Oh, my low-carb, non-sugar friends, you are going to love me. Love me! Because I have come up with a great new recipe for low carb sweetened condensed milk. Yes, yes, I know that there are many recipes out there for this very same thing, so why should I be wasting my time trying to reinvent the wheel? Well, many of the recipes I’ve come across heretofore contain strange things that I simply don’t want in my condensed milk. Acesulfame K? If that ain’t a scary sweetener, I don’t know what is (apologies to those who use it, but yeah…scary). Polydextrose? That kind of wigs me out too. Egg yolks? Okay, I can see how those would help thicken it, but then it’s not really great for baking the sort of things I want to bake with it. So reinvent the wheel it is.
All I really did here was look up how to make the sugary kind of homemade condensed milk, and then experiment a little. Obviously, I would be replacing the sugar with other sweeteners, like Swerve and maybe a little stevia. To get it thicker from the get-go, I went with a combination of milk and heavy cream. And then I added a great deal of time and patience, as the best recipe I found, here at Just As Delish, indicated that it would take up to 2 hours to simmer down. Since I only did a half recipe, mine took about an hour and a half. Frequent stirring, about every 10 minutes, is necessary. I did find that when I added my pat of butter, it didn’t whisk in well and I got on oily layer on top. So a teeny, tiny, peeny bit of xanthan gum (1/8 tsp) corrected that and helped thicken it all up. As I poured the results out into a jar, I was delighted to find that it looked, smelled and tasted exactly like real sweetened condensed milk. And it IS real sweetened condensed milk…it’s just not sweetened with sugar.
The impetus behind this was a request for a traditional flan (I am getting there, I promise. In the next two weeks, I swear!). Flan traditionally takes sweetened condensed milk and I needed a good substitute. But after I made this delicious, lick-the-pan-clean stuff, I found that I really wanted to try it out in one of my all-time favourite goodies. I virtually itched to take a stab at low carb magic cookie bars (when I was growing up, my father referred to these as Hello Dollies). And even though I had a ton to do that day, I dropped everything and cranked it out. Easy peasy…almond flour crust, some chopped walnuts, flaked coconut and a 90% cacao bar all chopped up. Top it off with the deliciousness of sweetened condensed milk and bake.
And these lived up to my every expectation. They smelled just like magic cookie bars when baking, they looked just like magic cookie bars when being cut up, and they tasted just like magic cookie bars when eaten. Perhaps the only difference? They weren’t quite as sweet, and you could actually taste the various layers of ingredients.
I have big plans for this low carb sweetened condensed milk, my friends. Big plans. It opens up a whole new world of baked goods and treats for me. Just you wait…
Magic Cookie Bars
- 1 3/4 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup Swerve Sweetener or granulated erythritol
- 2 tbsp oat flour OR 1 tbsp coconut flour
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1 3.5 oz bar high % cacao chocolate (I use 90%), chopped
- 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
- 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- 1 recipe low carb sweetened condensed milk (recipe below)
- Preheat oven to 325F.
- For the crust, whisk together almond flour, erythritol and oat flour in the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan. Add melted butter and mix in until mixture begins to clump together. Press firmly and evenly into the bottom of the pan.
- Bake crust for 10 minutes, or until just beginning to brown around the edges. Remove and let cool.
- Increase oven temperature to 350F.
- Sprinkle cooled crust with chopped chocolate, coconut and nuts. Pour sweetened condensed milk over top and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until mixture is bubbly and beginning to brown.
- Let cool in pan and cut into 24 bars.
Serves 24. Each serving has 5.1 g of carbs and 1.9 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 3.2 g.
Low Carb Sweetened Condensed Milk
- In a medium heavy saucepan, combine cream, milk and erythritol over medium heat.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours, stirring frequently, until mixture is reduce by half. (No matter how often you stir, thick bits of milk will form on the sides. Leave it there, and try not to disturb it when stirring, or you will get chunky bits in your condensed milk).
- Add butter and let melt, then briskly whisk in xanthan gum. Let mixture cool to room temperature and stir in vanilla and stevia extracts.
Serves 8. Each serving has 2 g carbs.