I blame the oatmeal scotchies: I’m on a butterscotch kick these days. And—big surprise—it turns out that homemade butterscotch is even better than artificially flavored butterscotch chips. Which, as I’ve discussed, are pretty amazing.
In case you wondered, which I did, how butterscotch is different from caramel: butterscotch is a type of caramel that is made with brown sugar, rather than white, and has more vanilla and salt. Googling this question brought me to Smitten Kitchen’s butterscotch sauce, which I think I have to make immediately. When the topic is butterscotch, googling is dangerous.
Note: I found the original directions somewhat excessive, so I’ve tried to streamline them.
2 cups half and half
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1.5 ounces unsalted butter
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
pinch of kosher salt
splash of vanilla
Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat, and add brown sugar. Stir well to incorporate. Cook for at least 10 minutes, stirring infrequently. Add salt.
Meanwhile, warm half and half, but do not let boil. Whisk egg and yolks together in mid-sized bowl. Sift cornstarch and sugar into another mid-sized bowl. Whisk to combine these and make a well in the center.
When butter and brown sugar have been on the stove for about 10 minutes, add half and half and whisk to smooth. When this mixture is hot to the touch, take off heat.
Using a ladle, lift a small amount (between 2-4 oz) of the hot liquid and pour it directly in the middle of the cornstarch well. Using a small whisk, whisk this mixture in tight concentric circles from the middle out. You want a smooth, loose paste. When mixture is smooth, ladle in a little more liquid and whisk again.
Ladle some liquid into the beaten eggs, to warm up the egg mixture. Whisk eggy liquid into cornstarchy liquid, and incorporate as much as possible. Pour into the pot and whisk to incorporate. If you notice a lot of lumps, pass this mixture through a fine-meshed sieve.
Put pot back on stove over medium heat. Whisk continuously and vigorously. Custard will begin to thicken. Once it starts to get thick, stop whisking to see if gloopy bubbles are rising to the surface.
Once the mixture starts glooping, take off heat and vanilla.
Spoon into ramekins. Chill and press plastic wrap to the surface until serving.