The use of cajeta in our house borders on the obsessive. It’s probably the only item with which we actually stock up our pantry. Es casi un pecado if my husband doesn’t have some for his pancakes.
What? You never thought of pouring some deliciously sweet, caramely cajeta over your pancakes? How about in your coffee? On a bagel? Spread on toast? Stuffed in crepes? Sprinkled over baked apples? As a topping for ice cream? Waffles? Churros con cajeta?
Cajeta is the name for a very sweet, caramel-like syrup prepared from goat’s milk in México. Many countries in Latin America have similar milk-based sweet spreads that go by the names of dulce de leche (Argentina, Uruguay..), arequipe (Colombia) and manjar blanco (Perú). The big difference is that, in México, cajeta is prepared with goat’s milk. This gives it a more complex depth and rich flavor. But in the end, it’s basically a sweet concoction made up of slowly heated milk with tons of sugar.
As you can imagine, Camila has already happily adopted this taste from her dad’s country. This is one tradition we won’t have a problem easing her into!
Just finding cajeta bottles to stock our pantry is a cultural adventure for us. Living in Los Angeles we have our good share of Latin food markets to choose from. We’ve grown fond of La Guadalupana Market on Sunset Blvd., in Echo Park, where we can always find a variety of cajeta, Salvadorean cream and Gansito snack cakes for the hubby and be greeted by a virgen in a well maintained altar at the front door. The walk back to the car is filled with the smells of tacos, hot dogs wrapped in bacon, corn, churros, pupusas and gorditas frying in oil. Ah, nothing like food to fill your soul with warm nostalgia!
Of course, I could avoid this cultural expedition by preparing my own cajeta at home. I will still find an excuse to head over to La Guadalupana, but considering the amount of cajeta that is consumed at my house, I prefer to make it with a recipe I found that has only natural ingredients and none of the nasty corn syrup that’s added to the commercial brands.
Maybe you just can’t find cajeta in your city and making it is your only option. You can also order it online. But, it’s truly really simple to make. You do need, however, about an hour’s worth of patience and time to constantly stir the pot.
Homemade Cajeta Recipe:
- 2 quarts of goat’s milk (if you have a hard time finding goat´s milk in nature foods stores, then you can substitute with cow´s milk or half goat´s/half cow´s)
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 vanilla bean split open or 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda, dissolved in one tablespoon water
For the complete recipe head over to My Mexican Recipes blog.
Now that you have some exquisite homemade cajeta, try using it to make:
6. Café con Cajeta–Our amiga bloguera, Lisa Renata, so shares my family’s passion for cajeta that she even named her blog My Family::Sabor Cajeta
She emailed me her recipe for some very sweet café con cajeta to share with you:
You brew your favorite coffee (I like mine decaf), add what ever amount of Cajeta you like (I normally squeeze away, about 3 teaspoons full, maybe more), then you can either add sweetened condensed milk like La Lechera (also to taste) or your favorite creamer. Mix away and disfruta!!
I have to admit my all-time favorite way to eat cajeta is by the spoonful!
Do you share my cajeta (or dulce de leche, arequipe, etc…) obsession? How do you like to eat it?