I drink my coffee black. I’m always surprised at the reactions that this elicits. In a deli in Yonkers, the guy behind the counter asked if I had had a “rough night” after I turned down milk and sugar even after the second time he asked. Nope. I am also not on a diet. Even at Dunkin’ Donuts, the temple of “light and sweet” coffee, I break their hearts and ask for my coffee black.
This is all a round-about apology for that fact that I’m not crazy about a certain seasonal coffee drink that gets a lot of play this time of year. I simply prefer a coffee and a treat over a coffee that is a treat. (Although, I can certainly support a D.I.Y version.) Pumpkin spice cajeta, a goat’s milk caramel with warm fall spices, keeps both the latte lovers and haters happy. Of course, you could stir this into a caffeinated beverage, but I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t consume the entire jar with just a spoon. There aren’t enough superfluous food adjectives to describe how great this stuff is.
After an ill-fated attempt at cajeta pudding that ended with curdled, scalding goat’s milk spraying from my blender, I had a fierce, unfulfilled cajeta craving. I remedied that with a fall riff on this goat’s milk caramel recipe from Rick Bayless. If you’re a little caramel-shy because of the whole burning sugar thing, this caramel is made from cooking the milk and sugar low and slow until the liquid reduces and caramelizes. In other words, no hot sugar.