dulce de leche?
I've seen it where folks take a can of condensed milk and boil it (suspended off the bottom of the pot to keep from scorching) for like an hour. Let it cool and open to find a thick, caramelized dulce de leche. Tried it myself, it actually worked! Definitely keep it off the bottom of the pot (e.g. put a steamer basket or something in there).
It actually tastes pretty good, and can't be beat for ease.
re: Mr. Eli
I was taught by a Mexican friend to put a can of sweetened condensed milk (unopened) in a saucepan a third full of water, bring to a boil, then simmer for a couple hours (don't let the water boil down or you'll wreck the pot). I do this in an enamelled sauce pan; I'm not sure I'd do it in something more reactive, like an alluminum alloy.
My version of this is that you have to keep the water level *above* the top of the can of sweetened milk. If the water level goes below the top of the can, I was told, the can may explode. Don't know if that's true or not, since I've always kept the water level high enough. Anyway: I boil it for two to three hours, which produces a nutty-tasting caramelization.
Very good dulce de leche from Argentina at Bay Cities in Santa Monica....the mexican version is called "cajeta", but as a chilean, have to say, none compares to ours! the easiest is simmering the Nestles sweetened condensed milk in water for about two hrs. Let it cool a bit before opening. Or go to "El Rincon Chileno" restaurant and try their wonderful pastries made with "manjar blanco".
And to avoid the danger aspect completely.
According to Fine Cooking:
-Pour a 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk into a 9-inch Pyrez pie plate.
Place in a rimmed baking sheet or 13x9 baking pan or roaster, and fill with water up to about half of the height of the pie plate.
Cover the pie plate with foil.
Bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for 90 minutes (no longer or it will start to congeal). Stir.
This makes a carmelly-sauce type product that I serve on ice cream. Too yummy.