Butterscotch has a very distinctive taste. It is often confused with caramel, and even with toffee, but it is very different.
In order to fully appreciate its flavor, we must first understand what butterscotch is. Butterscotch is a cooked sugar made from brown sugar, not white.
The right way to make it is to melt the butter first with brown sugar, which helps the granules dissolve evenly.
As the heated mixture liquidizes and becomes less grainy, cream is added, and it is boiled until it reaches the ideal temperature.
The taste of butterscotch is a combination of browned butter, caramelized sugar, molasses, cream, and a pinch of salt. It’s soft, rich, and sweet, without the bitter notes that make caramel so special.
Discover everything you need to know about butterscotch!
Characteristics Of Butterscotch
As butterscotch is made with brown sugar, it tends to be more acidic than caramel, which uses white sugar.
Butterscotch is easier to make because acidity prevents crystallization, and moisture makes it burn more slowly, so you don’t have to rush.
To round out the butter and sugar flavors, butterscotch should have a salty edge.
As its name implies, butterscotch is made from butter, but no scotch or other liquor is used in the original recipe. The scotch part has more to do with where butterscotch originated: Scotland in the 1700s.
Besides tasting great, butterscotch is also simple and versatile, and the best part is that most of the ingredients can be found in your pantry.
Its brown sugar base gives it a different taste, since brown sugar is simply white sugar with molasses. The darker it gets, the more molasses it contains, and the stronger the flavor.
As well, darker brown sugar will produce the dark golden color we all know as “butterscotch.”
Check out this great video from Sticky on YouTube to see how it’s made.
Butterscotch Vs. Caramel Vs. Toffee
The three preparations are clearly different, and they don’t even taste the same. Yet, in the modern world, they’re often mixed up. Why is that?
They all have sugar as their base ingredient (whether it is brown or white) and they are all brown and gold in color.
In addition, the food industry often confuses consumers by telling them something contains toffee when it is actually caramel or selling you butterscotch as “salted caramel” in many desserts.
Many of your favorite “toffee” flavored treats don’t actually contain toffee. For example, sticky toffee pudding is only made with toffee sauce – no toffee is required!
In addition to adding salt (salted caramel) and alcohol (such as Baileys), toffee can also be flavored with nuts, dried fruits, and spices.
Butterscotch Vs Caramel
It is common for people to confuse these two flavors, but they are completely different. Real caramel is made only with water and white sugar.
If you follow the golden rule of 2 parts sugar to 1 part water, caramel can be made in any batch size.
First, you need to pour the water and sugar into a pan on a low heat so that the sugar dissolves slowly into the water.
You cannot stir the mixture during this process, so make sure the sugar has completely dissolved before the water reaches its boiling point. Once the sugar has dissolved, you can increase the heat. Once the syrup has reached a golden color, remove it from the heat.
Once the mixture has reached a golden color, you can add more water to it. You should keep the temperature between 194°F and 196°F.
This step is very important, because the caramel is very hot, and it can spit. When you add the water, make sure it is properly emulsified.
Some chefs use liquor such as rum to give it extra flavor. Other methods include adding cream instead of water in the third stage (it technically isn’t caramel if you do that).
Butterscotch Vs Toffee
White sugar is mixed with butter, milk, or cream to make toffee, another popular flavor for desserts and beverages.
Another ingredient, such as lemon juice or golden syrup, is usually included in recipes to help it crystallize.
Unlike caramel and butterscotch, toffee is cooked longer to achieve its hardened, brittle texture.
Make toffee by gently melting white sugar and butter together, making sure the butter doesn’t separate from the mixture.
Once the mixture reaches boiling, you should stop stirring and begin tilting and swirling the pan instead of stirring as the sugar dissolves.
The pan should be heated between 280 and 310 degrees Fahrenheit so that the preparation can reach a “soft crack” stage, followed by a “hard crack”.
The final product can be chewier, softer, or more brittle if you add more butter or cream, or you can cook it at a higher temperature.
What Do Butterscotch Desserts Taste Like?
The rich, buttery flavor of butterscotch is often referred to as “caramel with a kick.”.
Butterscotch can be used in a number of desserts, including puddings, ice cream, tarts, and even on top of grilled fruits.
To make an old-fashioned and traditional butterscotch pudding that warms your heart and soul, you will need a heavy bottomed pan.
It’s the perfect dessert if you’re craving something sweet, silky, and creamy.
You simply need to melt brown sugar and salt together with water, so that the sugar melts evenly. Heat it slowly until it melts and bubbles.
Let the mixture cool for about six minutes, ensuring it doesn’t burn. Do not stir it while it’s cooking, you just need to swirl it around a bit to distribute the heat evenly.
Meanwhile, combine 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of milk and whisk until smooth. Add 3 egg yolks and whisk again.
After that, dissolve the cornstarch mixture in one cup of milk and one cup of heavy cream.
Pour the mixture into the partially cooled brown sugar, stirring it as you pour. It is normal for the sugar to seize up and become hard. The sugar will melt once the pan is heated again.
Over medium-low heat, bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly.
Use a silicone spatula to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan once all the brown sugar has dissolved.
When the pudding reaches a thick consistency, immediately remove it from the heat and strain it through a fine mesh strainer.
If you want to add an extra flavor touch, add three tablespoons of unsalted butter, some vanilla extract, and scotch, bourbon or whiskey.
After letting it set in the fridge for two hours, you can eat it warm or cold after thoroughly mixing everything.
Butterscotch Ice Cream
A combination of cold and creamy ice cream and rich butterscotch flavor is unbeatable.
You will want to save this butterscotch ice cream recipe for later.
Stir brown sugar, butter, and vanilla extract in a pan on medium heat until the butter is fully melted and the brown sugar has dissolved.
When the mixture gets bubbly, remove it from the heat and whisk in 1/2 cup whipping cream until smooth.
Add one cup of whipped cream and two cups of half-and-half to a second pan and simmer.
Whisk 1/2 cup of the warm cream mixture into the whipped egg yolks, then pour your yolk mixture into the pan with the cream.
Over low heat, stir constantly until the mixture slightly thickens, about two to four minutes.
Immediately remove it from the heat and pour it through a fine strainer into a clean bowl. Next, whisk in the butterscotch mixture. Let it chill for about two hours, stirring occasionally.
The last step is to freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker and serve if you prefer a softly frozen texture, or freeze it in silicone containers if you prefer a firmer texture.