I was planning to make a few various sundries for my friend Tom’s birthday and I really wanted to make cajeta for sundaes. Cajeta is a Mexican caramel made with goat’s milk. I had just used half a carton for the ice cream, so figured this would be a nice compliment to our ice cream and cake celebration.
I had a lot of things going on the stove and in the oven that lovely Sunday morning and all the while my 6-year old niece kept me company on the phone. When I told her I was making cajeta, she asked me what that is. I explained it and she responded, “Oh Rebecca, a goat’s milk caramel sounds just amazing.”
2 cups goat’s milk
2 cups sugar, raw
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in 1 Tablespoon warm water
Combine the milk and sugar in a medium saucepan and stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the vanilla and bring to a simmer (there should be a few bubbles forming around the sides). Remove from heat and add the baking soda mixture. Continue stirring as it bubbles up. Place back over medium heat and stir pretty frequently.
My mixture bubbled over a couple of times: just remove from heat and stir until it calms down. Stir over medium heat for about an hour. At about the 50 minute mark, stir constantly as it browns but careful not to let it burn. When it becomes thicker and caramel color, remove from the heat and let sit until room temperature (about an hour). Pour into a jar and refrigerate it until ready to use. It’ll thicken more once chilled. If it becomes too thick, add a little more goat’s milk to it, 1/2 teaspoon at a time.
P.S. Apparently, cajeta means something rather different in Argentine Spanish. So, when in Argentina, don’t say “cajeta”. Stick to their “dulce de leche”, unless you want to get punched.