Unique and addictive Mexican Burnt Milk Candy (Leche Quemada) perfect for edible gifts this season!
Not all my recipes have a back-story. Sometimes they are just things we come up with in our kitchen that we feel are worth sharing.
However, today’s recipe is connected to one of my very earliest food memories, and is therefore near and dear to my heart.
When I was a very little girl, my parents would sometimes take us to a family owned Mexican restaurant, after church on Sundays. We always looked forward to these Sunday lunches out. Growing up in a family with five kids, we didn’t eat out that often.
Honestly, I don’t remember what I ordered or even the quality of the food. What is permanently etched in my mind from these early family meals, is the candy the restaurant owners tucked in the bottom of the chip basket.
That’s right, under the tortilla chips (that were served before the meal with salsa) were little brown roughly cut pieces of heaven.
I never knew what they were called… These firm yet crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth, dark caramel squares, with a delightful slightly burnt flavor.
They weren’t fudge, exactly. The texture was too grainy (in a good way.)
They weren’t purely caramels, although they had a lovely caramel-like taste. They were too firm and crumbly to be caramels.
They weren’t quite pralines. Sometimes they had nuts, sometimes not.
They were entirely their own out of the ordinary thing.
For years, I looked for these candies in the bottom of other Mexican restaurant chip baskets, and I have yet to find them again. I also hunted around for a recipe, or at the very least, a name for these strangely alluring candies.
It wasn’t until I was an adult, and was traveling in Mexico, that I discovered they were a variety of Mexican Milk Fudge, called Mexican Burnt Milk Candy or Leche Quemada.
Now let me state immediately… There are many forms of Mexican Burnt Milk Candy out there, and they range vastly in look and texture.
This recipe is as close to my original Mexican Burnt Milk Candy memories as I could possibly make them.
They are hard to the touch, yet crumbly, and immediately melt on your tongue. They taste of dark dark gently burnt caramel, yet don’t leave a harsh aftertaste.
Mexican Burnt Milk Candy is wonderful. Truly wonderful. In fact, they bring a tear to my eye every time I taste them.
If you are looking for a unique treat to give as gifts to friends and family this year, my vote goes to Mexican Burnt Milk Candy!
Mexican Burnt Milk Candy (Leche Quemada)
- Line a 9 X 13 inch baking dish with foil or parchment paper. Spray well with nonstick cooking spray.
Place the sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, and salt in a large 6-8 quart sauce pot and set over medium-high heat. Secure a candy thermometer to the side of the pot. Stir well and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, lower the heat to medium-low. Stir continually until the candy thermometer reaches "soft ball" temperature, or 240 degrees F. It's ok if the bottom browns and little burnt sugar pieces are floating around the mixture. Just make sure to keep stirring!
- At 240 degrees F, remove from heat and immediately stir in the butter and vanilla extract. Once smooth, carefully pour the mixture into the prepared dish and allow the mixture to cool.
When the Mexican Burnt Milk Candy is firm, but still warm, cut into small squares. Do not wait to cut the candy when it's all the way cool. It becomes hard to cut.