|3 jars of homemade sweetened condensed milk!|
Lately I've been using a LOT more sweetened condensed milk than I used to. I've been using a can or two every week once I found the magical 2-ingredient no-churn ice cream recipe where you whip cream and stir in a can of sweetened condensed milk to make the seriously best homemade ice cream I've ever had, AND fell down the homemade popsicle hole.
Apparently a generous spoonful of sweetened condensed milk is the key to creamy-not-icy popsicles. Check out this super easy and addictive recipe for Key Lime Pie popsicles and you too will find yourself with a freezer full of delicious homemade popsicles before you know it.
I've been buying the rBST free (but not organic) sweetened condensed milk from Whole Foods which is $2.79 for a 14 oz can. If you buy a can once or twice a year, no problem. But I started to wonder, could I find a cheaper way to do this?
As it turns out sweetened condensed milk is STUPID EASY to make yourself.
All you do is pour milk and sugar into your crock pot and cook it down until it's thick. That's all!
I found multiple milk-to-sugar ratios and went with the lower sugar range and it tastes the same sweetness as the store bought sample we compared it to. My homemade version had a more caramel taste, I think because I used natural sugar instead of white granulated sugar. Mine was a little darker in color for the same reason.
Store bought rBST free can is $2.79 / 14 oz, or 0.19 per oz.
Homemade $1.74 milk (7 cups of a $1.99 half gallon) and 0.44 sugar (2 cups from a $1.99 9-cup bag) = $2.18 for a yield of 3 cups (24 oz), or 0.09 per oz.
In short the homemade version cost HALF the price of the store bought kind, and I just have to grab a jar out of my freezer when I need it!
Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk
7 cups whole milk
2 cups sugar
Pour 3 cups of water in your crock pot and mark that depth using a straw or chop stick (I used a reusable straw that has one of those rubber rings that keeps it from falling out of your insulated cup). Combine milk and sugar in your crock pot and set on high. Whisk once the mixture warms up to make sure the sugar is dissolved. Crack the lid so that the mixture can evaporate down.
Stir every once in a while, but don't scrap off the cooked milk from the sides since you want a smooth texture. Once it's evaporated enough so you have just 3 cups of liquid left you're done!
You can keep this in the fridge for 2 weeks or the freezer for 3 months.