Mexican caramel candy, otherwise known as cajeta or dulce de leche, is very versatile. It tastes like caramel but Mexican caramel candy is made by cooking sweetened milk rather than cooking sugar. It is simple to make. Cajeta is usually made with goat’s milk but you can use cow’s milk if you prefer.
Mexican caramel candy is used as a topping for breads, pastries, or fried bananas, as a filling for candy or cakes or it can be eaten alone. It is also a popular flavoring for ice cream, both in Mexico and throughout the United States. The cinnamon used in this Mexican caramel candy recipe gives it a subtle, delicate flavor.
- Cornstarch 2 teaspoons
- Baking Soda ½ teaspoon
- Cow’s Milk 6 cups
- Goat Milk (or use 12 cups Cow’s Milk if goat milk not available) 6 cups
- Sugar 3 cups
- Stick (cinnamon) 1 canela
- In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch and the soda in two cups of cow’s milk. Heat the reaming 10 cups of milk in a very large heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil.. Add the cornstarch and soda mixture to the boiling milk.
- Add the sugar and cinnamon stick and continue cooking, stirring with wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and you can see the bottom of the pan clearly. This process will take about one hour, during which tie the mixture will cook down. Cool and store in covered jars. Cajeta will keep indefinitely if refrigerated.
There are very few countries that can claim an assortment of candies as broad and delicious as Mexico’s. Mexican “sweets” (they aren’t actually all sweet) come in a variety of surprising textures and exquisite flavors. Traditional Mexican candies and sweets, in general, have a long timeline in Mexican culture—making them an even more integral and valuable part of the nation’s heritage.
Something you may not realize is that chocolate actually originated in Mexico. The Aztec people believed that the cacao plant was a gift from the tree of life, given to them by the god Quetzalcoatl. They used the bean as currency. They also made a drink out of it; however, they used spices instead of the sugar Europeans would use to make hot chocolate. The Aztecs mixed in different spices, such as chili peppers, to give the bitter bean mixture some flavor. Mexican chocolate to this day still contains a variety of spices. It is also often used as an ingredient in other dishes, rather than being consumed on its own.