I have baked and cooked for more years that I care to admit to. I have learned a bazillion tricks of the trade over the years and have probably forgotten more things than the average person will ever know. That’s not a brag, it’s just that food has been my passion since forever and I have always made it a point and taken the time to learn new things.

And today, I learned another one.

Did you know you could boil a can of sweetened condensed milk – in the can – for three hours and turn it into caramel? It’s a freakin’ miracle!

A dear friend of ours down in Atlanta posted a Facebook comment looking for the best Thanksgiving desserts. I answered with my mom’s Walnut Pie recipe I’ll be making. Another friend posted a Southern Comfort Caramel Apple Pie recipe that I will have to make some day. Another for a Bourbon Chocolate Pecan pie. Chocolate and Vanilla custards…So many desserts, so little time…

And then I saw a recipe for mini caramel tarts. As I read I couldn’t believe my eyes. All it was was a can of sweetened condensed milk that had been boiled in water for three hours. I immediately got up and put a can on to boil.

Three hours later, I pulled it out of the water, opened the can – it spit at me so be careful – and swooned. OMG! A deep caramel sauce was staring back at me! I was dumbfounded.  I spooned it into the filo cups that just happened to be in the cabinet – we do have some odd things lying about – and then topped a few with chocolate chunks and the rest with candied pecans.

Stellar. Simply stellar.

The actual recipe is pretty simple. Tracie tops them with whipped topping but I thought they screamed for a pecan. And her instructions are simple and to the point:  Take the label off the can fill a pot with enough water to cover the cans or can. Boil the cans for three hours. Just glance at it once in awhile to make sure still covered. When it’s done, let it cool a bit, or all the way. Open can, stir up and spoon into shells. Let chill in the fridge till completely cool.

It makes enough for about 2 packages of prepared mini phyllo shells.

The mind is spinning with more possibilities. I think I have a new toy to play with!