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I thought I’d share this recipe for Dulce de Leche Brownies from The Sweet Life in Paris because I had several jars of what the French call Confiture de lait in my refrigerator from another project. Since I happened to love the combination of caramelized milk and dark chocolate, I thought – Why not combine the two in brownies?

You can buy confiture de lait or dulce de leche, although it’s pretty easy to make at home. I use my Dulce de Leche recipe but there’s no shame in store-bought. Cajeta is a cousin of dulce de leche often made with goat milk, which I love as well, although the shop where I used to get it in Paris has closed. The upside is that sweetened condensed milk is easy to get in any French supermarket and it’s even sold in toothpaste-like tubes as a common way to consume it is to stick the tube in your mouth, and give it a good squeeze. When no one else is looking, of course.

One thing that’s great about a blog is that you can update recipes as you make them over the years, which I’m doing with this one. I changed this one by shortening the baking time, so the brownies are denser, and although I tell you not to overswirl the dulce de leche, it’s so much fun that sometimes I can’t stop myself from giving it a few more goes with the knife. If you have more willpower than I do, you’ll get bigger pockets of dulce de leche if you swirl it as little as possible in step #4 before adding the second layer of brownie batter. Or if you want even bigger pockets of dulce de leche, don’t swirl it at all.

Another thing I have trouble with is I can’t stop eating these brownies. It starts when I take them out of the pan and trim the edges. Those are especially delicious. But then I start going deeper, cutting more slices, then squares, until I have to put the brakes on things. That I do (which isn’t necessarily successful) by freezing the brownies, but once I discovered that they are equally tasty frozen, I’ve been known the spend the better part of the afternoon slicing pieces off with a sharp chef’s knife, and savoring them icy-cold.

But I’m not here to tell you how to eat brownies. I think most of you already know how to do that. There truly are some of my favorites and I’m just wild about them, and wanted to spread (and swirl) the word, again.

Dulce de Leche Brownie recipe

Adapted from The Sweet Life in Paris You can buy dulce de leche in well-stocked supermarkets, as well as stores that carry multicultural foods. You can also make it yourself using my Dulce de Leche recipe here.
Servings 12 brownies
  • 8 tablespoons (115g) salted or unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 6 ounces (170g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (25g) unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-process
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (140g) flour
  • optional: 1 cup (100g) toasted pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup (260g) Dulce de leche
  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF degrees (175 C.)
  • Line an 8-inch (20 cm) square pan with a long sheet of aluminum foil that covers the bottom and reaches up the sides. If it doesn’t reach all the way up and over all four sides, cross another sheet of foil over it, making a large cross with edges that overhang the sides. Grease the bottom and sides of the foil with some softened butter or non-stick spray.
  • Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the chocolate and stir constantly over very low heat until the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the sugar, vanilla, then the flour. Mix in the nuts, if using.
  • Scrape half of the batter into the prepared pan. Drop one-third of the dulce de leche by scant tablespoons evenly spaced over the brownie batter. Either drag a butter knife through the dulce de leche mounds to swirl them very slightly, being careful not to overdo it, or leave the mounds as they are. Spread the remaining brownie batter over, then drop spoonfuls of the remaining dulce de Leche in dollops over the top of the brownie batter. Use a knife to swirl the dulce de Leche slightly.
  • Bake until the center feels just-slightly firm, but still jiggly, about 30 minutes, but check them at the 25-minute mark as different chocolates behave differently and with these brownies, as with most brownies, you want to catch them before they become overbaked. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Once cool, lift the brownies out of the pan by grabbing the edges of the foil to remove them from the pan.


Storage: These brownies will keep well for up to 3 days at room temperature. They can be frozen for up to three months

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    • Jess

    growing up cuban, it seems we always either had cans of condensed milk boiling away on the stove…or already half-eaten in the fridge. but, like you, i have been too scared to attempt this as an adult. i’ve never thought of making it in the oven. how very exciting!! gracias, david.

      • Susan

      I’m making these for the second time in 10 days, because my spouse figured out that if you refrigerate them, they take on a fudge-like texture that is divine! Since I add walnuts as suggested, I don’t use the entire batch of dulce de leche (your recipe), which means I now have enough for a third batch of brownies. Thank you for these great recipes!

        • laura

        Hi David, I’m a big fan! And tried these brownies out yesterday. Unfortunately, my butter separated from the batter for some reason. Any idea why that might have happened. I ended up stirring it in again after it had mostly cooked and that seemed to work although they no longer look like brownies. Still delicious. Anyways, just wondering what you think I did to do that — and I do make a lot of baked good so I was surprised. Thanks so much.

    • LPC

    It’s also a “staple” in Singaporean kitchens. Parents would add a dollop or two in Milo and other drinks for the kids, or we would spread it over sliced bread. Never thought of putting it into brownies though. I like the sound of “Dulce de Leche” so much more sophisticated and tempting than “condensed milk”.

    • sarah

    oh man…i made david’s dulce de leche recipe for the first time about 2 months ago and as soon as it was cool enough, i was standing over the stove, scooping the sticky sweetness from pie plate to mouth with my finger! even though my hubby made a huge batch of brownies last night, i really need to try these!

    • Alisa

    The thing is, once you’ve seen the last episode, you will want to see it again, and maybe go back to the first few seasons and so on and so on. I suggest taking a grocery store break sometime soon.

      • ELSIE


      • Christine Moore

      To which program are you referring?

        • katharine

        Six Feet Under–it’s down farther in the thread!

    • Luisa

    I still have a jar of confiture de lait left over from my trip to Paris – could I use that instead of dulce de leche?

    • –Lisa

    That’s funny – my mom used to make Dulce De Leche in the can all the time. I’ve done it myself but not recently. The one “safety” thing I do is to put something on the bottom of the pot and put the can on that something so it isn’t setting right on the burner. “Fully cooked” dulce takes 4 hours or so, and is solid (well, gelled) and you can cut it into wedges and serve with fruit and cheese. Yum. Now I will have to do that this weekend. :)

    • Dianka

    This looks sinfully delicious! I would love a piece right now! Yum!

    • Dianka

    This looks sinfully delicious! I would love a piece now!

    • barbie2be

    these look amazing! if i wasn’t already planning to make banana nut bread this weekend i would try the brownies. although, the dulce de leche might be good spread on a nice slice of the BNB. :)

    • Molly

    I am SO upset that I didn’t have these around to nibble on while I made my way through season 5 of Six Feet Under! I may just have to fire up the oven and rent the DVDs again. Looks delicious, David.

    • gladys

    mmm, can you pass me one of those?

    • anne

    david! my pocket coffee and microplane foot file both came today! ever consider a career at HSN? great sales pitch. :)

    • Linda

    My mum used to make Dulce de Leche all the time – she was Scottish and she would boil a can of condensed milk on the stove. She wasn’t a fancy schmancy cook but she used it for cake fillings – mostly pineapple upside down cakes – yummy – I miss my mummy so much!
    She was such a character.

    • David

    Luisa: I’m sure you could use it, but it’s probably very good and I would save it for spreading on toast, and use something more ‘plebian’.

    Anne: Glad you got both! You can get all hyped up on espresso…just don’t shave your feet off.

    As for those of you who boil cans of milk on the stovetop, yes, you can do it. Although if the water boils out of the pan, the can may explode.

    • J. Bo

    Oh, my f***ing lord, I just made a pan of these to send to my sweetie… and now I’m going to have to make another batch.

    See, I will most likely die from instant-onset diabetes on account’a eating NEARLY THE WHOLE DAMN PAN after testing just a weensy corner (QC is SO important in baking, I feel).

    There is no control. This stuff is evil. EVIL, I TELL YOU!

    Oh, I hope you’re happy, mister…

    • Cenk

    Just when I was looking for the perfect brownie recipe. It looks delicious David.

    • Edward

    My friends love me for my chocolate brownies, so these look like they’ll be an amazing addition to my repetoire. A must-do for the weekend. I’ve never made dulce de leche before, but my friend Mark is an experienced maker and these are his tips:

    ‘I boil them for 45 mins to an hour . On high nothing between can and pot , pref do not use a aluminium pot as the two metals seem to react.
    Take the label off and as much of the glue off as possible as this is difficult to get off the side of the pot afterwards.
    The longer you cook it the thicker and darker the caramel becomes.
    There is no real science to it just make sure the can is covered by the water at all times, and rotate
    the can to cook the caramel evenly , i.e. 15 mins on its top 15 mins on its bottom , then roll it 15 mins on either side.
    When you take it off the stove run cold water into the pot and let it cool off before opening.
    Do not open when very hot as the can tends to “burp” and the caramel is hot.

    Do not let the pot boil dry, this leads to spectacular results , a friend of my mother did just this and it was amazing
    just how much surface area one can can cover !!!!!!!’

    Be careful out there

    • Adele

    I used the crockpot method last year to make dulce de leche and the results were pretty good. It might just be time to make it again, just for these brownies………………..

    • chanit

    I’m sure I’ll bake these Brownies soon ! yummy, and thanks ;)

    • Sil (Bs As)

    I’ve tried them, fantastic!! so humid… but I cooked them just 20 min or so…depends on each oven I guess… thanks for sharing the recipe!!

    • Leah

    Hey David, I have a quick question – I’m planning to make these brownies on Thursday (to eat for breakfast during the Germany-Argentina match, if you must know, so yes, caramel is a-okay for breakfast!). I was hoping to use my salted butter, but I don’t have a scale at the moment. I don’t know that I can get a semi-precise 1/2 cup chunk off the pound plus block of the salty butter I have. If I use unsalted butter, would you recommend throwing in some salt?

    Ok, I lied, I have two questions. I’m also on the hunt for the most perfect caramel recipe ever of all time. I mean, being kind of far from Jacques Genin – whose caramels I have never tried yet TORTURE ME every time I come to your site, thanks – and occasionally wanting some that are not enrobed in Fran’s perfect chocolate, I’ll have to go and make my own. Anyway, do you have a recipe or know of one you might recommend? If so, I would be forever grateful. Thank you!

    • David

    Leah: Yes, just add a nice pinch of salt, to balance the flavor.
    As for making caramels, Carole Bloom’s book, “Truffles, Candies and Confections” has a whole chapter to recipes that you’d find helpful. Happy baking!

    • Andi*

    I just made Molten Chocolate Babycakes..
    Nigella Lawsons recipe…….
    I used William Sonoma’s bittersweet chocolate shavings…yumm…..
    We love the chocolate ones you get at Mustache Cafe on Melrose in California….
    sooo and my point is???
    I want to make your brownies.,but I want to suggest to you to try the W/S Chocolate shavings in your brownies…
    The Hot Chocolate is sold twice a year in W/S here in Vegas…… it’s Guittard chocolate not cocoa…a little pricy but these babycakes are do die for….(0)¿(0)…..the chocolate is creammy silky..
    Keep on blogging,

    • Amy

    Guess what? I also freeze brownies to stop myself from eating everything. But my oh my, frozen brownies are equally delicious, so much so that I will make several pit stops at the freezer!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      It’s a strategy that’s destined to fail! ; )

        • Leslie

        I froze some of these brownies, after sharing some with family members during a celebration. Yes, the strategy fails. Catastrophically! (yum!!!)

    • Carla

    I make dulce de leche by putting the can of condensed milk in the pressure cooker. Cover the can with water, cook at medium high for 20 minutes. Turn off and wait for the safety valve to drop, cool can completely, open and enjoy.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Some people also do it in a regular saucepan covered with water, but one needs to be careful because if it’s not completely covered it can explode.

      (Another issue with either method is that you can’t check when it’s done – but I suppose if you make it regularly that when, you know when it’s ready.)

    • Cooking in Mexico

    David, somewhere I have back in the cobwebs of my memory that you posted a recipe for the Mexican dessert, Chocoflan, aka Impossible Cake. It, too, combined dulce de leche with chocolate. Always a winning combination. – Kathleen

    • E E Faris

    David, these look wonderful. It seems like the dulce de leche would help keep the brownies moist.
    Do you think I could ship them, uncut, as part of a Christmas package? Not more than a day or two in transit.
    Thank you!

      • E E Faris

      SORRY David, I did not read thoroughly.
      You say they keep 2-3 days at room temp and can be frozen for 3 months. I’ll just ship them overnight and put that note in the parcel.
      All the best!

    • Margaret

    These brownies look really good :)
    I’m making your Wine Harvester’s Chicken today — perfect time of the year for it — such a fabulous dish.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks! Happy you like that one :)

    • gwyn ganjeau

    of course the recipe is irresistible and will be on the regular rotation soon, but i gotta say that glass made me swoon!!!!

    • MR in NJ

    I made this for a party some years ago and it was a big hit. I needed something special to bake for a chocolate-lover’s belated (covid-interrupted) birthday in two days (don’t worry; there shall be no party) and am making the dulce de leche now to use in making the brownies tomorrow. She too is a devoted reader of this blog and will be thrilled! Thanks for the reminder about this terrific recipe as well as the updated instructions, which shall be followed to the letter.

    • Sheila

    If you should happen upon Josephine Caminos Oria’s book, “Dulce de Leche: Recipes, Stories, & Sweet Traditions,” take a look. Her family stories are delightful and the recipes are fun. Making dulce de leche from milk is a time commitment but the book convinced me that I have to try it one of these days.
    In the meantime, I’ll go with this recipe because these brownies can’t wait!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks. I can’t (or can?) imagine a whole book on dulce de leche! I do have a recipe for it made with whole milk cooked for a while in my book The Perfect Scoop. I’ve also noticed in America some condensed milk companies are already “making” the dulce de leche in the can, and selling it that way. Good idea!

    • Christine

    David, thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe from “The Sweet Life.”
    I just received your book in the mail yesterday for Beeta Hashempour’s (FB) October book club. Can’t wait to read the book and try some of the recipes!!

    • Scott M.

    Great, but adding a little salt (at least if using unsalted butter) would make it even better

      • Scott M.

      I see this was already answered in the comments! I might even do more than a pinch, maybe 1/8 teaspoon even.

    • María Jesús Escontrela

    I’m so very thankful for the beautifully explained recipe. It’s so generous of you to share. God bless you

    • gwyn

    these are on deck to make on Friday! One question: is there a reason to line the pan with foil rather than parchment paper? As I type this, it seems like a silly question, but when i was reading the recipe, i thought perhaps it affects the cooking or texture or something. Thanks!!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      They’re somewhat sticky and foil is sturdier than parchment paper, which is why I use foil. Enjoy the ebrownies!

        • gwyn

        aha. got it. thank you for the reply! :)

    • bethh

    I made these today to deal with some fidgety jitters I have and ooooooooohhhh they are gorgeous. A tiny corner broke off and I am having a hard time not eating the whole pan. I promised to share with other stressed-out friends though, and don’t have enough ingredients for an emergency backup.

    Just – perfection. Thank you so much!

    • Leslie

    Looks like a good day to make these!

    • Susie Dosik

    I made these yesterday. Excellent. Mine were very underbaked at 30 min., maybe because my eggs were fridge cold when I added them. I didn’t have bittersweet chocolate so I used 4oz unsweetened and added in sugar by weight to make 6oz, melted into butter. Worked perfectly! I used unsalted butter so I added 1/2t kosher salt into the batter and a few pinches of flaky salt on top, which I really liked. I think these could go in a 9″ or even 10″ pan and be fine. They were very tall and extremely rich. Despite the dulce de leche, these were not too sweet. These are now my second favorite from this site; my alltime is the tarte au citron.

    • Donna

    These brownies looked scrumptious, so I made them. I must confess that I added too much dulce de leche (heaping versus scant tablespoons) so it was delicious but too rich. I made them again and lessened the amount of dulce de leche. Absolutely fabulous!! It is now a favorite recipe. Thanks for sharing.

    • Linda

    At our house, these are now known as David’s Beyond Brownies. Thank you for spreading the Joy!

    • Debbie McMaon

    These are so good! I have baked a lot of brownies over years and these are now at the top of my list! They get even better once refrigerated when the brownie batter turns fudge-like. I immediately sent photos to my friends and family and insisted they make these. I will DEFINITELY make them again. Thank you David!

    • Lou

    I made two batches of these and they are utterly delicious! I don’t think I’ll bother with any other brownie recipes beyond this one – why mess with perfection?!

    I used salted butter, pre-bought dulce de leche, and baked on parchment paper (a little messy, but worked just fine). The hardest part was getting the batter into the corners of the tins, as the mixture was very thick. A hot spoon did the trick.

    Thank you, David :)


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