Saturday, November 12, 2011

from sweetened condensed milk to the yummiest caramel....and a hostess gift idea.

are you going somewhere else this thanksgiving? do you need an inexpensive hostess gift? or maybe you'd like to give your child's teacher a yummy (and somewhat healthy) "thank" you gift.

how about caramel apples?
you provide the apples and we'll provide the simplest, yummiest caramel recipe (done in your crockpot).  those apples will be dipping in some serious goodness in no time.

  • 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk
  • apples (i got some cute little jazz apples from trader joe's)
  • basket (got mine at michaels for 40% off)
  • kraft paper
  • patterned paper
  • bag of crinkle paper
  • ribbon (i used the american crafts ribbon from michaels)
  • instruction tags (download HERE)
  • carefully peel the labels off your cans and trace onto your kraft paper. then cut your patterned papers the same length, the width is about 2 1/2". 
  • lightly ink the edges if you want. 
  • adhere the papers using glue dots or other adhesive. 
  • then add the ribbon around your can and around your basket. 
  • you can use a 2 1/2" circle punch or just cut out your tags, then adhere to the top of your can.   
  • fill your basket with the crinkle paper and place the apples on top.
caramel in a can
remove the paper label off your can of sweetened condensed milk.
line your crockpot with foil (to prevent a rust ring).
place your can (unopened) in the crockpot.
fill with water till just above the top of the can.
cover with crockpot lid.
cook on low for 6 hours (or overnight).
use tongs to place can in a cool water bath until comfortable to touch.
open can and enjoy!


  1. Seriously?! I'm going to go pop a can of sweetened condensed milk in the crockpot right now!

  2. WOW! That is amazing! I will have the kids make this for Thanksgiving with my nieces.

  3. Wow! Such a cute, EASY gift---love it! Adding sweetened condensed milk to my shopping list right now! How long does the caramel keep in the can?

  4. My 14 year old DS and I just put a can in the crock pot. He is sooo pumped! lol Thanks!

  5. Yum! I am going to look for some sweetened condensed milk now!

  6. so cool! Could I do more than one can at a time? My crock pot is 6 qts, and one can would be kinda lonely in there!

  7. What size cans did you use? How long will it keep (in the fridge, I'm assuming) after opening?

    I know a local restaurant makes a gooey caramel pie this way! It's topped with whipped cream and chocolate chips!

  8. Yes! You can put as many as you'd like!
    I've had my caramel in the fridge in a ziplock container for 2 weeks and it's still great!
    I'm not sure about keeping it in the can??

  9. Our little family makes this caramel from sweetened condensed milk every fall and we love it! We do ours on the stove though. The crockpot is a great idea. And I LOVE the idea of covering them and giving them as gifts. Classy as always!

  10. awesome idea- how fun - thanks for sharing.

  11. I grew up in Chile and this caramel is part of every day life. We call it manjar or dulce de leche.
    The best caramel ever, perfect for fillings, on toast, or by the spoonful! So glad you posted this.
    FYI, you can find cans of dulce de leche at walmart and some grocery stores in the hispanic section.

  12. I love this idea ... what a cute, fun gift to give!

  13. what??!!??!! Really. I'm going to have to try this to see. I love to give caramel and apples as a gift. I love to add some chopped peanuts as well.

  14. Thank you so much!!! I will be trying this out tomorrow :)

  15. Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in CBH Digital Scrapbooking Freebies, under the Page 4 post on Nov. 13, 2011. Thanks again.

  16. Has anyone tried more then one can at a time? One can is just not enough.

  17. you have got to be kidding! This seems so crazy and I SOOOOOOOOO want to do this!!!

    thanks for so many INCREDIBLE ideas!

  18. I don't even believe this works??? Really? Must try.l love you ladies. This is going to be a great gift, all will think I am brilliant : )

  19. Are you kidding me? I am trying this tonight. We love caramel, but not the work that goes into it. I am so excited! Thanks for sharing!!

  20. This is probably a silly question but, can you cook it in the Crock pot and then give it as a gift a few weeks later stille unopened or does it have to be cooked, cooled and then opened and refrigerated??

  21. I have the same question as long can you keep it in the can, unopened after you have cooked it?

  22. Yeah, do we cook the condensed milk that turns into caramel and then give it away, or are the instructions for them to cook?? If we cook it first, how long is it good for???

  23. Also wondering how long it stays good for.

  24. for the gift, you'll use cans that are uncooked. but, we wanted to share the recipe for you to try too since it is so easy and yummy. :)

    jodie has had her caramel in the fridge (in a ziploc container) for a couple weeks now and it's still good. i'm not positive how much longer it will last though.

  25. I can't be sure because I'm not sure where to find a trusted source on the matter, but I've heard of this as a potentially dangerous method of making caramel. According to the theory, sometimes imperfections in the metal of the can may cause the whole thing to explode, sending scalding condensed milk/caramel and bits of metal to go flying everywhere and potentially injure people. I'd be careful with this method, and it might be good to warn your readers about it if you can't confirm that it's safe...

  26. Wow! That is soooo cool! I'm dying to try this!

  27. I made this a couple weeks ago and never got around to eating it. I just left it in my cupboard (since the can was sealed) and opened it up today (at least 3 weeks later) and it was perfectly delicious and good. I put it in the fridge after I opened it, but it was fine not in the fridge until then. Obviously this is just my experience, but I am going to make a bunch of these and give them away as neighbor/friend gifts for christmas! Thanks for the great idea girls!

  28. p.s. maybe this was obvious, but I didn't store it in the fridge in the can, I put it in a ziploc container.

  29. i did this for neighbor gifts for christmas.
    they turned out so cute.
    thanks for all the awesome ideas!
    i blogged about it:
    and hope you don't mind that i linked to your post.

  30. My mother used to do this for us as kids 30 yrs ago and stick it in our Christmas stocking.

  31. My mother used to do this for us as kids 30 yrs ago and stick it in our Christmas stocking.

  32. I have to add an updated comment here. I just found a couple jars in my pantry from last year (they were already turned into carmel and have been stored in my pantry) and I opened them up and they are still totally delicious and yummy. I'd guess that the carmel lasts as long as the milk would have (but obviously I can't be sure).

    Just thought I'd add an update in case anyone else was wondering about shelf life. Mine was at least a year!

    1. Thanks for the shelf life info! I've been scouring the internet for an answer. And yay! It was the answer that I wanted.

  33. My dad use to make this on the stove when I was a kid.It took 4 hours and you had to keep the water level above the top of the can. With a crockpot that shouldn't be such a worry. This is the first time I will be trying it with the crockpot. Which is why I went looking on the internet to see if anyone else had done it that way before.

  34. FYI...I tried it in my mini crock pot just for kicks cause its perfect size for the can and it didn't work at all. So doing it again tomorrow using my large crock pot.