Butterscotch and Caramel – What’s the Difference?
Butterscotch and caramel are very similar flavors. Unfortunately, today’s supermarket contains hundreds of products which claim to be a certain flavor but are really artificial and bear little resemblance to the flavor on the package. Most of us get our butterscotch fix from prepared boxed puddings or bottled ice cream toppings. We know caramel as an apple coating or the chewy center of a mass-marketed chocolate candy. But, if you make these sauces yourself or have them in a fine restaurant, you’ll see that the flavors are very different than we have come to accept from the candy aisle.
So, just what is the difference between butterscotch and caramel?
Butterscotch is a heated, reduced sauce using brown sugar and vanilla. Sometimes, an acid such as lemon juice or vinegar enhances those flavors and tempers the sweetness. In contrast, caramel is made with white refined sugar, contains no acidic balance and no vanilla.
Next time you reach for that squeeze bottle of ice cream topping, consider making your own butterscotch or caramel. Most of us have the basic ingredients in our kitchens and you may be surprised what a difference it makes.
I have used both of these recipes and gotten good results. Happy eating!