Butterscotch: What is it? And How to Make it

Butterscotch Pudding with Gingersnaps and Whipped Cream RecipeWhat is Butterscotch?

Butterscotch candy is a firm favorite with those with a decidedly sweet tooth and its fame comes from it's flavor; it is a blend of butter and brown sugar and is known as a noncrystalline candy. It is popular for cookies, ice-cream toppings, frostings and candies. You can buy butterscotch-flavored items in the grocery store, such as butterscotch chips, sauce or even wrapped butterscotch candies, plus you can make your own at home.
SARAH SAYS: The word "butterscotch" has nothing to do with Scotland, by the way. "To scotch" means to cut or score something; when butterscotch candy was poured out to cool, it was "scotched" to make it easier to break into pieces later.


Butterscotch Flavor

The butterscotch flavor develops naturally when you boil sugar to to 270 - 290 degrees F (Soft Crack Stage) or when the syrup dropped into ice water separates into hard but pliable threads, and a combination of ingredients, generally being light corn syrup, sugar, butter and cream. Its flavor comes from the caramelized sugars, and flavors from the Maillard reaction. Other ingredients include salt and vanilla extract, added after boiling. Then the mixture is poured into a shallow oiled pan, and cut in squares while still warm.
SARAH SAYS: Butterscotch candy is made ways similar to making caramel and toffee, as is fudge. The difference is in the degree of boiling temperature and the ways in which they are cooled.

Butterscotch Sauce RecipeHow to Make Butterscotch

Many recipes for Butterscotch Sauce, and particularly for Butterscotch Pudding, begin by cooking the brown sugar with butter before adding cream or milk--especially milk. Because of the acids, molasses or even brown sugar will make milk curdle if you boil it with either of them. When making the sauce you'll think, "it's too runny!" But as the hot mixture cools it starts to resemble a thick caramel sauce in consistency.


What is Butterscotch Used in?

Butterscotch sauce can be used when baking a variety of recipes. While butterscotch is often enjoyed as a hard candy, it can be used in a lot of different ways. 
Butterscotch sauce is a great addition to ice cream sundaes. It gives a similar taste and addition as caramel, but many people prefer it over caramel on their ice cream. Another great way to use butterscotch is in pudding. Most people stick with vanilla or chocolate when making pudding, but butterscotch pudding is a nice way to mix it up for a delicious dessert.

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