Pages

Friday, July 22, 2011

Three Cheers For Cajeta!!

Aren’t yall in for a treat!! A double treat in fact…For once in my short blogging career I’m actually going to post something USEFUL instead of my endless babble (shocking eh?)…and of course the second part of this double treat is the Cajeta itself.

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:

Photobucket

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.

Photobucket

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.
Wisk
Measuring Cups

Ingredients:

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

Photobucket

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:

Photobucket

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!

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've never heard of Cajeta, but it sounds amazing!

I must say, in the past I never considered a goat....they have horns, are mean, eat everything & are smelly. At least that's what I thought... your blog makes me want goats!! I love the stories & pictures....and the humor in each post gives me my morning chuckle! Is your breed of goat naturally hornless? Have any breeder recomendations in the Houston area for dairy goats?

Going to try this recipe, though with store bought milk since I don't have goats....Yet! *wink*

Amanda

* Crystal * said...

Amanda.....goats rock!

And yes, there are several good breeders who would be awesome goat mentors in the Houston area! I'll gather a list for you ;)

Sabrina, the goat pictured is polled (naturally hornless). The others were disbudded as kids.... A hot iron was used to burn the horn buds off at a young age (before horns form). I will not own horned goats, so I only buy hornless goats & I disbud any kids born here before 10 days old.

I'm hoping Sabrina gives me a polled doeling this spring!

This recipe will work fine with store bought milk, so have fun & enjoy :)

Sherry said...

Crystal this is almost like the caramel sauce we put on bread pudding...but we use cow milk...lol.

* Crystal * said...

Sherry-

I've had a similar sauce made with cow's milk too....Good, but not near as good as traditional Cajeta with goat's milk..... It's much smoother, creamier. I think its because the goat's milk still has all the cream in it :)

Either way, neither is good for my waist line! lol

Steve said...

Sounds awesome. I'll be in town around 11 am tomorrow, will it be ready then? Should I be expecting it or are you going to be my invisible daughter again? We would like to see you ya know.

Love ya

* Crystal * said...

LOL Steve you actually think the kids left any??? Between Clayton needing "just a lil more fruit dip" & Shayla just eating it by the spoonful, it didn't last long :)

I know, I've been a social recluse, but it's not intentional....too many responsibilities & no one to take over for me. Am trying to figure out mom's work schedule though so we can plan a weekend up there with the kiddos.

Was thinking about next weekend but Jerimiah says y'all will be in town then so I'll check with mom & see what other weekend she can stay & watch my critters for the weekend.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing Crystal! Really enjoy your blog, I know anytime I click on a new entry here I'm in for a few giggles (or in the case of the "Shocking Kind of Love" post I almost wet myself I laughed so hard!! lol)

Most of my bottle kids are weaned now and I've been looking forward to actually using our milk. I think I'll try your Cajeta 1st.

I have all the ingredients on hand, but you must tell me where I can pick up a few of those helpers!! :)

Oat Bucket Farm said...

I love Cajeta! Everything is better when goats are involved, even caramel. :)

petey said...

Love this! I am trying it this week with my EmmaLou&DollyMoo milk. I had been simmering sweetened condensed milk to make this but its too expensive and this sounds MUCH better!

Jan said...

The cajeta looks good but what I really want is to borrow your two assistants. I have a date to see Chinasaurous with them! Can't wait till the weekend!
Signed with affection,
Your Wicked Step-mother-in-law. Lol

* Crystal * said...

Anonymous- I'm happy to hear you enjoy the blog, even if in some cases (The Shocking Love post) you risk losing bladder control, lol. I DID loose bladder control, so I sympathize :-)

I had no milk thieving kids, but now we have Ella (Small Unexpected Gift post) who I'm keeping on milk due to her small size. This year I staggered all my bottle kids so I've only had small intervals of unlimited milk supply.

As to the helpers, good ones like those 2 are hard to find!

Oat Bucket- I could not agree more :)

Petey- I've heard of using condensed milk as a "cheat" to faster Cajeta, but have never tried it. I do envy your sweet Jersey girls though! And all that easily separated cream.....and your fresh, raw butter with stars!! lol I bet your Cajeta will be awesome.

Jan- I didn't know you were dubbed the evil step mother in law! lol When did you earn that title? And yes, you can have those helpers of mine. We will be headed your way this weekend so get ready!! :-)

* Crystal * said...

Ah shoot Jan... I typed "evil" instead of "wicked". Here I learn you have a new title and I already screw it up in my first usage!

Hmmmm..... if that's your title, do I dare wonder what titles I've earned??? lol

Leigh said...

I'm delighted that you wrote this post. Looks like a fantastic thing to do with extra goat's milk. Thanks!

Maink said...

I'm wondering, is cajeta dulce de leche? I live in Uruguay and dulce de leche is practically its own food group, but I've never heard of cajeta.

Sarah Rachele said...

Crystal have you tried canning this? I had planned on making big batch of it, and would like to give as gifts so I was hoping to process it in the canner, but I wonderf if that would affect the taste/texture at all. Thanks, and a great post too.

* Crystal * said...

Sarah- No, I haven't tried canning this.....

I did however find this in a google search! Scroll to the bottom for canning info:

http://www.everything-goat-milk.com/cajeta.html

I don't have canning equipment yet.....house fire in '07 & still haven't restocked my kitchen yet.... So, we just store it in the fridge. When I make it thick I put it in clean baby food jars so when I need to use it I can put the entire jar in hot water so it pours easier..