I read on someones website once, that you could make caramel by putting a can of sweetened condensed milk directly on the stove.
Is this true? Will it explode? I don't want tasty napalm all over the kitchen.
O good Lord! Surely the intent was that the can be opened.
Of course a sealed can (or anything else) will explode when heated. Steam drives locomotives that haul thousands of tons of freight - don't ever underestimate its poser.
If I remember my high school physics correctly, water expands 17,000 times in volume when it turns to steam. The result h\can easily be fatal!
(BTW: unless you stir the milk in the can, I expect it will scorch (caramelize) on the bottom and do little or nothing on top. - I think a pot would be advisable so that the depth is shallower, permitting better heat distribution.)
Yes, you can make it in the can, and it is on the stove, but it is covered completely and then some with water. But it is no longer recommended but many people still do it that way. You will have to decide which way is the best for you.
But this is the way it is done on the stove IN WATER -
Sweetened condensed milk
Remove the label from can. Place UNOPENED can in the bottom of a VERY DEEP pot, such as a deep dutch oven or stock pot. Cover with water so that the water is 3 to 4-inches above the can. Bring the water to a boil and boil steadily for four (4) hours.
YOU MUST MAKE SURE THAT THE CAN IS ALWAYS TOTALLY COVERED WITH WATER. NEVER LET THE WATER LEVEL GET DOWN TO THE TOP OF THE CAN, BECAUSE THIS COULD CAUSE THE CAN TO EXPLODE.
You can boil 2 to 3 cans at once. After the four (4) hours is up, remove the can/s with tongs and place on a wire rack to cool. Be assured, the can/s will not explode. Refrigerate. When can/s are cold, open and you will have soft caramel; even the color is caramel. The only bad thing about boiling one can is that you will be sorry you didn't boil two or three.
Now, if you are afraid to make it that way here is the way it is made in the oven, on the stovetop and microwave methods and then there are a couple variations of what to do with it after it is "caramel" -
Take 1 14-oz can sweeten Condensed milk
Pour milk into a 9" pie plate. Cover with foil; place in larger shallow pan. Fill larger pan with hot water to just below pie plate rim. Bake at 425º for 1 1/2 hours or until thick and caramel colored. Beat until smooth.
Stove Top Method:
Pour milk into top of double boiler; place over boiling water. Over low heat, simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until thick and caramel colored. Beat until smooth.
Pour milk into 2-qt. glass measure. Cook on med. (50% power) 4 minutes, stirring briskly every 2 minutes until smooth. Cook on med-low (30% power) 12 to 18 minutes or until very thick and caramel colored, stirring briskly every two minutes until smooth.
VARIATIONS AFTER CARAMELIZING:
SPICY CARAMEL TOPPING-
1/2-teaspoon Ground cinnamon
1/4-teaspoon Vanilla or almond extract
Stir in cinnamon, vanilla/almond extract; add water to desired consistency; mix well.
Stir in vanilla, chocolate and nuts (if desired). Mix well.
To Reheat in Microwave: Place desired amount of caramel in a 1 or 2 cup glass measure. Heat on high (100% power) 40 to 50 seconds or until warm, stirring after 20 seconds
As a pudding w/whipped cream and shaved chocolate. As a topping for ice cream, pound cake, or angel food cake. Combined with whipped cream to fill cream puffs or layer in parfaits. As a frosting or filling for cookies, cakes, and tortes. Spooned over baked apples, poached pears, rice pudding, or bread pudding.
"Elf, while the system you mention will no doubt work, it is extremely hazardous. Should, for any reason, the pot be neglected and boil dry, that can WILL explode, potentially causing severe bodily harm.