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How to Make Homemade Cajeta

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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!

two jars of golden goat's milk cajeta with a drip running down the side of the front jar.

Cajeta is really simple to make at home.  With just a few ingredients and a little bit of time you can turn milk into something magnificent!

I will share the process with you along with some background on why you use the secret ingredients. Once you have a batch made you will see how easy it is and make it to go on top of everything you eat from here on out!

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!

hand holding 3 giant blackberries.

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 brussels sprouts this year, but little dude begged for them.

As all parents know, if your kid is begging for brussels sprouts you get brussels sprouts.  I’m pretty sure there’s a law about that somewhere.

Enameled dutch oven filled with goats milk, sugar, and a cinnamon stick with a wood spoon, ready to be cooked down.

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!

goat's milk starting to take on color and become cajeta

 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 chess bars 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!

thick syrupy caramel cajaeta in a large enameled cast iron pot

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!

bowl of vanilla ice cream with homemade vanilla cajeta drizzled over the top.

 While the baking soda in this recipe is not really there for the purpose of aeration, it will certainly still bubble and foam. Please be careful and use a pot at least twice the size 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?

Do you love discovering great recipes? Me too! Click here and follow Cooking With Carlee on Pinterest for tons of great ideas. 

two jars of golden goat's milk cajeta with a drip running down the side of the front jar.

How to Make Homemade Cajeta

Carlee
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!
5 from 4 ratings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Sauces, Dressings & Condiments
Cuisine American
Servings 24 Servings
Calories 66 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • In a small dish, dissolve the baking soda in a couple Tablespoons of the milk and set aside.
    1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 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. 
    4 cups whole milk, 1¼ cup granulated sugar, 1 cinnamon stick
  • 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!
  • 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. 
  • Remove from heat and remove cinnamon stick. Stir in vanilla and let cool a bit.
    2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 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.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingCalories: 66kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 2gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 66mgFiber: 1gSugar: 17g
Tried this recipe?Mention @carleecooks or tag #cookingwcarlee!

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Recipe Rating




DAV

Saturday 11th of March 2023

Goes much quicker in the microwave. Expands 4 times in volume, then it gets too thick to expand.

Carlee

Saturday 11th of March 2023

Hmmm. Now I would like to try it in the microwave. About how long does it normally take?

Unknown

Thursday 29th of June 2017

What a sauce!!!

Carlee

Saturday 1st of July 2017

Thanks!

Family Spice

Thursday 29th of June 2017

My family would dip everything in this caramel sauce!

Carlee

Saturday 1st of July 2017

It's hard to stop once you start!

Lane & Holly @ With Two Spoons

Wednesday 28th of June 2017

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

Carlee

Saturday 1st of July 2017

I hope you'll give it a try!

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies

Wednesday 28th of June 2017

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

Carlee

Saturday 1st of July 2017

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