Scottish tablet is an extremely sugary candy with a coarse texture that is not as dense as hard candy but not as soft as fudge. It is brittle, delicious, and seriously addictive. Embedded in Scottish culture since the early 18th century, this candy was originally made with sugar and cream, but more modern recipes (like ours) add butter and condensed milk.
Tablet is easy to make as long as you follow the instructions closely and handle the hot sugar mixture carefully. Everyone with a sweet tooth will love this classic recipe!
Click Play to See This Traditional Homemade Scottish Tablet Recipe Come Together
Gather the ingredients.
Butter a 12-by-4-inch or 7-inch square tin.
In a large, deep pan (4-pint minimum capacity but preferably larger), heat up the milk on low heat. Add the butter and stir until melted and all is well combined.
Add the sugar and stir until all of it has dissolved. Raise the heat to high and bring the mixture to a hard boil for 5 minutes, stirring all the time to prevent the sugar from sticking to the edges of the pan and/or burning. If you have a candy thermometer, bring the temperature to 250 F (also known as hard-ball stage in candy and toffee making).
Once it's reached 250 F, carefully add the condensed milk. Because the sugar is at a high temperature it may splatter and burn you, so use caution. Stir well. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. The mixture will bubble and resemble a moon crater. Keep cooking; the mixture will also start to slightly darken.
Once the mixture has visibly thickened, remove the pan from the stove and place on a kitchen towel to add stability. Beat the mixture vigorously for 5 to 10 minutes. Use an electric mixer if available, as doing it by hand can be tiring due to the thickness of the mixture.
Add any optional flavorings.
Pour the mixture into the greased pan and spread out flat using a spatula or wooden spoon.
When the tablet is cool but still soft, cut into 1-inch squares. Let sit until completely cooled. If you'd prefer, put the pan in the freezer to make sure it is completely cold.
Wrap tablet pieces in greaseproof paper and store in an airtight tin for up to a week.
As with any candy-making process, be mindful of your safety and the safety of others when making Scottish tablet:
- This recipe reaches very high temperatures. Keep kids and pets away for your safety and theirs.
- For this recipe, you will need a heavy-based, minimum 8-cup capacity saucepan. Use anything larger if you have it. Since the Scottish tablet reaches a rolling boil, sometimes the mixture can swell up quickly and boil over if the heat is a fraction too high. A larger pan will make it safer.
- Have a dry kitchen towel with you at all times. Do not touch spilled candy with bare hands—use your towel. Remember that the steam burns as bad and sometimes worse than the candy itself.
- Use the back burners of your stove, a wooden spatula for mixing, and thick heat-resistant gloves to manipulate the pot.
- Tablet can be flavored as desired by simply adding a few drops of your favorite flavor like peppermint, vanilla, or orange extract, ground cinnamon, or whisky.
- Roasted, chopped nuts like walnuts, pecans, and almonds are also a nice addition.
Why Is My Scottish Tablet Not Setting?
If your Scottish tablet isn't setting up, the reason likely has to do with temperature. The mixture must be brought up to a full boil for five minutes and reach 250 F before simmering. Use a candy thermometer for best results.