I’ve made caramel sauce roughly a dozen times, all within the last couple of years. I never ventured to make it before that. I like to serve it over strawberries, blueberries, fruit salad, non-dairy frozen desserts, or goat cheese cake.
For my birthday last year I served it over Vanilla Ice Dream (my non-dairy, low sugar, stevia and honey sweetened ice cream alternative from my Ice Dream Cookbook) with Calli’s Fruit Cocktail Cake (a gluten-free cake made with coconut flour that I created for an article for Living Without Magazine). Funny thing was that by the time we got to the dessert course, I was pretty well satisfied with the grassfed meat-based tacos and veggies I’d eaten and the caramel I’d made tasted too sweet to me. Maybe I’ll try it with less honey and more coconut milk the next time around, modeling it on a traditional Cajeta-style sauce.
Photo credit: Rachel Albert ©2009
Speaking of Cajeta, I just tried the first bottled caramel sauce I’ve eaten in more than two decades. This one didn’t come from a store. It came from a small, family-owned and operated farm in Vermont where Judith Urving, her husband Steve, and their two daughters raise goats on pasture.
I also like knowing where my food came from. I buy some things (okay, many things) from supermarkets and natural foods stores––just like you…but if I can get something directly from the farmer, I like that even more. I like supporting people who make artisan food products on a small scale using simple, easy to pronounce ingredients that you could easily acquire if you wanted to make the products yourself.
When I reard about Fat Toad Farm’s Goat Milk Caramel (Cajeta) on another blog, I knew wanted to try it. It sounded similar to the immensely thick and creamy confection I sampled on a trip to Mexico as a young child.
What is Cajeta?
“Cajeta is a Mexican confection of thickened syrup usually made of sweetened caramelized milk. According to chef Rick Bayless, the name for cajeta came from the Spanish phrase al punto de cajeta, which means a liquid thickened to the point at which a spoon drawn through the liquid reveals the bottom of the pot in which it is being cooked. However, it is more popularly assumed that it takes its name from the small wooden boxes it was traditionally packed in. Mexican cajeta is considered a specialty of and popularly associated with the city of Celaya in the state of Guanajuato, although it is also produced with the traditional method in several towns of the state of Jalisco, such as Mazamitla and Sayula.” — Wikipedia
What I like about it
- It comes from a small, family-run dairy in Vermont rather than a factory.
- Buying it supports a small family farms run by people doing what they love doing.
- It’s made from goat milk rather than cow’s milk (no rBGH).
- The milk comes from happy goats rotationally grazed on pasture land.
- It’s less sweeten than conventional confections, such as dulce de leche.
- It comes in four flavors: Original, Vanilla Bean, Cinnamon, and Coffee Bean.
- It’s slow simmmered for six hours, which gives it depth. (Slow food beats fast food.)
- It’s made from simple ingredients (you could make it at home, if you wanted to):
Goat milk’s the first ingredient, followed by organic sugar, organic cornstarch, and baking soda. Cinnamon Caramel contains organic cinnamon sticks. Vanilla Bean Caranel contains vanilla beans. Coffee Bean Caramel contains Fair Trade coffee beans. (Real stuff, not extracted flavorings.) Yes, it contains refined sugar, which is, strictly speaking not a whole food, not paleo nor primal, but it’s better (in my book) than isolated fructose or high fructose corn syrup and it contains less sugar than conventional dessert sauces. I consider this an acceptable treat.
I tried it!
I tried Vanilla Bean and Cinnamon. Of the two, Vanilla Bean was my favorite. On the first try I though the sauces were good. The second time, I thought they were even better. By the third try I was sold! This stuff isn’t for everyone! If you’re used to syrupy sweet sauces you may find it lacking. However, if you’ve been cutting back on sugar and other concentrated sweeteners and you’re looking for a less sweet alternative to conventional dessert sauces, if you’re into primal, or practially paleo eating, I think you’ll dig it! It has a subtle but satisfying sweetness I like.
Photo credit: Rachel Albert ©2009
A lower sugar alternative
The people at Fat Toad Farrm explain that “While standard caramel sauces are based on sugar (often times high fructose corn syrup) with very little dairy, cajeta is primarily a dairy based product. As a result, our caramel is incredibly creamy and is not as intensely sweet as conventional caramel sauces.”
I tried it over Vanilla Ice Dream, Chocolate Ice Dream, and over plain yogurt with fresh fruit. I’m thinking of trying it as a dip for apples or a drizzle for poached pears. It would make a great frosting for bittersweet brownies. I’m sure it would be great over gluten-free waffles or pancakes with berries or other fresh fruits. I have a couple of recipes I’ve been meaning to try.
An 8-ounce jar of their sauce sell for $8.95. You can buy it directly from the farm. If you’re looking for different ways to use their sauces, check out their list of the Top Ten Ways to eat Cajeta. They also offer a list of recipes on their blog that could easily be adapted to fit a gluten-free, lower-sugar diet.
Win a bottle of Fat Toad Farm Caramel?
Here’s your chance. Enter as many times as you like. Increase your odds, tell your friends about it. Two lucky winners will receive this delicious artisan product.
Rules for entering
1) Leave a comment below telling me your favorite way to serve caramel sauce or what you would do with it if you won a jarful or which flavor you’d like to win.
To receive bonus entries, spread the word about my blog and this giveaway:
(select as many of the following as you like):
2) Watch one of my YouTube videos (maybe the Coffee Ice Dream recipe) and leave a comment about it below
3) Subscribe to my YouTube page and leave a comment about that below
3) Subscribe to my blog (link halfway down this page on the left) and leave a comment telling me you subscribed
4) Publicize the giveaway, then leave a comment about what you did, for example
a) Tweet about the giveaway with a link to my blog
b) blog about the giveaway and leave the link
c) announce the giveaway on Facebook and send me a link
d) mention the giveaway to your family and friends
e) come up with your own creative idea
5) do any or all of the above; just be sure to post a separate comment below for each action you take
Deadline: Midnight, Thursday, November 18th, 2010.
Selection criteria: Random drawing
Limitations: Drawing open only to US residents due to shipping restrictions.