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Thursday, June 22, 2017

How to Make Homemade Cajeta #DairyMonth

This Cajeta is liquid gold. It is thick, sweet and caramely. It is great over ice cream, pound cake, as a dip for apples or on a spoon! It is made with goat's milk for the full flavor, but this recipe could be easily made with cow's milk as well!



      We are so lucky to have such great parents and even luckier that they are all relatively close to us. We are even luckier yet that a couple of them have homesteads that produce delicious food... and sometimes they share!


We have always had a garden, but that is about as much as we have time for right now.  We start off the year with strawberries and spinach, then the blackberries usually go nuts. Our blackberry patch is thornless and makes the biggest berries! 


     Little dude has been enjoying watching our tomato plants grow and he thinks it is so fun that they are now taller than the cages. Our pepper plants are still puny, but I am sure they'll catch up. My husband just thinned the carrots and beets and the broccoli is doing well. We weren't going to do brussel sprouts this year, but little dude begged for them and if your kid is begging for brussel sprouts, you get brussel sprouts.  I'm pretty sure there's a law about that somewhere.



      While we produce a fair amount of our own food during the summer, ours is all of the plant variety. MiMi, Pops, Grandpa and Ms. Lisa also raise food. You know the kind that has feathers or fur or little bumblebee wings. That means we get the occasional overflow. Let me tell you that overflow is delicious!


       We are most likely to receive farm fresh eggs.  We are always happy recipients of eggs as we really go through them. My husband takes a hard boiled egg to work with him every day and with my baking habit and our penchant for breakfast for dinner eggs disappear quickly. I mean after making skillet cornbread, a lemon pie and breakfast pizza in the same weekend you start piling up the empty eggshells in a hurry! Not to mention how much better the farm fresh eggs are!


     Back to the real story, sometimes we get things even more fun than eggs. Homemade maple syrup, for instance, from trees that my father-in-law tapped himself and lovingly cooked down over a wood fire. Or goat cheese that started as milk from his goats.  He even waxed it and everything!

      I always feel especially lucky when we get milk from the goats. I know how much work it is to get it and how much they enjoy it themselves. Between drinking it, making yogurt and cheese and of course making and selling the goat milk soap they definitely make good use of it. So when I get some I like to make sure I use it to it's fullest. I like to make sure it is something that stands out and that we can savor. This cajeta was just the thing.


     Cajeta is a caramelly delicious nectar that may just become your new favorite thing. It is basically the goat milk version of dulce de leche. So while I think the goat milk really adds some complexity to the flavor, you could definitely use whole cow milk if that's what you can get. The cinnamon stick is optional as well, but sooooo good. I hope you'll make a batch with it!


    I was curious about the baking soda in the recipe. I have used it in hard caramel before, like peanut brittle and caramel corn, but never in a sauce. I assumed the reason to use it was to aerate the mixture making it easier to work with and give it a biteable crack rather than making a sugar brick. That isn't necessary in a sauce. I did some research and found that the lower pH from the baking soda helps develop the caramelization.  Supposedly it helps give it a richer color and flavor. My inner chemist was satisfied with what I read, probably because it took me longer than I'd like to admit to find an answer I could accept!


    While the baking soda in this recipe is not really there gor the purpose of aeration, it will certainly still bubble and foam. Please be careful and use a pot at least twice the sixe you think it should be (and even then,  probably the next size up!) Then just use a little patience. It takes a while to get there, but almost no effort and the wait is worth it!

    Use the resulting cajeta however you would dulche de leche.  It really is quite versatile as it drizzles easily when warm but piles up high on a spoon when cold like peanut butter  (or frosting!) Warm it up and spoon it over ice cream, spread some over toast, eat it off a spoon or use some for apple empanadas. Don't worry, I'll share the recipe for those tomorrow!



     Have you ever had cajeta before? What are your favorite uses for cajeta and dulce de leche?


print recipe

Homemade Cajeta
This recipe is the goats milk version of dulche de leche. It is like liquid gold!
Ingredients
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract or bean paste
Instructions
1. In a small dish, dissolve the baking soda in a couple Tablespoons of the milk and set aside.2. In a very large pot (the mixture will bubble and foam, so you need a pot at least twice the size you think. I used a 6 qt dutch oven.) Stir together the remaining milk and sugar. Add the cinnamon stick. 3. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a low boil, stirring frequently. Turn off heat and stir in the dissolved baking soda mixture. Be careful, this is one of those bubbling like crazy moments!4. Return to medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is golden and thick like honey. This will take about 45 minutes to an hour. You don't need to stand over it the whole time, but you'll want to keep an eye on it as it will bubble and you don't want it sticking to the bottom of the pan.
5. Remove from heat and remove cinnamon stick. Stir in vanilla and let cool a bit. 6. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a couple of weeks. It will tighten up in the cold, but can be made pourable again with a short stint in the microwave.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: about 2 cups




Welcome to our week long celebration of June being #DairyMonth hosted by From Gate to Plate and Cooking With Carlee.  We are excited to celebrate all things dairy. We are putting together our best recipes using cow milk, goat milk butter, cream and cheeses.  We can't wait to share them with you.

How to Make Homemade Cajeta by Cooking With Carlee
Grilled Three Cheese Sausage Pizza by From Gate to Plate
Cherry Cream Cheese Pie by Palatable Pastime
Marina's Malted MilkShake by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Berry Swirled Cheesecake Pudding Pops by Grumpy's Honeybunch
Coffee Bourbon Milk Punch by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Easy Chauracterue Platter by Crystal Cattle
Farmer's Cheese With Fresh Herbs by A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures




28 comments:

  1. This looks awesome! I've never had goat's milk. My tomatoes have suddenly grown huge. It is so hot here I hope they survive. I have only tomatoes and zucchini this year. At 110 degrees today that is all I can keep up with.

    Wishes for tasty dishes,
    Linda

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    1. Best wishes for your tomatoes! We love zucchini, but they take up so much space. So we just happily accept some when everyone else is overrun ;-) 110 sounds miserable. We are only hitting about 90, but it is humid and oppressive anyway! Have a great weekend, Linda!

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  2. Putting this yummy sauce in my "to try" file. Need to save it for when my son's braces come off!

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  3. I'm suuuuper jealous of those gorgeous blackberries, Carlee! Whoa! I've never made my own cajeta but it's definitely time for me to try. That stuff is way too delicious :). I hope you're having a great week, my friend. Happy almost-Friday!

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    1. Aren't the blackberries nuts?! I was worried they were going to be smaller than normal this year but a good rain came and they blew up! Thanks so much, Kelsie!

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  4. I need to visit my friend who raises dairy goats and grab some milk so I can make this liquid gold. YUM

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    1. You totally should! You'll keep finding things to use it on!

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  5. That was the tastiest caramel sauce ever. So glad others get to try it now too!

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  6. This sounds amazing! I make homemade chocolate sauce but have never done a caramel.

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    1. This way is so easy! I've tried other caramel sauces and I've had mixed luck. I need to try a batch of this with cow milk and make dulche de leche just to see how it goes!

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  7. I have to say that I think I would eat this with a spoon and skip the apples. I love that you use whole milk and wonder if you could replace the white sugar with honey.

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    1. It is good on a spoon too! From the fridge it is so thick that you can eat it off the spoon like peanut butter (not that I'd know from experience as I would totally never do that!) I think it would be great with honey. I can't see why it wouldn't work. Now I want to try it that way as well. You'll definitely have to let me know if you do!

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  8. I would dip everything into this! Including a spoon that would immediately go into my mouth!

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  9. Love cajeta and have been meaning to make it. Yum!

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  10. Hi Carlee, I had a night mare session last night trying to decorate my Mums Birthday cake, in the heat, with caramel icing. Everything was sliding South! My last words of the say were something like I never want to see anything caramel like again (and I love carmelly stuff).... That didn't stop me clicking on this beauty of a recipe though. I love the addition of cinnamon. It is something I will be trying out, maybe not right now, maybe next week!

    You must have the only child in the world who asks for Brussel sprouts! I do quite like them myself, but never as a child!.... This year I am really chuffed with my veg garden, it's the first time in years that I have a go myself, sadly my husband draws the line at keeping chickens though, we do get a fair few eggs hand to us though.

    XX

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    1. I was on the verge of similar issues with the icing on my sister's baby shower cake. Why is it that when you want to make a cake for a special occasion it never goes quite as planned?! Even with the air conditioner kicked up, the kitchen was hot from everything going on. I didn't have the good sense to stop and refrigerate everything for a few minutes, I was too determined to get it done. Luckily it worked out, just not quite as smooth of a finish as I had envisioned! Either way, you must try this sometime. It can always wait until you are done being miffed at caramel though! ;-)

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  11. Very interesting on the baking soda!
    This certainly does look like liquid gold!

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    1. Isn't that interesting? I just couldn't let it go!

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  12. Yum, I sure do love dulce de leche, so I bet this is fantastic as well!

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  13. My family would dip everything in this caramel sauce!

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    1. It's hard to stop once you start!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I love reading your ideas!