I make a lot of desserts and cookies but I usually shy away from a recipe that calls for sweetened condensed milk.
But now I’m on a mission to find a recipe for a non-dairy version of sweetened condensed milk so that I can make coconut macaroons this week.
Why non-dairy? I’m re-making many of our favorite cookies and desserts to be a little more healthy. If I can use an alternative non-dairy milk and an alternative sugar substitution I’m going for it.
I found many recipes for homemade sweetened condensed milk and I sifted through them until I found one that ‘called out to me’.
The homemade coconut milk recipe I finally settled on noted that it can be used as a substitute for sweetened condensed milk, “check!”.
It noted that it was a “no cook” recipe, “check!” – I didn’t want a recipe that needed to cook for hours since I wanted to be able to use the milk the same afternoon; and it was dairy-free “check!”.
I used and adapted this Dairy Free Condensed Milk from www.wholenewmom.com. If you are interested in foods and recipes for special dietary needs Whole New Mom has great information and terrific recipes.
No cook sweetened condensed milk sounded like ‘a stretch’, you know ‘too good to be true’, but I was ready to give it a try. Hey, you never know!!!
- ¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut (I used Bob's Red Mill)
- Enough water to make 1½ cups liquid
- ¼ cup honey
- ½ tsp. vanilla bean (or vanilla extract)
- pinch of salt
- Grind the coconut in a blender or spice grinder - to get as fine as possible. If you use a spice grinder do ¼ cup at a time.
- Add the finely ground coconut to a high speed blender and add about ¾ cups of the water. Blend well for about 1 minute.
- Add in the honey, vanilla, salt and a little more water and continue to blend until well combined.
O.K., so my kitchen antics are ‘Lucy & Ethel’ legendary (lovely daughter can vouch for me). I won’t go into details, but here is my Safety TIP: Never try to remove the blender container from the base while the motor is running (and while grampy is watching). No smoothies this week until I get a new container.
I didn’t use the coffee/spice grinder so the coconut milk was not as smooth as it might have been had I used the grinder, but that was o.k. Since my goal was to make coconut macaroons I thought it would not make a difference if the milk was not smooth — macaroons are laden with coconut flakes.
Now the resulting coconut milk was not really very thick so I then decided I would cook it on a very low simmer for 40 minutes, stirring it occasionally so that it wouldn’t stick and burn. It definitely thickened up though it was not as thick as the regular dairy sweetened condensed milk but I continued on.
I poured the hot milk into a measuring cup and set it in an ice bath to cool it quickly. I kept stirring it every 6 or 7 minutes and it took about 20 minutes to cool. It was ready to use in a recipe or you could pour it into a covered container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
Here is the Coconut Macaroon recipe.