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This is my recipe for Café du Leche Snicker doodles.
I got onto the Dulce de Leche bandwagon a little late but I'm catching up for lost time.  There are variations of how Dulce de Leche is made, here I’m focusing on the home style method where a can of condensed sweetened milk is boiled for a period of time until carmelization and the Maillard reaction has occurred in the can.  The resulting life changing caramel is then stuffed into Snicker Doodle dough and rolled in a sugar/espresso mixture where upon hitting the oven it develops a candy crust.  You have to try this recipe, aside from long cooking time of the Dulce de Leche you can whip this recipe up and have a tray of them cooking in the oven in under 15 minutes.  You could always cheat and buy a commercially made bottle of Dulce de Leche if low on time.  The classic Snicker Doodle is rolled in a cinnamon sugar mix that also tastes good with this recipe, but the espresso really ramps up the flavours.  If you have little ones who may not be keen on the caffeine jolt, roll a couple in cinnamon sugar for them.

Please make sure to vote for me if you like this recipe, or at least rank me or leave a comment.  This lets me know how I'm doing, Thanks, Iminthebathroom

Step 1: Ingredients

Stuff you need
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup salted butter, yes SALTED
  • Seeds from 1 split vanilla bean
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar, plus more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon of super finely ground espresso, plus more if needed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 can of prepared Dulce de Leche, recipe to follow
  • Parchment paper or a silpad
  • Cookie sheet
  • Mixing bowls, whisk or electric beater and other kitchen stuff like an oven preheated to 400 degrees

Step 2: Dulce De Leche

Making the Dulce de Leche is simple, yet carries some dangers.  If the pot is allowed to boil dry, the can could rupture sending hot caramel flying ever where, which in itself sounds like fun until it hits your skin!  Plus there could be can shrapnel- yowsa.  So follow the recipe carefully, if you have to pop out for a minute just kill the heat on the stove, when you get back turn the heat back on.  No big deal, it will turn out just fine even if you have to leave for 24 hours, I know...

So ideally you want to prepare this in your biggest tallest pot you have.  That way you are minimizing having to get up, trudge all the way over to the kitchen, drawn some water "how tedious" and top your pot.  I used an asparagus cooker, just a tall pot with a removable strainer.  You don't really need the strainer, but I invert it and throw it over top of the can while its cooking.  It gives a false sens of security that should I let the pot boil dry it will contain the sugary blast.  Anyway, lets go over the procedure.
  1. Plunk your can in the bottom of the pot
  2. Fill with water till about 2 inches from the top
  3. Put it on the stove to boil - Maximum heat
  4. As soon as it begins to boil, drop the heat to about 3 or just above simmer - Basically almost as low as the temperature on your stove allows
  5. Find something to do for 14 hours! somewhere in the house.  Check it every couple of hours just to be safe, if its getting low on water just top it up with hot water from the tap.  I had to top up my pot once but this depends on the size of pot used.

Toss it in the fridge to use the next day, you should let it cool till its at least only warm feeling in your hand.  In theory if you open it while its hot it could burst a little - but, I have never tested this and neither should you!

Step 3: Prep the Vanilla

Now if you have some good quality vanilla feel free to add a teaspoon of that instead.  But, every addition of moisture will change the texture ever so slightly that I just use vanilla bean seeds instead.  Its simple and the flavour produced is Oh-So good!
  1. Take your vanilla bean and slice it down the middle.  It is hollow, or rather stuffed with seeds.  Try to only slice through the top layer, if you go through both its not big deal.
  2. Hold one end of the bean in your fingertips, and press the knife into the bean like in the pictures below.  Your not wanting to cut the bean, just kinda splay it open with the knife edge.
  3. Now scrap the blade up the length of the bean, the pressure will cause the vanilla seeds to squeeze out and be collected on the knife in a pasty mass.
Keep the left over vanilla seed pod and throw it in a large jar of sugar for a week or more.  Your sugar can then be used in other recipes calling for vanilla.  It will have a lovely vanilla perfume to it

Step 4: Cream

Cream it up!
  1. Plunk your softened butter in a large bowl and add your vanilla pulp.
  2. Beat with a whisk until it goes a couple shades lighter like lemony cream - see all the super tiny vanilla seeds peppering your butter
  3. Add 1 1/2 cups of white sugar and beat again for a couple minutes, it will get even creamier!

Step 5: Beat

Time to get mid-evil and start beating
  1. Add 1 egg to your creamed mixture and beat it in for a minute, stop when it no longer looks very glossy
  2. Add your other egg and do the same

Step 6: Dance Interlude!

You have been working so hard up until this point, take a break and dance about in the kitchen in celebration you've made it this far.  Soon your kitchen will be smellin' o-so-fine!

Step 7: Mix

Hey wheres the cream of tartar?  Cream of tartar is one of those odd ingredients I can never seem to fine.  I buy a small box, use it once and it magically disappears.  Anyway, I luckily have family members who had some.  Since they were coming over for a little Kinects Dance Central that night they were kind enough to bring some!

So here's what to do next
  1. Sift together flour, cream of tartar and baking soda.  No sifter? Run the ingredients dry in a mixer or do the ultimate cheat, just grab a wire whisk and run it through the powders to lift and fluff the mix.  It’s not the 1940’s anymore, lumpy flour isn’t so much of an issue these days.
  2. Add your dry ingredients to the moist ingredients and mix it all together by hand or with an electric mixer for a minute or two until well combined

Step 8: Roll

Go get your can of Dulce de Leche and open it up, have a spoonfull while nobodys looking! and get ready to form the cookies
  1. Scoop up a ball full of dough a little smaller then a ping pong ball
  2. Cut it in half and make a depression in each half, or simple press your thumb into the ball making a hole.  This is my preferred method
  3. Put a spoonful, about a heaping teaspoon into the hole, and close it up, roll it till its sealed in your hand.
  4. Set on your cookie sheet and roll them all up.
  5. If your going to leave them at this point make sure to cover them with a barely damp towel so they don't dry out.  Otherwise your sugar won't stick in the next step

Step 9: Dip

Now its time to mix up the dip mixture. If you haven't done so all ready - preheat your oven to 400 degrees with the racks set in the middle.  The dip mixture can vary depending on what intensity you like.

Dip Mixture:
  •     Add 1 tablespoon of super finely ground espresso to about 1/4 cup of sugar, this will give you a nice coffee scented coating that hits your nose before you even bite it.
  •     For insane coffee flavour, though its a bit bitter add a tablespoon of instant coffee to the sugar instead - I warn you though this is only for those who like intense 6 hour old coffee!
  •     For kids, just add a tablespoon of cinnamon to the sugar, or, skip the cinnamon and use sugar with some vanilla seeds added to it, the vanilla bean containers are usually packed 2 to a container anyway, so why not
  •     Other variations I have tried include adding lemon and or orange zest - quite interesting
  •     Lastly for those who like a slightly burnt sugar flavour, "its better then it sounds"  Before rolling the snicker doodles in the sugar, dip it in water briefly.  This will cause the cookie to pick up a larger amount of sugar crystals which will turn into a thick candy coating.  Its quite good and works with any of the above mixes just you have to be vigilante abut leaving them in the oven for no more then 10 minutes.
Roll your prepared balls in your sugar mixture of choice.  If your going for the last option be aware it will have a slightly burnt sugar flavour - not for everyone.

Lay the balls on your parchment or silpad lined cookie sheet with about 2 inches between balls.  I always put too many on the sheet, sigh, why do I never learn...

Step 10: Bake

Pop them into your pre-heated oven at 400 degrees on the middle rack. 
  • If your using the water dipped variation set your racks a little higher to minimize burning sugar.
Set the timer for 10 minutes and take out of the oven promptly.  They won't really brown so just looking at them isn't really a good indication.
Let them cool for 5 minutes to set, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool a bit.
Best served warm with copious quantities of milk
  • You will probably have left over Dulce de Leche.  Save it in the fridge for future cookies or smear it on buttery toast for a wake up call in the morning!
Store in a air tight container for up to a week, putting baked goods like this in the fridge will kill the flavour, so instead share them and make more as required

Step 11: Nom Nom Nom

what are you waiting for bake some up and get eating! nom nom nom nom slurp nom nom
I made the first step, Dolche de Leche, with amazing results! I cooked mine overnight, using a method that I had seen some time ago but couldn't find again, so using your direction I experimented! I used the kettle to boil water, placed the can of milk in the crock pot, 2 qt size, and filled the pot until it was near the top. I figured if the point was to simmer why not use a product designed to do just that?! <br>12 ~ish hours resulted in an awesome product but way thicker than I had hoped, perhaps I will only cook it for half that time next time so it is thin enough to be used in a squeeze bottle; for making salted caramel lattes! <br> <br>Thanks again. The Snickerdoodles look amazing but thanks to an egg allergy in our house, I don't get to make desert items with eggs. God, I miss cheese cake!
Awesome, yeah if you cook it that long it thickens like crazy, still tastes greta though
These sound amazing! I'm going to surprise my husband, the wannabe King of Snickerdoodles with this variation. Question - above, you say 14 hours. On the first page you say 4 and that 12 is too long. I'm guessing the one snuck in there while you were having a cookie, but wanted to check since I've never done this before.
i'll have to re-read my instructable, but 12-14 hours for a thick enough caramel that you can you spoon is ideal! 6-8 hours i find isn't long enough, it will be more tan colour and too runny. Comment by katydid1 below does list some quicker methods, but as your not really doing much to make the caramel, I'll stick with the boiling method. They are very tasty, the other day we made them with some caramelized apple thrown into the filling, yowsa!
Also, if you are really worried about that shrapnel thing, the people who make the original famous sweetened condensed milk have the following recommendations:<br>CARAMELIZATION METHODS<br>OVEN METHOD: Pour 1 can sweetened condensed milk into 9-inch pie plate. Cover with aluminum foil; place in larger shallow pan. Fill larger pan with hot water. Bake at 425&deg;F for 1 1/2 hours or until thick and caramel-colored. Beat until smooth.<br>STOVETOP METHOD: Pour 1 can sweetened condensed milk, into top of double boiler; place over boiling water. Over low heat, simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until thick and caramel-colored. Beat until smooth.<br>MICROWAVE METHOD: Pour 1 can sweetened condensed milk into 2-quart glass measure. Cook on 50% power (medium) 4 minutes, stirring briskly every 2 minutes until smooth. Cook on 30% power (medium-low) 12 to 18 minutes or until very thick and caramel-colored, stirring briskly every 2 minutes until smooth.<br>CAUTION: NEVER HEAT UNOPENED CAN.
To be honest, I'm really worried, but others may be. Looking into the history of this sort of thing actually happening seems to be more myth best. Of course heating any can for any duration of time will cause it to burst. Explode? not really. Here is one excerpt Here is the science, chemistry, physics of boil in a can:<br><br>The condensed sweetened milk boils at much higher temperature than plain water, because of all the dissolved sugar and milk solids. So the pressure inside the can even if you boil it hard will be less than atmospheric pressure. Therefore the can will no way burst or even swell.<br><br>If you let the water boil away and the can is heated on the fire, of course eventually it will explode; you don&rsquo;t want to do that!<br><br>The myth that the can explodes and the alleged need to open the can and heat it in a pan or whatever was probably created by lawyers working for condensed milk companies. Have no fear.<br><br>This topic has been discussed much elsewhere, and I have made the stuff often. I like to boil it about 4 hours to get a thick and fully flavored product. One test showed 12 hours is just too much.<br><br>You can also make this by adding some baking soda, which makes the Malliard reaction go quicker. Some say using fresh milk, sugar and baking soda makes a better product. I say plain old condensed milk boiled in the can is inexpensive, easy, and tasty!
Was it Ben Franklin or Shakespeare who said, &quot;First thing we do is kill all the lawyers.&quot;?<br>
You cook like I do, sneaking a bite of the caramel, putting too many on the sheet, etc. It's nice to read a recipe by a kindred spirit.
The cookies look fantastic, but I'm mostly here for the dance interlude. :D
Thanks, whats an instructable without a good dance off in the middle!
So delicious! I have to try these cookies!
They are, so much so my wife had a couple for breakfast this morning! First words were, are there any more of those cookies from last night?<br>

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