Food historians have several theories regarding the name and origin of this confectionery, but none are conclusive.
One explanation is the meaning “to cut or score” for the word “scotch”, as the confection must be cut into pieces, or “scotched”, before hardening.
Another idea is that it came from the adjective Scotch, indicating association with Scotland. It is also possible that the “scotch” part of its name was derived from the word “scorch”.
The word “butterscotch” was first recorded in the Yorkshire town of Doncaster, where Samuel Parkinson began making it in 1817. Samuel Parkinson received the Royal Seal of Approval for their highly demanded export.
Butterscotch became famous in 1851 when Queen Victoria was presented with a tin when she visited Yorkshire.
Parkinson’s butterscotch was by appointment to the royal household and was presented to the Princess Elizabeth, then the Duchess of Edinburgh, in 1948 and to Anne, Princess Royal in 2007.
In the late 19th and early 20th century butterscotch became popular in the US.
Butterscotch sauce, or butterscotch topping, is an American dessert sauce with the flavor of butterscotch candy and is served over ice cream…, on pound cake, and on other sweets.
Butterscotch sauce is made of brown sugar cooked to 115°C (240 °F) mixed with butter and cream.
The term butterscotch is also often used more specifically of the flavour of brown sugar and butter together even if the actual confection butterscotch is not involved, such as in butterscotch pudding.
There are also individually wrapped, translucent yellow hard candies (butterscotch disks) with an artificial butterscotch flavour, which is dissimilar to actual butterscotch.
Butterscotch chips, analogous to chocolate chips, are packaged and sold primarily for use in dessert cooking.
In addition, butterscotch flavored liqueur is in production.
Butterscotch is also similar to toffee, but for butterscotch, the sugar is boiled to the soft crack stage, not hard crack as with toffee.
In the home kitchen, the making of butterscotch is usually an initial step in the preparation of some more complicated, elegant dessert. The brown sugar and butter formula is basic to a variety of cookies, puddings, icings, fudges, and sauces.
The largest butterscotch candy was made by Nidar, Trondheim, Norway and weighed 1.6 tonnes (3,527 lb). The Smorbukk variety of candy was displayed at the Nidar factory on 12 August 1997. The giant candy measured 1.54 m (5.02 ft) x 1.54 m (5.02 ft) x 45 cm (17.7 in) and was a scaled up version of the original product which is commercially available in Norway.