Not to be confused with dulce de caramel, which is also not a thing. This brings up an excellent question, however. What is the difference between dulce de leche and caramel?
Dulce de leche is Spanish for “sweet [made of] milk.” It is prepared by boiling sweetened milk to create a sauce that derives its taste from the Maillard reaction, changing flavor and color.
Caramel, on the other hand, derives from the Latin word for “sugar cane.” More of a stiff syrup, caramel is created by slowly heating sugar to around 170 °C (340 °F).
In the end, you are left with a sticky confectionary good for topping or stuffing cookies, candy, ice cream, pie, cake… Hold that thought. I need a snack.