Homemade candies are welcomed any time of year but especially around the holidays. These lovely chocolates—along with other gluten-free recipes—will be part of The Spunky Coconut’s Easter holiday roundup.
♫ Halloween’s coming. Halloween’s coming.
Skeleton’s are after you. Witches, cats, and big black cats.
Ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo. Boo! ♫
This little Halloween song pops into my mind about mid-way through October along with the memory of my son and his kindergarten class singing it their spine-chilling best. Each child was adorned in a special costume—as Batman, Cinderella, maybe a skeleton or two—and each was earnestly trying to raise the hair on the back of our necks.
I just love Halloween! And, I love cajeta!
Cajeta is very much like the beloved Dulce de Leche - a carmelized milk confection. It can be made with cow milk, goat milk or a combination of the two. Traditionallly, though, it’s a Mexican treat made with goat milk and sugar. So, lucky me! I can eat it. I’ve been drooling over an abundance of blogger and twitter discussion of salted caramels and dulce de leche for months now. Finally, I came across this delicious wonder called cajeta and can satisy the craving. Woohoo!
So, here’s how you can make Salted Cajeta Chocolates. Fitting for Halloween, don’t you think?
Salted Cajeta Chocolates
This is really more instructional than a recipe. In the spirit of Halloween just have fun with it and use your imagination.
Dark chocolate - either bits or a chopped chocolate bar. About 8 ounces for 12 candies. I like to use Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips.
Cajeta - or alternatively dulce de leche or caramel sauce. About 1/2 cup.
Marshmallow - optional. About 4 or 5 large marshmallows.
Coarse sea salt. Less than a teaspoon.
You’ll also need a candy mold that should be available at your local craft store for a nominal price (less than $3.00). I used a peanut butter cup mold for the one in the pictures above and a silcone mold (for brownie bites, I’d guess) for the larger one pictured to the right.
You’re going to work with the chocolate in small batches. Pour the chopped chocolate or chocolate bits—about 1/4 to 1/3 cup at a time—into a small dish. Microwave for 30 seconds. Remove, stir slightly, and microwave again for another 30 seconds. Remove and stir again. If, after you’ve stirred them for about 30 seconds the second time, they seem to be all melted then you’re ready to go. If not give them another 15-30 seconds in the microwave. That’s really all it takes.
If you have a small demitasse or baby spoon get it out because they work great. Place about a spoonful of the melted chocolate in the bottom center of one of the indentations in the mold. Using the tip of the spoon (or the small end of the handle), working from the center out, move the chocolate toward the outside and up the sides of the cup. Push it only to the top of the cup and stop. Work your way around the mold. Repeat for all the cups - you may need to prepare more chocolate or warm up the chocolate in the dish if you’re working slowly.
Place the mold in the refrigerator until the chocolate is set - maybe 10-15 minutes.
If you choose to use marshmallow and cajeta you’ll layer the marshmallow first and then cajeta so use the bigger mold (the silicone brownie bites mold). Place the marshmallows in a shallow bowl with a teaspoon or two of water. Microwave them for 30-60 seconds, stir and stir and stir and stir. The marshmallow will become more workable as you stir it but it’s still crazy difficult because it’s so sticky. You may need to warm it up several times while working with it.
Skip this step if you’re not using marshmallow. Remove the chocolate mold from the refrigerator. Spoon a little dollop of marshmallow into the bottom center of the cup. You’ll need to leave room for the cajeta and chocolate topping. Take care to keep the marshmallow to the center and avoid getting it along the top edge of the chocolate cups—no small feat since it will be somewhat stringy. Finish all the cups this way.
Next gently heat (again in the microwave) the prepared cajeta so that it is slightly warm and will pour.
A word about the cajeta—I used the cajeta my sister made for me from her very own goat milk. And, I’m proud to say it won an award at this year’s American Dairy Goat Association Convention! I’ve made my own cajeta using this recipe from Homesick Texan. Cajeta is time consuming but easy to make. Just follow the directions exactly. Cajeta is available pre-made at some Mexican groceries.
Pour or spoon the cajeta into the molds leaving about 1/8 inch space so there’s room for the chocolate topping. Again take care to pour it into the center and avoid spilling it along the top edge of the chocolate cups. With the edge of your spoon smooth it toward the edges of the cup as you would a pie filling.
Melt additional chocolate and place a dollop on top of the cajeta. Smooth the dollop out and to the edge gently until it reaches the edges and seals in the cajeta. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on the top. Repeat with all cups.
Return the mold to the refrigerator until the chocolates are set—at least a half-hour. Remove and invert over a piece of paper towel or parchment paper. Carefully press each cup out of the mold. The chocolates store and look very nice nestled in mini-cupcake liners. The more you handle them the more likely you are to get fingerprints on them—just a tip!
I store the Salted Cajeta Chocolates in the fridge or freezer.