Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mmmmmmilk! What to do with it...

So now that Firestone Creek has several girls in milk, it's time to come up with extra things to do with it all. On the website, anyone can find several recipes for using the milk in addition to those found in books and online. Of course, it's good to try the recipes yourself and make adjustments, sometimes combining various parts of recipes when it suits needs. The following recipe can be used to make cajetas--both syrup and candy--and sweetened condensed milk.

Mexican Cajeta
One treat that's always wonderful is Mexican cajeta. It can be made at any stage of goat lactation and can be cooked to various consistencies. It is extremely versatile and yummy!  

The following recipe was taken from Rikki Carroll's book Home Cheese Making. I have made a few modifications, including the addition of real vanilla and the option of cinnamon or chocolate. 

You will need:

2 tbsp cornstarch 
   1/4 tsp baking soda
3 quarts whole goat's milk
3 cups sugar      
    1 tsp vanilla   
 1 tsp cinnamon (if desired)
chocolate chips (if desired)

a tall pot (preferable with copper bottom)
a wooden spoon (for stirring)
a brush for washing the sides of the pot
wax paper / jars

To begin, dissolve the first two ingredients in a cup of the goat's milk and stir to remove any lumps. Any you find can be flattened with a spoon and whisked a bit to make sure the three have blended properly. Next,add the remaining milk to the pot along with the dissolved ingredients above and the sugar.

CONTINUE TO STIR as you bring mixture to a boil. 

NOTE: When you reach boiling, the mixture will foam quickly and may breach the top of the pot, making a huge mess and possibly burning someone. BE CAREFUL! It is boiling! Remove from heat temporarily if necessary to avoid boiling over.

Lower the heat just enough to keep a steady boil going, but continue to stir. The mixture will continue to reduce as it boils. This does take some time, but it is worth the wait! After an hour, the mixture should look something like this photo. For a darker cajeta, use brown sugar (light or dark) instead of white sugar. Dark would be more traditional Mexican since it is much more like piloncillo. The brown sugars lend a richer, deeper taste, while the white sugar tastes more like what one would find in commercial cajeta candy. 

When the mixture has reduced enough to thicken  to a dense liquid (as seen in video below), slowly add the additional vanilla.
At this point, it can be saved in jars for several weeks in the refrigerator and used in place of sweetened condensed milk in many recipes for pasteles like dulce de leche. 

To make traditional cajeta, continue to stir and thicken the mixture until it is the consistency of caramel. If cinnamon is desired, it may be added at this point. One could also melt chocolate chips into the mixture, giving it a chocolate-caramel taste.  Allow it to cool slightly and pour carefully into warmed jars (place them in a hot water bath to avoid cracking when pouring the cajeta into them). 

One can continue cooking the cajeta past this point to make candy. 
 Cooked to the firm ball stage, 245-250 degrees (use a candy thermometer), one will have lovely cajeta caramels. Simply spread the mixture out onto greased foil to cool, and then they can be easily cut into sections, shaped, and rolled up in wax paper for easy servings.

One can also make taffy by cooking a little longer or even lollipops by taking the mixture to hard crack stage. To avoid crystalization, add some butter, cream of tartar, or corn syrup when you add the initial ingredients. Wash down the sides of the pot frequently with a brush, too. Both of these will help keep the 'graininess' out of the candy.

Hint, hint!

After one has so much cajeta, what does one do with it? One muy delicioso way to eat cajeta is over vanilla ice cream. Make fresh ice cream or ice milk from your own goat's milk (of course) or buy some. Warm the cajeta syrup in the microwave until smooth and flowing, and then pour this over the ice cream. Top that off with a few sprinkles of flaked sea salt and oooohhh... delicioso!


  1. Oh Man!! Was lucky enough to try this recipe, You cant go wrong... Spooned this over some Vanilla Ice Cream... Recommend!!
    The only drawback to this, is when you eat the last drop...

  2. I am glad you enjoyed it, John! :) It is absolutely yummy over vanilla ice cream. My son tried to have some for breakfast this morning!