Sweetened Condensed Milk Is The Ingredient Your Cookies Deserve

Thick, chewy chocolate chip cookies
Thick, chewy chocolate chip cookies - Boblin/Getty Images

Plain white sugar is great for baked goods — it's sweet, affordable, and easy to measure — but sometimes you want to take a traditional chocolate chip cookie and give it a little boost. To add sophistication and depth of flavor to almost any cookie that contains milk and sugar, look no further than the can of sweetened condensed milk in your pantry. Not only is sweetened condensed milk creamier than regular milk, but its condensed sweetness comes with notes of caramel and toffee that will be brought out even more in the oven. As an added bonus, cookies made with sweetened condensed milk will have a more luxuriant texture than those made with milk and sugar. Instead of being crunchy, they will be soft and malleable.

In addition to chocolate chip cookies, sweetened condensed milk can enrich several kinds of cookies, including coconut macaroons, snowballs, and even sugar cookies (however, sugar cookies will still require some white sugar). And sweetened condensed milk is also perfect for so-called "preacher cookies," such as coconut praline no-bake cookies, which aren't baked at all.

Read more: Cake Hacks Every Baker Will Wish They Knew Sooner

What Is Sweetened Condensed Milk?

Condensed milk dripping off spoon
Condensed milk dripping off spoon - Vlad Antonov/Getty Images

Sweetened condensed milk — which is sometimes referred to simply as condensed milk — isn't as complicated as it might sound. Or tastes. With its rich and multi-dimensional flavor profile, it is easy to think that sweetened condensed milk has many more ingredients than it does. But the thick, gooey concoction is actually pretty basic: Sweetened condensed milk is made from milk that has been sweetened with a lot of sugar and condensed down to a luxurious syrup. As much as 60% of the water in milk is evaporated through heating, and the final product is up to 45% sugar, which is why sweetened condensed milk is so thick.

If you're wondering if sweetened condensed milk can be made at home, the answer is yes, and it only takes four or five ingredients: milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Making your own also gives you the option of switching out dairy milk for plant-based milk, or sugar for other sweeteners such as syrup or honey. You can also add cinnamon, butter, or other flavors you might like to try.

Homemade sweetened condensed milk can be stored in the refrigerator for approximately one month; and for three months in the freezer. Be advised that because of its high sugar content, it won't freeze solid. Cookies made with sweetened condensed milk can be kept on the counter; they will stay fresh for about a week — if they last that long.

Will Evaporated Milk Work The Same?

Pitcher of evaporated milk
Pitcher of evaporated milk - Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock

Sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk are not the same thing, but they do have things in common. Both are made by removing more than half of the water content through evaporation. But although sweetened condensed milk is chock-full of sugar, evaporated milk doesn't have any additional sweeteners in it.

You can't use sweetened condensed milk as a replacement for evaporated milk because of the added sugar. But evaporated milk can be used if you don't have the sugar-sweetened version on hand. You just have to convert regular evaporated milk into sweetened by adding sugar and heating the mixture heating sugar until all of the sugar dissolves. Recommendations vary on the sugar-milk ratios, but many recipes suggest using 1 ½ cups of sugar per 12-ounce can of evaporated milk.Whether homemade or store-bought, sweetened condensed milk is a baking staple. It's used in everything from fudge to cheesecake to pies and cakes and so much more. Condensed milk makes excellent ice cream and is an integral part of tres leches cake. And if you've never used sweetened condensed milk in your coffee then it's about time you gave it a try. But first, give it a whirl with your next batch of cookies.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.