Fat Toad Farm’s Original Caramel won first place in the “Confection” category at the recent 2009 American Dairy Goat Association Competition in Buffalo, N.Y. The national competition features goats’ milk products from cheese to butter to confections.
Fat Toad Farm is a goat dairy in Brookfield run by family members Steve Reid, Judith Irving, Calley and Josey Hastings. Besides the goats’ milk caramel, they specialize in making fresh goat cheeses.
The caramel is sold throughout New England while the cheese is available in Vermont. Both are available through mail order on the Fat Toad Farm web site.
The inspiration for making the caramel came from Josey, who lives in Mexico part time. Caramel sauce, or cajeta, is a traditional and common confection found all over Mexico.
Four years ago, Josey brought home recipe ideas for the caramel and encouraged the family to try them out. What started as a few batches made in the family kitchen is now a business. Today, the family makes three handstirred batches of caramel a week in their new cheese/caramel production room.
The main ingredient in the caramel is goats’ milk from the farm’s 24 milking Saanen and Alpine goats. Organic sugar is added to the milk and the mixture is simmered for four hours until it is a rich, golden, bubbly sauce. It is then bottled and hot water processed. Besides the original flavor, the caramel comes in three other varieties – vanilla bean, coffee bean and cinnamon.