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Homemade Cajeta (caramel) recipe, an easy homemade dessert sauce in 3 Flavors! I volunteered to host a women’s night out at my house in April and thought I’d get a head start on the food. I decided on a “dessert night” and the main attraction will be a Fried Ice Cream Sundae Bar. I love making “fried” ice cream and it always gets rave reviews! It’s so easy to make and you can make it ahead of time which is my kind of recipe! But more on the ice cream and other treats at a later date, because I haven’t even gotten that far yet! :)
To me the best part of a sundae bar is the sauces! So many possibilities, so little time! I decided to make a huge batch of homemade Cajeta (caramel) and turn it into 3 different kinds – Vanilla, Dark Mocha, and Amaretto. I’ve made versions of this recipe several time before and since it takes awhile to make, I make a huge batch and freeze it.
It’s not only great on ice cream, it’s great over cake, great to dip fruit in, great to make frosting out of, and I could keep going, but I’ll stop now! If you have a big enough pot (or 2 large pots) definitely consider making a big batch (or half the recipe if you don’t want that much).
I adapted this recipe from Rick Bayless’ recipe. Check out his cookbooks, restaurants, and website! I LOVE Rick Bayless and I’m a huge fan! I took his recipe, made a few changes and put my own spin on it by with the three different flavors. I have so many other ideas for other flavors that it was probably a good idea that I ran out of Cajeta!
I did a few things different than the original recipe. I cooked the cajeta over a higher heat (medium-high rather than medium), partly because I was making a lot and I was trying to get the cajeta to a simmer quicker (just be sure to stir or whisk regularly so that the bottom doesn’t burn).
The original recipe also says to simmer for about an hour. It always takes me a lot longer than that. It usually takes me anywhere from 2-5 hours depending on how much I want it to reduce, size of the pan I’m using, and how well I can maintain the simmer. I also used ground cinnamon rather than a cinnamon stick because that’s generally what I have on hand, but a cinnamon stick would work great if you have it!
I like to use half cow’s milk and half goat’s milk for the homemade cajeta. The goat’s milk give the cajeta a slightly tangy taste.
You can usually find goat’s milk in the refrigerated section by the cow’s milk but you can also sometimes find canned goat’s milk in the baking aisle near sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk. I have used both the canned and refrigerated and they both work well. I use whatever milk I can find or what I have on hand and need to use up! The taste may vary time-to-time, but it’s all good! Hope you enjoy your homemade cajeta!
Homemade Cajeta - 3 flavors!
(for different flavors, see notes below)
- Whisk together goat’s milk, cow’s milk, sugar, and cinnamon in a VERY large pot (mixture should be no more than halfway up side of pot. If it’s more than halfway up, make in batches, larger pot, or 2 pots). Place pot over medium-high heat. Whisk mixture regularly until mixture comes to a simmer.
- In small bowl mix together baking soda and water until well combined. Remove pot from heat and slowly whisk in baking soda. Mixture will bubble up, so be careful that it does not go over side of pot. When the bubbles/foam subside, place pot back over medium-high heat. Bring back to a simmer and adjust heat as needed; stir regularly. NOTE: Be careful because if the temperature is too high the mixture will boil over.
- Cook Cajeta about 2-3 hours or more until reduced to desired thickness and color is deep brown. Pour Cajeta through a sieve if desired to catch any particles on bottom of pan. Store Cajeta in sealed containers in refrigerator (for up to a month) or in the freezer (for at least a few months). Reheat Cajeta in pan or microwave before serving.
- To flavor the Cajeta, divide the basic Cajeta into different containers before adding the flavorings. My Cajeta was 9 cups, so I divided it into 3 (3 cup) containers. But if you have a different amount of Cajeta, just adjust the flavorings a little. You can’t mess it up; it will taste great regardless!
DARK MOCHA CAJETA:
To 3 cups hot Cajeta, stir in 3 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon of instant coffee until cocoa and coffee granules are dissolved.
To 3 cups hot Cajeta, stir in 1 tablespoon good quality vanilla extract.
To 3 cups hot Cajeta, stir in 1/3 cup Amaretto until well combined.
SNAPPY TIPS: Make sure you keep an eye on the Cajeta while it’s on the stove and stir regularly. If the temperature isn’t quite right it can boil over.
SNAPPY SUBSTITUTIONS: I’m sure any combination of goat’s and cow’s milk would work fine. I used heavy cream, skim milk, and goat’s milk because that’s what I had on hand. I have used all sorts of combinations and although the taste may differ, it’s all good! Instead of Amaretto you could use any of your favorite liqueurs. Instead of dark cocoa powder you can also use regular unsweetened cocoa powder.