Homemade Cajeta {Goats Milk Caramel}
Serves: 1.5 cups
  • 4 cups (1 quart) whole goats milk, pasteurized*
  • 1 cone (8oz by weight) piloncillo, or 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick (or other whole spices -- optional)
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda, dissolved in ½ TBSP goats milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ___
  • OPTIONAL ADD-INS: splash of rum, bourbon, or other liquor (added at the end, once the cajeta is removed from the heat) // a whole vanilla bean (split and seeds scraped out), or other warming spices (added at the beginning of cooking, then removed once the cajeta has cooled slightly) // pinch of sea salt, or smoked sea salt, to taste (added at the end, I suggest starting with just a little and tasting as you go)
  1. Place the milk, piloncillo, and cinnamon stick in a large saucepan (larger than you think you'll need), over medium to medium-high heat, reserving a small amount of goats milk to be mixed with the baking soda. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Once simmering, remove the pot from the heat and carefully add in the dissolved baking soda and goats milk. The mixture will froth up violently, nearly doubling in volume. Once the bubbling subsides, return the pot to the heat, and bring it back to a steady simmer.
  3. Cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has reduced and thickened (mine took about 1½ hours, but your time may vary depending on your stove and pot). Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot as you stir, and adjust the heat if necessary as the sauce reduces to avoid scorching. The cajeta is ready when it is the consistency of warm honey or maple syrup, and a rich golden color. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  4. Stir in the vanilla extract, and any other add-ins, if using. Pour into a jar or other sealed container, and store in the fridge for up to a few weeks.
  5. (The cajeta will thicken significantly as it cools, and once refrigerated will become quite firm. It can be softened again by placing the jar, without the lid, in the microwave for a few seconds, or in a shallow pot of simmering water.)
*UPDATE: a few readers have run into an issue with the goats milk curdling partway through cooking. The cause seems to be using raw or unpasteurized goats milk, so I recommend using only pasteurized milk in this recipe. When I'm able to get my hands on some raw goats milk, I promise I'll play around with the recipe and see if there's a way to fix this issue, but in the meantime, using pasteurized milk should prevent any issues.

Some of the goats milk can be replaced with cows milk for a slightly less tangy flavor, or all of it can be replaced to make a decadent cows milk dulce de leche.

Piloncillo is a form of unrefined brown sugar, and adds a little extra depth of flavor. It can be purchased in some specialty stores or online, or it can be substituted one-for-one with regular dark brown sugar, or other types of brown sugar like turbinado, muscovado, or even coconut sugar.

This recipe makes about 1½ cups of cajeta, which is great for someone like me with no willpower. If you want a bigger batch, the recipe can easily be doubled or trippled -- just keep in mind that the bigger the batch, the longer it will take to reduce.
Recipe by Will Cook For Friends at https://www.willcookforfriends.com/2015/02/homemade-cajeta-goats-milk-caramel.html