These popular sweet snacks all look alike and taste very similar, but are they the same thing?
The Short Answer:
No, butterscotch, caramel, and toffee are similar to one another but have different ingredients and preparation methods.
The Long Answer:
I love Caramel. I love it in candy bars, in café lattes, on ice cream, you name it. Recently I started wondering if caramel had snuck its way into some of the other confections I’ve come to enjoy under varying names like butterscotch and toffee. Thus, a new ITTF article was born!
I was surprised to find out that there are some major key differences between these three similar tasting sweets.
All three of these confections are made from melted sugar, but they vary from there.
Caramel is made by mixing white granulated sugar together with heavy whipping cream, butter, and a small bit of vanilla. When it comes to butterscotch and toffee you’ve got a lot of the same ingredients.
They also use butter, vanilla, and heavy whipping cream, but it’s the sugar that differentiates these two from caramel. While caramel uses white sugar, both butterscotch and toffee use brown sugar.
So, does that mean that butterscotch and toffee are the same thing?
First off, let’s discuss butterscotch. Originally, this was just a hard candy. That was long before the days of gooey butterscotch sauce. I’ve seen a lot of people online incorrectly assume that because the word scotch is in the name, butterscotch must originate in Scotland, much like Scotch Whiskey. That’s not the reasoning for its name. The term scotch is actually related to the manner in which they would cut the hard candy. Since it was difficult to break into clean pieces the candy would be scored or “scotched” while it was being made to make it easier to cut when done.
Toffee is virtually the same thing as butterscotch, but with one major difference. It’s cooked a lot longer. Toffee is purposely overcooked until reaches the hard-cracked stage. At this stage there is almost no water left in the original syrup. Most hard-cracked candy is hard and brittle and has a sugar concentration of 99%.
What’s your favorite between caramel, butterscotch, and toffee? Do you prefer these sweet treats in candy? Topping ice cream? Or in your caffeinated beverage? Sound off in the comment section below and let us know.