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So “keto dulce de leche” might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re looking for a tasty recipe to make, but for some reason I had a pretty serious hankering for some low carb caramel-type treat the other day. I was completely aware that finding a sugar-free, dairy-free caramel that actually tastes good is probably not going to happen and that I would have to make my own if I wanted to make any keto caramel treats. So, after some internet recipe research and six actual attempts with different amounts of ingredients, this keto coconut dulce de leche was born.
Right off the bat, I’ll point out that this is a really quick recipe in comparison to traditional dulce de leche, which is cooked down for a few hours. It’s also a little lighter than traditional recipes, as sugar alcohols don’t really brown. What I love about this quick dairy-free keto caramel is that it only took about 15 minutes to whip up, and didn’t require too much sweetener.
I’ve been putting this on keto nice cream for about a week now, as well as eating it straight out of the jar, along with some peanut butter. I think that might be the winner: spoon + keto caramel + peanut butter = happiness.
Like every recipe on this blog, this low-carb coconut caramel sauce is gluten-free – I don’t know where the gluten would come from, but I’m sure I could find a caramel that contains some sort of wheat out there. It’s also dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, nut-free and totally vegan.
Notes on Keto Coconut Dulce de Leche (sugar-free, dairy-free, vegan)
- I used full-fat canned coconut milk for this recipe, and it really needs the fat from that to become caramel. I haven’t tried it with other non-dairy kinds of milk, though. As I do experiments, I will update this post.
- The granulated sweetener I used is the Lakanto Golden Monkfruit sweetener – it contains erythritol, and sugar alcohols are an important structural feature of this keto caramel sauce. If you are using a granulated sweetener that doesn’t contain erythritol, I can’t guarantee that this will turn out. However, if you are brave and try this – I’d love to hear about it!
- Swerve sweeteners will also work, but I prefer to use Lakanto. It’s the brand I’ve found that works best for baking, and doesn’t upset my stomach. You can save 15% if you shop on their site using the code MeatFreeKeto.
- This caramel will harden up a bit in the fridge – to soften it to drizzle over ice cream or other treats, I put the sealed jar in a hot water bath for about 15 minutes, and that did the trick.
- The trick to getting this right is removing the caramel from the heat, as soon as the “cloudiness” (for lack of a better description) disappears. Basically, there will be this almost foam-like stuff that pops up to the top of the caramel as it cooks. This is totally normal and as you stir, it will dissipate. Once this foam is gone, the dulce de leche is done and should be removed from the burner.
- Overcooking this basically just means that it will crystallize once it cools. It’s still tasty, though. You can also take this crystallized caramel and reheat it with a second can of coconut milk and make a somewhat thinner sauce by following the same directions. So, if it’s overcooked, all is not lost!
Keto Coconut Dulce de Leche (sugar-free, dairy-free, vegan)
- 2 cans full fat coconut milk (13.5oz/400ml each)
- ¼ cup, plus 1 tablespoon golden granulated sweetener (60g)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- In a large saucepan on medium-high heat, stir ingredients together. Heat for about five minutes, whisking occasionally, until the mixture begins to boil.
- Turn the heat down to medium, and continue whisking frequently. Be sure to whisk away the “foam” that appears. Once this foam is completely gone (about 13-14 minutes), cook for another minute, whisking constantly. This will bring the cooking time to about 20 minutes total.
- The dulce de leche will have thickened to a caramel-like consistency and will be a medium golden color.
- Let cool for about ten minutes before either using or transferring to a heat-safe jar and continuing to cool, uncovered, in the fridge. Once cool, cover and store.
- To store: Refrigerate in a sealed jar for up to two weeks.
- To reheat: Scoop the caramel into a small saucepan on low heat and gently heat for about five minutes, whisking occasionally, until the caramel becomes smooth and pourable.