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.
Cajeta (Mexican Caramel)
4 cups goat’s milk, divided
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 vanilla bean
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