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Metro Recommends: Barker's dulce de leche milk caramel

So sweet, so good

Metro Recommends: Barker's dulce de leche milk caramel

Jan 10, 2020 Food

Metro Recommends is back for 2020, baby! This week: Barker’s dulce de leche.

We’ve all experienced that inner leap of joy which comes with discovering an unexpected tub of ice cream in the freezer after craving something sweet and finding it hidden under that pack of year-old frozen veggies. It’s a blessing in the form of a carton of creamy goodness. But when you want more than just plain old ice cream, Barker’s dulce de leche takes things to the next level.

The ingredients read ‘milk, sugar & glucose syrup’ – as you’ll know if you’ve read the tale of the discovery of dulce de leche. Supposedly, in the 1880s, an Argentinian maid forgot about her pot of boiling milk and sugar, upon return discovering she’d created a glorious caramel. Dulce de leche, Spanish for ‘sweet from milk’, is a traditional South American caramel. Across the Auckland food scene it’s used in donut fillings and dessert toppings and is usually something you’d enjoy when dining out and lucky enough to spy it on a menu.

When I spied Barker’s dulce de leche in the aisles of Countdown while searching for inspiration to enhance my nightly bowl of Tip Top, I was immediately intrigued by the possibility of being able to enjoy restaurant-level caramel at home. Barker’s version is thick and doesn’t come off your spoon easily – think along the lines of the texture of smooth peanut butter. A quick zap in the microwave will make the caramel immediately drizzle-able onto any bowl of ice cream.

I’d like to insert a reader safety warning, because this stuff is honestly addictive. I’ve found myself purchasing these jars twice a week, and no longer for the mere purposes of melting it down to drizzle onto other desserts. I’ve been eating it straight out of the jar, and I’m pretty sure my family has been too, although I just haven’t caught them yet.

I once attempted to make caramel and the pan I used almost had to be thrown away, saved only by a Goldilocks scourer and some admirable elbow grease. Consequently, if you’re looking for a way to spice up your dessert, or you’re just a straight-up sweet tooth, Barker’s dulce de leche is a delectable life hack. Just make sure you have self-control (unlike my family, who had to make a communal decision to only buy it once a month).


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In the Autumn 2024 issue of Metro we celebrate the best of Tāmaki Makaurau — 100 great things about life in Auckland, including our favourite florist, furniture store, cocktail, basketball court, tree, make-out spot, influencer, and psychic. The issue also includes the Metro Wine Awards, the battle over music technology company Serato, the end of The Pantograph Punch, the Billy Apple archives, a visit to Armenia, viral indie musician Lontalius, the state of fine dining, and the time we bombed West Auckland to kill a moth. Plus restaurants, movies, politics, astrology, and more.

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