What is Cajeta you say??
Well it’s only one of the most divine goodies you can easily whip up in your kitchen.
Cajeta is a Mexican treat traditionally made from goat’s milk (you could use cow‘s milk if no goat‘s milk is available). It’s wonderfully complex, smooth and has an endless variety of uses! It is very similar to caramel, though I swear once you have a taste of Cajeta, caramel toppings from the store will seem bland in comparison. Caramel is mostly sugar based, whereas Cajeta is dairy based. This makes Cajeta not as sweet as caramel and the rich, creamy goat’s milk that is the foundation of Cajeta gives it a rich creaminess that caramel simply can’t touch.
So, lets get started! For the very best Cajeta, try and round up two helpers about like these I found:
Then of course you must start with the goat…Sabrina is the generous milk donor in this instance, though any willing dairy doe will do....give that girl a good scratching and a treat! She deserves it.
Now that you’ve got your fresh goat’s milk & helpers, your ready to begin.
You will need:
A large pot…get a big one as this stuff boils up to quite a big mess otherwise.
2 quarts of goat’s milk
2 cups sugar (I prefer to use Raw sugar, but any sugar will do)
1 tablespoon of pure Mexican vanilla extract. (If you have it, 1 plump, split open vanilla bean is great too…. Just don’t use imitation vanilla!)
½ teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in 1 tablespoon of water.
The How To:
In your big pot (don’t use an iron pot), pour in milk, sugar and the vanilla and place over medium heat. Stir regularly until the milk reaches a good simmer and all the sugar is dissolved.
Remove from heat and add the dissolved baking soda. The kids LOVE this part! It bubbles up quite a bit after adding the dissolved baking soda (here‘s where having a big pot comes in mighty handy).
Let mixture sit for about 5-10 minutes…or for however long it takes for the bubbles to subside. When your bubbles have gone down, return to heat.
Adjust your heat so the mixture is at a brisk simmer, but not boiling. It needs to be simmering well enough that you still see some simmer bubbles while gently stirring.
Cook at this temp and stir regularly until the mixture turns a pale golden color. This is a divine culinary treat, and things of a divine nature take time….so get cozy & stir…. This isn’t a speedy process.
Once you reach that beautiful pale golden hue, you’ll need to stir more frequently. If I say “stir constantly” that sounds exhausting, so I’ll say stir almost constantly. Whatever you do, do NOT let it sit on the bottom of the pot unstirred after it reaches the pale golden color.
Cajeta in stages: #1 Foamy milk after baking soda #2 Pale Golden Color #3 Mixture thickens & darkens
Now the good part is coming. The more it cooks, the more you stir, the darker it gets and the thicker it gets. The constant mixing can get tedious so this is where your helpers come in:
Just look how well they stir! Told ya they were handy..
Once you reach a caramel-brown color, keep on stirring, but at some point in all this stirring, you can test it out. Drop a few drops in a dish of water, if a soft ball forms, the Cajeta is ready. You can also use a candy thermometer and when it reaches about 240° it should be ready…I don’t bother with the thermometer..It’s just one more item to wash afterwards.
Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit. You should have a medium thick sauce. If too thick you can add in hot water, 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach the consistency you like. If too thin, just return to heat and keep on a stirring until desired thickness has been reached.
This recipe should boil down to about ½ quart - ¾ of a quart of Cajeta. For variety you can also toss in a few sticks of cinnamon in the pot while your cooking and you can also give a generous splash (or two) of your favorite rum…
My kiddos love fruit slices & pretzels dipped in warm Cajeta…
Swirled in yogurt & on top of ice cream.
You can drizzle over cheesecake, brownies and apple pie. For a yummy Fall treat, drizzle over baked butternut squash…
Or if you happen to be impatient like me, you can eat it straight off a spoon!!
When I think ahead I chop up fruit while I’m waiting for the pale golden stage so there is little to no delay in enjoying this amazing treat..
The possibilities are endless!