Fat Toad Farm Caramel Sauce
We hear more and more about goat's milk as a popular alternative to cow's milk - cheese, yogurt, caramel - caramel? At Fat Toad Farm in Vermont, they love goats and caramel. This family of farmers have spent the last 10 years perfecting the recipe for their caramel sauce - velvety smooth, rich and creamy. So special are these sauces that they have been nominated for Good Food Awards twice and were winners in 2016. I asked family member Calley Hastings more about what makes their sauces and business special...(continue on to learn more about the giveaway too!)
How is goat's milk caramel different from other caramel?
Our goat’s milk caramel claims its traditional roots as a Mexican confection called cajeta. When there was no refrigeration and excess milk, adding sugar to the milk and boiling the two simple ingredients for several hours was a way to preserve the milk and create a tasty treat. The cooked milk and sugar were stored in small wooden boxes (also known as cajetas) and eaten throughout the year. Our goat’s milk caramel (or cajeta) is based on this traditional recipe. We cook fresh local goat’s milk and pure cane sugar in large copper pots over high heat for 5 hours until much of the water has evaporated, it has turned a delicious deep brown color and is ready to put into jars. So though we refer to our product as caramel it is a very different process than standard caramel recipes that take sugar, butter and cream and cook for much less time and have a different chemical process that occurs to caramelize the sugars.
How has your experience as a working farm influenced your process and product?
For the first 8 years of our business we ran both a goat dairy and a caramel business. We grew our herd of goats from 4 sweet ladies to a herd of 80. During this time we learned the fluctuations in the milk throughout the seasons and learned to adapt our caramel recipe as needed. Milk is an ever-evolving food that reflects the feed the animals are given, as well as seasonal changes among other factors. Having a hand in every step of the process from early morning milkings, to caramel stirring, to shipping our product from our farm store allowed all of us at the farm to develop a unique relationship to the entire process of turning sun, water and soil into feed, given to the goats in exchange for milk that we then turned into delicious caramel sauces to send to all of our customers.
We sold our herd of goats last year to an amazing farm called Ayers Brook goat dairy in Randolph, owned by Vermont Creamery, that is located just a few minutes down the road. We now buy milk from Vermont Creamery, back from Ayers Brook as well as from a few other local goat dairies and continue to make our caramel on site.
What is the most challenging part of the caramel making process? What part do you enjoy the most?
The most challenging aspect of caramel making is managing all the changes that come through the seasonal changes in the milk. We adapt the recipe frequently throughout the year to maintain consistent flavor, color and texture. The most enjoyable part is creating new recipes and flavors and then finding the best businesses to collaborate with like our Vermont Maple with Cold Hollow Cider, Spicy Dark Chocolate with Taza Chocolate and Cold Brew Coffee with Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea Company.
How does Vermont and the New England region influence your business and products?
Vermont and New England are at the core of our business. We created this business with the goal in mind of taking care of the land, working together as a family, and creating a very high quality product. We bring to our branding our love of Vermont and its landscape throughout the season. We collaborate with as many local businesses as we can to add synergy to our product.
What is your favorite way to enjoy caramel sauce?
On a spoon of course! For everyday use I stir the Vermont Maple Caramel into my morning coffee, for an afternoon snack I eat the salted bourbon caramel with peanut butter and a banana, and for desserts I drizzle it on cakes, or swirl into brownies.
Learn more about Fat Toad Farm and order sauces at
Special thanks to Fat Toad Farm for providing a giveaway and partnering with LOOT for this article. As always, LOOT opinions and ideas remain our own.
Photos: Melissa DiPalma