Undoubtedly you've baked with either Sweetened Condensed or Evaporated Milk, if not both. But what exactly are they? And what's the difference, anyway? Happily, I was able to get the full story directly from the source, when I sat down with a couple of the respective canned dairy products for an interview:
CakeSpy: First off, I'd like to thank my guests, Sweetened Condensed Milk and Evaporated Milk. And I'd like to say, for the record, that no matter what anyone says, I've never considered you dairy misfits.
Sweetened Condensed Milk: Who said that?
Evaporated Milk: I'll kill them! It was Whipping Cream, wasn't it? He's so smug.
CakeSpy: Outta sight! So, to get things started, Sweetened Condensed Milk...what exactly are you?
Sweetened Condensed Milk: Well, since I was googling myself before the interview, I can tell you that I'm "cow's milk from which water has been removed and to which sugar has been added, yielding a very thick, sweet product which when canned can last for years without refrigeration if unopened."
CakeSpy: Wow, that's a long time.
Evaporated Milk: No wonder why you seem so dated.
CakeSpy: Now, now, Evaporated Milk. I'm interested in you too--what is it exactly that you are?
CakeSpy: You guys, no offense, but it doesn't sound like you're all that different. What exactly is the difference between you two?
Sweetened Condensed Milk: I've got sugar!
Evaporated Milk: I don't need sugar! I have a very unique flavor and am often used in desserts such as Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie.
Sweetened Condensed Milk: But with my deliciously decadent sugary nature, I'm often used in desserts too--perhaps most notably, or notoriously, in the Magic Cookie Bar.
Evaporated Milk: I thought those were called Hello Dolly Bars.
CakeSpy: Tomato, tomahto.
Sweetened Condensed Milk and Evaporated Milk (in unision): Whaaat?!?
CakeSpy: Nevermind. (pause)
Anyhow, to review, you're both shelf stable canned milk products, but basically Sweetened Condensed Milk has added sugar, and Evaporated milk doesn't. You both have a rich history and a rich texture, and are often used in baking. And no matter what Heavy Cream, Yogurt, or Cream Cheese says about your status as reputable dairy product, I love you both.
Evaporated Milk: Thanks...I think.
Sweetened Condensed Milk: Let's go shank Heavy Cream!