I didn’t know cajeta was any different from caramel (I stupidly thought it was a translation thing), but I somehow stumbled up this article/recipe and had a big ah-ha moment. Cajeta is a Celayan Mexican creation, basically a thickened syrup of reduced and sweetened goat’s milk. I love caramel of any sort, but was intrigued by a non-butter version. To be honest, I was a bit skeptical this would work but chemistry doesn’t lie and with very minimal attention, the goat’s milk caramelized to the perfect consistency and color. The topping can be added to just about any dessert, from cakes to ice cream to drinks. The taste is incredibly complex, almost mineral-y while also being satisfyingly sweet.
Add goat’s milk to a large, deep pot. Add empty vanilla bean, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Warm over medium heat, stirring or whisking occasionally, until sugar dissolves and milk begins to foam, about 15 minutes.
Continue cooking on low, stirring frequently, until milk is thick, golden, and reduced, about 45 minutes to 1 hour more. To test for done-ness, scrape a silicon spatula along the bottom of the pot and cajeta should remain split apart for about a second.
Remove from heat and empty into a glass jar. Refrigerate for up to 3 months.