Takes ages… requires a lot of work… tricky to get right… but tastes so good that it’s worth every bit of effort! If you’re not Scottish and don’t have a clue what this is, it tastes a tiny bit like crumbly, hard fudge. But better.
500g/2 cups granulated sugar
60g/one quarter cup butter
3½ tablespoons condensed milk (about half a tin ; can make up another batch in another pan with the remaining half, but don’t be tempted to double the mixture in the one pot, unless you have a massive vat of a pot, as the mixture doubles/triples in size at step 3)
170ml/three quarters cup water
- Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan and heat until the butter has melted and sugar has dissolved.
- Keep stirring evenly until the mixture comes to the boil; this usually takes about ten minutes. If you start getting brownish streaks (caramel), turn the heat down a little, and keep up the stirring effort. If you get black streaks, you’ve burnt it.
- After about 10 minutes, the mixture will boil, ballooning in volume. Once this happens, turn the heat down low. Stir occasionally to stop the mix sticking. The mixture should be thick and the colour should have turned from white to caramel.
- At this point, you’ll have enough time in between stirrings to grease a tin or baking tray – depends on how thick you want the end slices.
- You’ll notice the mixture darken slightly; keep stirring now and then. It’ll take about 20 minutes for the mix to cook.
- Transfer a little of the hot mix to a teaspoon, and plunge it into cold water. It should form a soft, sticky ball that should drip off the spoon very slowly. When it does this, it’s ready. (The picture isn’t the best, as it should be a couple of minutes after this, and should be a bit darker)
- Take the pan off the heat, and after 5 minutes start stirring vigorously. Try to mix in some of the crystallized mixture that has formed on the side of the pan. Once you feel the spoon stirring slightly grittily on the base of the pan, and the mixture being slightly stiffer, it’s ready to pour. If you leave it for too long, then it’ll still taste nice, but will result in wavy pieces rather than smooth cuboids .
- Quickly pour the mixture into the buttered baking tray, which should be on a heat-resistant surface. Scrape out as much of the mixture as you can with a wooden spoon.
- Before it has completely set, cut the tablet into bitesize pieces and leave it to cool and set hard for 5 minutes.