The other day, craving a sweet of substance, I strolled over to the closest McDonald’s. It was a soft serve sundae that was in my sights. I really really really wanted a hot fudge with peanuts. Alas, they did not have one to give me. Of course, I realize that things are slightly different over here than they are back home–even in fast food restaurants. I mean…Burger King has a chicken tikka sandwich. An unlikely entry to America’s fast food menu. But, I didn’t expect such a limited selection when it came to dessert options. I thought, “who can be bothered? They’ll just have the same junk for dessert.”. But, while they offer soft serve sundaes, their toppings were super limited. The cardinal sin was the lack of hot fudge! What? I refuse to believe that British people wouldn’t eat the stuff. This is the home of Cadbury’s. They like chocolate just as much as any old fat American. I left the joint unimpressed, choking down a terrible toffee topped creation.
As I mentioned, typically, I’m a chocolate gal. Be it a brownie, candy bar, or slice of birthday cake, I’ll usually take the choco-option. But, every once in awhile, you need to cleanse your palate and you’ll find a lemon tart or something coconutty to look appealing. That’s where today’s great thing comes into play. I would have chosen it as my second option that day. Another standard American option that the British Mickey D’s didn’t have:
Could there be a sweeter compound word? Butter and Scotch. Yum.
Look at that. Doesn’t it look like melted sunshine?
Though it’s probably been around longer, the first recorded recipe for butterscotch dates back to 1817 from a confectionery company in England. Though that company folded in 1977, that first recorded recipe is now being marketed by Parkinson’s Doncaster Butterscotch Ltd.
“Scotch” in the name could be referring to Scotland, where it may originate from, or it could be a derivation of the word “scorch”–as in, you have to scorch the butter and sugar to get the stuff made. Butter, I’m pretty sure, refers to …um…butter.
It is similar to toffee but the crucial difference is the stage that you let the sugar boil to. For toffee, you let it get to the hard crack stage whereas with butterscotch, you stop after the soft crack stage. That means…ok…you got me…I don’t know what that means. Otherwise it basically has the same key ingredients: vanilla, butter, cream and brown sugar. And that’s why it tastes so good. Caramel? Well, that’s a whole other story.
Here’s a tasty looking recipe for butterscotch that I found in a very entertaining blog entry from another author:
8 Tbsp. Unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. Corn syrup
¼ C Water
¾ C Sugar
¼ C Brown sugar
1/3 C Half and half
1 tsp. Brandy
1 tsp. Vanilla
½ tsp. Sea saltDirections: Put butter, corn syrup, and water in a saucepan over medium low flame. Stir until melted and add both sugars. Scrape down sides and then allow the mixture to come to a boil without further mixing. Syrup will turn a golden brown and when it reaches 245 degrees, remove from heat. Stir in half and half, brandy, vanilla, and salt. Cool and serve over ice cream. Broken pretzels and toasted nuts would be nice.”
In closing, here is a parade of some non-food butterscotches throughout history: