Butterscotch is that buttery, more-flavorful-than-caramel taste that flavors dessert sauces and hard candy. It is also a light color.

Most people know butterscotch from the hard candy drops available in stores everywhere. One candy company produces a “butter rum” flavor which is similar. Even though no alcohol is present, it tends to have a sort of liquor flavor that is probably due to the heated sugar. Its history originates in England and the “scotch” part of the name may be derived from the word “scorch,” since the sugar is heated to a fairly high temperature.Butterscotch

Butterscotch candy can be made at home by combining sugar, corn syrup, water and vinegar and heating it to hard crack stage — 300°F or 149°C. The candy is then dropped by teaspoonfuls on a buttered cookie sheet and allowed to cool to make the old-fashioned candy.

Along with hot fudge, butterscotch is a popular dessert sauce and ice cream topping. A home recipe includes dark brown sugar, light corn syrup, butter, Heavy cream, milk and cornstarch. The mixture is cooked until it thickens into syrup. It does not harden like candy, and is used on ice cream, over fruit and for other sweet treats.

Brownies, cookies and cakes may have a butterscotch flavor, and frosting with this flavor is popular, as well. Butterscotch “chips” are available in many places and used in recipes from brownies to fudge. It is even a popular pudding flavor. Recipes for butterscotch goodies are available in cookbooks, on the backs of mix boxes and on the Internet.

Sometimes, something is referred to as a being a butterscotch color. This usually means a tawny sort of yellow — not quite light brown, but not true yellow, either. Horses may be described as having this color, for instance.

Butterscotch may not be quite as popular for desserts as chocolate, but it is always a sweet change of pace. With the variety of recipes available, any cook can incorporate it into something delicious.

When looking for an ice cream topping, dessert lovers might notice that caramel and butterscotch syrups look and taste pretty similar.

The difference between Butterscotch, Caramel and Toffee

The confectionaries are both made with melted sugar, but they use different ingredients. Caramel is a mix of white granulated sugar, heavy whipping cream, butter, and a dash of vanilla. Butterscotch, on the other hand, is made with brown sugar instead.

Butterscotch originally was just a hard candy. The suffix “scotch” is not related to alcohol, but to the method of cutting. Hard candy is difficult to break into clean pieces, so the candy is “scotched” (scored) to make it easy to cut later.

As for toffee, it has the same ingredients as butterscotch but is cooked longer. Toffee is cooked until the hard crack stage, meaning there is a 99 percent sugar concentration.