Cajeta (Mexican Caramel)

Cajeta (Mexican caramel) tastes unlike any other caramel. This decadent and rick tasting caramel is indeed distinguishable because it’s made with goat’s milk and not cow’s milk. When I was a little girl I was at a friend’s house and she brought out a jar filled with this beautifully colored caramel and the image of a goat on the jar. As a kid I thought that was odd, a goat on a jar, but didn’t ask why. I distinctly remember sitting in her kitchen and eating Ritz cracker and cajeta sandwiches, one right after another. That was the first time I tasted cajeta and I loved it.

Fast forward several years later where I now live in Germany listening to my neighbor’s goat’s bahhhh in the distance and then I remembered the jar with the goat on it and of course my unforgettable first memory of cajeta. I’d read since then that one can make cajeta with fresh goat’s milk and that’s when it dawned on me that I should try and make some of my own. Is it possible? I asked myself. Not having a recipe in my repertoire I quickly googled cajeta and discovered all sorts of sites by, Homesick Texan, Rick Bayless, and A Chica Bakes claiming that it is indeed possible. I rushed over to Maggie the goat farmer who also owns the local neighborhood German restaurant Husarenhof and purchased some goat’s milk from her.

After about three attempts at different recipes I finally came up with a recipe that works for us. I decided to cut open a vanilla bean and adding the tiny beans instead of using vanilla extract. Oh my, so worth the added effort. This recipe is not difficult just time consuming, be prepared to watch over your pot and stir the cajeta for about one hour. It keeps for about two weeks in the fridge if you can keep it that long. After making a batch I put it into a couple of mason jars and enjoy it over everything and with anything: ice cream, strawberries, crepes, and my favorite, by the spoonful. My kids love it with bananas, grilled peaches, and with vanilla wafers as mini sandwiches.

Last week I made a fresh batch and my hubby and I had some with fresh strawberries for breakfast, while the kids were still sleeping. It was our little quiet moment and we felt like little kids being very naughty. Oh the simple guilty pleasures.

How do you like your cajeta? We’d love for you to leave us a comment and let us know.

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Cajeta (Mexican Caramel)

Ingredients:

4 cups goat’s milk, divided
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 vanilla bean

Directions:

In a bowl whisk the baking soda and ¼ cup of goat’s milk and set aside and reserve.

Place the remainder of the goat’s milk and sugar in a deep pan, over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Stir occasionally until the milk begins to bubble, about 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat and add the reserved milk with the baking soda. Milk may bubble slightly just keep stirring. And then put back over medium heat.

Cut open the vanilla bean and add to the pot including the pod and cook for about 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally so the sugar does not stick to the pan.

Once the caramel starts to thicken you need to watch closely, stirring almost constantly until desired consistency. You can now discard the pod.

Once the back of the spoon is coated with cajeta and it sticks, the cajeta is ready. I like my cajeta a little thinner than normal, because it drizzles better. Once the cajeta sits in the refrigerator for awhile it may thicken slightly. I spoon out only what I plan to use into a ramekin and microwave for about 10 to 15 seconds.

If your final cajeta becomes too thick add a few drops of water and stir to thin out.

Note: Goat’s milk can be found at your local super market or specialty stores like Trader Joes or Whole Foods.

Written by Veronica / Photos by Veronica

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24 Responses to “Cajeta (Mexican Caramel)”

  1. 1

    I adore Cajeta! Especially over my sister in law’s Chocoflan. I’d love to make it more often but I find myself eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. :) It was so absolutely wonderful to meet you and Yvette at the BlogHer Food Conference in Seattle. You two are even more beautiful in person. I adore you both and and am officially addicted to Muy Bueno Cookbook!

    • Muy Bueno replied: — July 4th, 2012 @ 2:20 am

      Karista is was great meeting you too! We hope to get back to Seattle sometime in the near future. We fell in love with your city. Next time we will have to wine and dine alittle. It’s hard to keep cajeta here at home, we all secretly eat it by the spoonful…and before we know it the entire jar is empty. Have a great summer amiga….besos!

  2. 2
    Patricia Frymyer — June 12, 2012 @ 10:04 am

    That sounds so good right about now!!! And I just learned the store I work at sells goat’s milk…so, might have to try that!!! (I am bound and determined to convince my Puerto Rican boyfriend that Mexican food is the BEST!!) :-)

    • Muy Bueno replied: — July 4th, 2012 @ 2:23 am

      Let us know how your recipe turns out. Thanks for following us at MBC…you are always so sweet with your comments. Just keep cooking for him eventually he’ll start requesting his favs. Remember, “Panza llena corazon contento.”

  3. 3
    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — June 12, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

    I’ve never tried Cajeta but it sounds delicious, especially with the addition of the vanilla bean. Yum!

    • Muy Bueno replied: — July 4th, 2012 @ 2:24 am

      Vanilla Bean does make baking and cooking so much fun…those little teeny tiny beans make food look so romantic-o.

  4. 4

    I”ve never made cajeta, but if I couldn’t easily buy it, I would definitely try this! In Mexico we have so many flavors (many have icky chemicals), but Coronada brand’s “quemada” is my absolute favorite.

    • Muy Bueno replied: — July 4th, 2012 @ 2:26 am

      I love cajeta quemada too. That is my next personal challenge, to make it a la quemada. Wish me luck…

  5. 5
    Theresa Conejo — June 13, 2012 @ 7:39 am

    Our family loves Cajeta ! Were my husband’s family lives, Celeya Guanajuato, it is famous for it’s Cajeta. We bring back bottles everytime we go.
    Can’t wait to try this recipe

    • Muy Bueno replied: — July 4th, 2012 @ 2:28 am

      Wow, lucky you, to get it directly from the place where it originates. I would give anything to go there to see them make it, taste it and bring some home too.

  6. 6

    If I couldn’t easily buy cajeta (Coronada brand, quemada is my favorite), I would definitely try this. I sooooooooo love cajeta and use it for many things

    • Muy Bueno replied: — July 4th, 2012 @ 2:30 am

      Do tell…how do YOU use cajeta? It is good on so many things.

  7. 7
    Malice — June 13, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

    Is the goat’s milk what makes it different from dulce de leche?

    • Muy Bueno replied: — July 4th, 2012 @ 2:31 am

      Yes, that is my understanding…dulce de leche is made with cow’s milk and cajeta is made with goat’s milk.

  8. 8
    Stephanie Chavez — June 14, 2012 @ 6:28 pm

    I love that you used fresh vanilla bean instead of the extract. I have never made it before but have always wanted to try. There is a restaurant in my home town that makes the best dessert with Cajeta, crepes, and vanilla ice cream that I LOVE. Now that I got my crepes down right, this Cajeta recipe will be brewing in my kitchen in the near future. Thanks for sharing!

    • Muy Bueno replied: — July 4th, 2012 @ 2:32 am

      LOL…I love those freaky little beans…imagine my surprise when I first split open the pod to get to the beans, hundreds of them. I love the sparkled look they give everything, a peppering of sorts.

  9. 9

    Eating cajeta is one of my favorite childhood memories. We’d have it with tortillas at home and at my Abuelita’s house all the time. Can’t wait to try this!

    P.S. It was great to meet you in Seattle! Can’t wait for the cookbook!

    • Muy Bueno replied: — July 4th, 2012 @ 2:35 am

      Hola Christina, we had so much fun meeting you too. OOOOhhh on tortillas, that sounds like something I will have to try. Can’t believe I never thought about that combo. Love your blog!

  10. 10
    Cristina D. — June 22, 2012 @ 6:17 pm

    I love cajeta! I dip Granny Smith apple slices in it. And…I confess, I eat it by the spoon full!

    • Muy Bueno replied: — July 4th, 2012 @ 2:36 am

      Cristina Granny Smith apples are perfect-o, a little bit of tanginess with some sweet creaminess. My kids love this as an afterschool treat. I’m with you on the spoonful edition.

  11. 11
    Dina — July 2, 2012 @ 12:51 pm

    i didn’t know about cajeta. sounds divine!

    • Muy Bueno replied: — July 4th, 2012 @ 2:03 am

      Me neither and when I did I was so glad! You have to try this, you will be delighted.

  12. 12
    Paloma Cruz (@palomacruz) — August 13, 2012 @ 12:05 am

    I grew up smearing cajeta on warm flour tortillas. My youngest sister learned to make it from scratch, but all I wanted to do was eat it. Pretty sure I’m never making a batch myself, but I’m sharing the recipe with others.

    • Muy Bueno replied: — August 17th, 2012 @ 10:27 am

      Paloma, what a pretty name. I’m sure you hear that all the time…anyway, thanks for your comment and letting us know how much you too love cajeta. After I make it we all fight to have a big spoonful before we actually use it on anything else, so I know what you’re talking about when you say you love it. Thanks for sharing our recipe with others.

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