Homemade Cardamom Cajeta with Vanilla Ice Cream and Pistachios

homemade cardamom cajeta with vanilla ice cream and pistachios 2

I am seriously distracted these days.

No, more like preoccupied really.

Lots of changes are in the works here in our small corner of the Pacific Northwest.

In little more than a month now, my husband and I will be picking up our little life and moving it 1,259 miles south to a place called San Diego.

Turning to a new chapter in Christopher and I’s book and starting the very first paragraph of it.

Small Kitchen Chronicles will likely find a new home in an equally small square-footed kitchen (albeit in a much sunnier place).

Image from CutestPaw.Com

Image from CutestPaw.Com

And I’m so ready, I can’t wait.  Yet truth be told the planner in me is staring at all the unknowns and having a low-grade panic attack.

Along with working out the logistics of it with the movers and shakers, I’ve also been in the middle of a whole ton of self reflection.

You know, trying to figure out the little things like, what I want to be when I grow up or what my good friend, Shawn, and I call The Next Big Idea.

Image from Blog.ThePitaGroup.Com

Image from Blog.ThePitaGroup.Com

Let’s just say it’s been slow going.

It hasn’t left much mental or emotional energy to want to cook anything more than a pot of spaghetti.

But one can’t take over the world on pasta alone.

Enter our friend, Cajeta.

cardamom cajeta

The goat milk Mexican cousin of Dulce de Leche, if you’ve never heard of him, you’ll soon wonder why he’s been out of your life for so long.

Putting plain ol’ run-of-the-mill caramel sauce to shame, alone, he’s pretty tough to beat but flanked by cardamom and the glorious pistachio, vanilla ice cream never had it so good.

And if you don’t like caramel, hold my hand and try this anyway.  I’ll be willing to bet you’ll be licking your spoon in no time.

So here’s to Change and to What’s Around the Bend.  Whatever that may be.

‘Cause at the very least, I know there’s a whole lot of sunshine waiting for me.

And as the very wise Price Pritchett once said:

Change always comes bearing gifts.


homemade cardamom cajeta with vanilla ice cream and pistachios 2

Homemade Cardamom Cajeta with Vanilla Ice Cream and Pistachios

Inspired by America’s Test Kitchen

Makes about 1 1/2 cups cajeta and lots of yummy sundaes

For Cardamom Cajeta

4 cups goat milk
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/2 scant teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

For Serving

high-quality vanilla ice cream
raw pistachios

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat — using a rubber, heat-proof spatula — combine goat milk, turbinado sugar, vanilla extract, sea salt and cinnamon stick together and bring to boil, stirring often to prevent milk from burning.

Remove saucepan from heat and while stirring quickly, very carefully add prepared baking soda solution.

Note:  Once you do this, mixture will look like it’s going to foam out of the saucepan — as scary as this seems, don’t panic!  Stir quickly as you add the baking soda solution until foaming subsides and heart rate returns to normal.

After mixture has stopped foaming, return saucepan to heat and lower heat to where mixture is simmering rapidly.  Add ground cardamom and stir well.

Cook at this consistent rapid simmer for approximately 30-40 minutes — stirring often and adjusting heat as necessary to maintain rapid simmer — until cajeta is caramel-colored and thickly coats the back of a serving spoon.

Remove from heat, discard cinnamon stick and carefully pour cajeta into a Ball canning jar (cajeta will be hot).  Allow to cool at room temperature completely before covering with lid and refrigerating.

Note:  If you do not have a Ball canning jar handy, feel free to use any small, heat and microwave-safe container.

When ready to serve, remove cajeta from refrigerator, remove metal lid and warm in microwave at 30 second increments — stirring in between — until cajeta reaches desired temperature and consistency.

Serve cajeta over scoops of vanilla ice cream with plenty of raw pistachios sprinkled on top.


35 thoughts on “Homemade Cardamom Cajeta with Vanilla Ice Cream and Pistachios

  1. This looks so delicious Christina! I have never worked with this product before but now am so excited to try! Beautiful post. And very exciting about your upcoming move! San Diego is such a beautiful place – I am sure you will love your new digs! Best of luck with the mood!

    • Thanks, Lindsay! So glad you enjoyed the post and recipe, and thank you for the kind well-wishes. It IS very exciting =) I think the key is to not get too ahead of oneself and just enjoy the journey. And focus too on that California sunshine that’ll be mine in just over a month 😉 Ahhh!

      Hope all is well, lovely; thanks so much for stopping by!


  2. Wow, that looks so delicious Christina. Such a beautiful color too! I’m interested in making this recipe too. I’ve never tried cardamom before, can you believe it!? Congrats so much on your new adventure too…that’s so exciting. San Diego. Wow! Such a beautiful city!!

    • Hi, Brandi! You know, I can believe it! There are just so many wonderful ingredients and spices in the world, how can one possibly have tried them all? I takes a delicious lifetime. Cardamom totally blew my mind (in the very best way, I might add) when I first tried it, and I have loved it ever since. I think I have the same kind of love for it that you have for cinnamon =) I am excited to hear what you think of this very awesome, fragrant spice! Lemme know =)

      And thank you for the sweet well-wishes! Super excited and yes, I have heard that! Awesome!


  3. Woo San Diego!! A lot of my extended family lives in LA so I have a soft spot for southern California. Say goodbye to rain and hello to sunshine!! That’s exciting–best of luck with the big move!

    And YUM–I think I’ve tried cajeta once, out of a plastic jug from a Mexican supermarket but I can only imagine how heavenly this homemade version would be! You had me at “homemade” 🙂 I love the colors of the pistachios against the cajeta/ice cream!

    • Erika! How are you, lovely? What a small world re: your extended family! Yes, I am bidding adieu that that rain in advance and stocking up on that sunscreen 😉 Not to mention, the Greek in me can’t wait for that vitamin D, ha!

      And yes, cajeta! Thank you, girl! The homemade kind really can’t be beat, but I was giggling at the image of you standing in a market aisle glugging down some cajeta and it made me smile — love it! =)

      Have a great weekend, Erika; always great hearing from you!


    • Yes, indeed! And it is so much better than the canned/store-bought kind. Worth the effort and, yes, the cardamom just takes it over the top in deliciousness. If you do end up making this, please stop by on by and let me know how you liked it =)

      Thanks so much for stopping by and for all the kind well-wishes, Johnny; I really appreciate it =)

  4. I’ve made cajeta once and it wasn’t so orange. Is that photoshop?
    Thanks for reminding me to make it again. I like the additions of cardamom and cinnamon!

  5. Buddy, this looks ridiculously delicious! And yes, change will bring many tasty ripe fruits for you to pick off the tree and enjoy! Looking forward to spending some time down in San Diego visiting too! Much love!

    • Thanks, brother! And thank you for the encouragement, Nikolaki; I really appreciate it (and the wonderful analogy). Can’t wait for you to come visit; I think I see a beach volleyball game for us in the near future … 😉

      Huggy huggums and much love back!

  6. Yay you will love San Diego! Been living in this great city for about 3 years now though I’ve been in SoCal all my life. Amazing restaurants here too! You will love eating through Gaslamp Quarter. Your cajeta looks so lovely. I usually use rum as a flavoring, but I think I’ll try your spice mix when I make it next. Last time I made it, I gave the rest of the jar to my mom. So addicting. Hope your moving goes well! Are you moving close to the beach?

    • Samantha, I didn’t know you lived in San Diego! That’s awesome; we should meet up. Let me know if you’d like to and lets!

      You know, I’ve heard about the Gaslamp Quarter; apparently, lots of good Italian food to be had there =) You better believe it’s on my list, lol.

      And re: cajeta, I know right?! I was not even a fan of caramel sauce but once I tried cajeta, it was no turning back =)

      You know, we’re not quite sure yet where we’re moving to exactly, but we do have a list of areas we want to avoid, so that’s a start =) Once we arrive in SD, we plan on spending at least a good day driving around doing recon before starting the official search. Send good energy out for us, soon-to-be-neighbor!


  7. Hi Christina–
    How exciting about your move! You will absolutely love San Diego! My husband is from there and loves it (he is a serious San Diego Chargers fan).

    As for the cajeta, it looks absolutely delicious. I will definitely have to try it, although I have to admit, I’ve never actually shopped for goat’s milk before, but change (and new ingredients) do always come bearing gifts, yes?

    All the best on your new adventure!

    • Thank you so much, Rose; I really appreciate that =) I cannot wait; just less than a month now!

      You know re: the goat milk, I too had never shopped for it before I made my bread pudding but I am now such a fan. It really is delicious and amazingly, quite like cow milk, just creamier tasting. And yes, change and new ingredients always come bearing gifts =)

      Big hugs, Rose; so great to hear from you. Have a wonderful weekend!


  8. Hi beautiful Christina! Argh, a move always creates feelings of apprehension, even if it will be to a beautiful new place like San Diego. I hope that the remaining plans will go smoothly and that you’ll soon feel right at home in your new (small!) kitchen.
    As for the cajeta – argh, I am such a huge fan. I’ve only made dulce de leche for myself though. I’ve never purchased goats milk, though I eat a ton of goats cheese! Yours looks beautiful. I’m going to track down some goats milk and give it a go.
    Thinking of you in the lead up to your move! Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve visited your beautiful space here. I’ve got lots of lovely recipes to catch up on.
    Huge hugs to you xoxo

    • Oh, Laura, thank you so much! You always leave such thoughtful and considered comments. Thank you for thinking of me. The plans/preparations leading up to the move are going well; I think it’s the anticipation, really, that is the hardest =)

      Re: the cajeta, I am so with you! I am not a big fan of anything sweet (prefer salty over sweet anytime), but this cajeta with the addition of cardamom just takes the cake. Throw in some vanilla ice cream and pistachios with it and it seriously makes me reconsider my preferences! Please let me know how you like it, if you decide to give it a whirl =)

      No worries at all about being a stranger, lovely, it is difficult for me to visit all of my “food sisters” regularly too; it’s just wonderful that you stop on by whenever you can =)

      Big hugs back, Laura! xo!

      • Yeah I can definitely understand re the anticipation. I’ll be thinking of you as things progress!

        I am sure that you and Chris will soon be safely tucked into your very new “home” (as opposed to house!) in San Diego. And whenever adjustment difficulties hit, you can just sit down, breathe, and eat a nice big bowl of ice cream, pistachios and cajeta! I say that because Aaron was having a meltdown last night… he’s an animator, and his computer program crashed so he lost some of his work. He came into the living room with a sad face so we both just snuggled on the couch for a while and ate some chocolate. Though it can’t “fix” everything, sometimes love and a sweet treat can make things just that tiny bit better!
        You’re a treasured blogging sister xo

      • Thank you; you’re thoughts are much appreciated! =)

        And you are so right, Laura, thought it can’t “fix” everything, sometimes love and a sweet treat can make things just that tiny bit better =) Well, well said.

        Big hug, lovely, thank you for being wonderful you =)


  9. Pingback: Bourbon Poached Pear Bread Pudding. – What Clark Cooked

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