What’s a tablet?

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Scotch bar is a sweet candy similar to chocolate fudge, made with sugar, butter, condensed milk, and fresh milk. It’s hard to find in the US, but can be made at home. The candy is boiled on a candy thermometer and poured into a pan to cool. It’s often served alongside chocolate fudge and cut into small squares.

Scotch bar is a forerunner of chocolate fudge. It is a rich, very sweet candy often cut into small squares. Some prefer the blendable consistency, but suggest the tablet is a little grainier in texture. Others liken the tablet’s taste to butterscotch, but admit it’s a little softer and less chewy than candy.

You can buy tablets mostly in Scotland, although some UK companies do. It’s very hard to get in the US. However, internet shops make it quite easy to order tablets online.

Many Americans of Scottish descent prefer to make their own tablet. But the ingredients can be a bit hard to find. Some tablet recipes call for golden syrup, which is again more likely to be found in the UK. Corn syrup can usually be substituted if golden syrup is not available. Alternatively, there are many recipes that don’t use the golden syrup.

The basic ingredients of the tablet are sugar, butter, condensed milk and a small amount of fresh milk. Some recipes also call for some vanilla flavoring, but this is not considered a traditional tablet flavor.

The amount of sugar is quite high. Basically, there are usually ten parts sugar to one part butter. The sugar in the condensed milk further increases the sweetness. The ingredients are heated and boiled on the soft ball stage on a candy thermometer, 235 F (112.78 C). If one does not have a candy thermometer, a small amount of the tablet mixture on a spoon can be dipped in cold water. If the candy forms a soft ball, it’s essentially done.

In the soft ball stage, the tablet mixture is removed from the heat and tapped heavily for several minutes until you can hear the mixture thicken. The tablet is then poured into a non-stick pan or marble board to cool.

Some recipes suggest chilling the compress overnight in the refrigerator. This will result in a grainier texture, but many insist that the graininess is part of its overall appeal. Cooks recommend cutting the tablet into small squares or rectangles, as it is very sweet.

Tablets can often be served alongside chocolate fudge or can be given as gifts around the holidays. Those familiar with candy making can usually easily make tablets. Since the ingredients are relatively few, extreme care must be taken during the cooking process, as overcooking the dough will result in a candy that is too hard.

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