rest of the ingredients. The mixture should be a light brown caramel color. Fold in a 1/2 cup of coconut if you like it. You could substitute the same amount of any variety of ground-up nuts. The Mexican hard milk candy will be delicious without anything other than the vanilla added.

  • Pour the mixture into a square cake pan that is lined with a piece of wax or parchment paper. Allow the Mexican hard milk candy to cool before cutting it into 24 even square pieces.

Tips & Warnings

  • An easy way to make this is to place an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk into a saucepan filled with water. Keep refilling the water as it evaporates, keeping the entire can submerged in boiling water for three hours. Open the can and the contents will be the equivalent of Mexican hard milk candy; it will be the consistency of hot fudge. Pour it over cakes or ice cream.

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