Being a homesick Texan, I often mosey over to one of my favorite food blogs, Homesick Texan, to weep onto my keyboard when I am longing for a fresh flour tortilla or bowl of chili. So when I came across her post for cajeta (ca-heh-ta) from a couple of years ago, I was inspired to make a batch and share with you.
The ingredient list is short and the process is very easy. It just takes time—a decent amount of time, in fact. However, the result is so rich and deep and unctuous in flavor and texture that it makes the time well worth it.
The Homesick Texan recipe does not include salt, I added it because I LOVE salty caramel and I added an extra stick of cinnamon because the extra kick is nice on toast in the morning.
If you are unable to find goat milk in your area, you can certainly substitute with whole cow's milk. Caramel made with cow's milk is known as Dulce de Leche.
makes about 2 to 2 1/2 cups
adapted from Homesick Texan
2 quarts goat's milk
2 cups sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean, split or 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1. Stir together the milk and sugar in a large, heavy-bottomed pot (make sure the liquid only goes half-way up the sides as it will froth when the baking soda is added) and add the cinnamon, salt and vanilla (if using a bean, split it lengthwise, scrape the seeds into the liquid and add the pod as well). Bring to a boil on medium-high heat while constantly stirring. This will take about 15 minutes.
2. When milk boils, remove from heat and add baking soda (dissolved in a bit of warm water) to the pot. The mixture will rise and get frothy, but as long as you keep stirring it will be fine.
3. Place the pot back on the stove on medium heat, and stir frequently but not constantly. Make sure the milk stays at a gentle simmer rather than a raging boil and stir across the bottom of the pot to make sure the mixture is not scorching. Adjust heat as needed.
4. After about an hour and a half, the milk should start to turn golden brown. Remove the cinnamon stick and the vanilla pod. At this point, it will start to thicken fast, so it’s important to keep stirring so the milk doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan.
5. Keep stirring until the mixture is a rich brown and thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, which will happen in about 15 to 30 minutes.
6. Pour into airtight containers. The mixture will keep for up to 1 week.
Cajeta is delicious on just about anything and everything. I especially love it drizzled on saltine crackers, vanilla ice cream or chocolate cake. I also divide it into small (4 ounce) Ball jars to give as gifts (if you double the recipe I suggest using two separate pots instead of one bigger pot).
Have you ever made cajeta or dulce de leche at home? What is your favorite way to enjoy it?