“This is my own take on the classic Mexican milk caramel, cajeta. Whereas cajeta is typically made with a blend of bovine and goat's milk with cane sugar, I opt for regular old cow products, and use powdered instead of regular sugar, as the cornstarch and fine texture help cut down on cooking time. Nevertheless, this is a very time consuming project, and the exact amount of time it takes is highly variable, specific to the particular kitchen and equipment being used. I advise you to have the stove going with a little workstation to the side in the kitchen, stirring the pot in spurts between working on your novel or painting your self portrait. Also, the spice blend I include gives the finished product a notable rootbeer aftertaste, but you can adjust the spices to your liking. This is a very large recipe that I used to make all my Christmas batches, but it halves, quarters, and otherwise subdivides quite well - just cut down on cooking time.”
READY IN:
4hrs 5mins
YIELD:
2 qt
UNITS:
US

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Sterilize all your equipment - spoons, jars, pots, etc, ahead of time. It's important all of your tools be absolutely clean.
  2. Assemble your spices, and using either a coffee filter or a bit of cheesecloth, make a sachet.
  3. In a very large pot (preferably one with slightly thicker sides that will distribute the heat better) combine the milk, sugar, and vanilla, and drop in the spice sachet. Put it on a low heat, and bring it just barely to a boil, occasionally stirring, and being careful not to scald the milk.
  4. Once you can see bubbles rising, remove the pot from heat. Combine the baking soda with a little water, and add it to the pot, stirring it no more than once to incorporate. Allow the bubbles to subside.
  5. Put the pot back over a low heat, and keep it just barely at a simmer, stirring occasionally (this step will take at least a couple of hours, and likely more), and ensuring the mixture does not burn.
  6. When the mixture turns a rich mocha color and becomes more difficult to stir, remove the sachet, and increase the heat (but not enough to burn it). At this point you will begin stirring more frequently, and you will have to keep a closer eye on the pot.
  7. The mixture will soon become viscous and develop a caramel color. At this point you can test it by letting a drop fall into a glass of cold water. If it coalesces into a solid ball, the cajeta is ready. Here, you can take the cajeta off the heat and it will flow as a gooey syrup, or if you want something more solid, keep it over the heat until you can almost "slap" the surface of the cajeta with a spoon.
  8. Allow the cajeta to cool, then pour into glass containers. Serve it warmed over ice cream, with fruit, in milk, on your greedy fingers, etc.

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