a curious cook

Zeeuwse boterbabbelaars / butterscotch from Zeeland

Zeeuwse boterbabbelaars / butterscotch from Zeeland

During a weekend in the Dutch province Zeeland they served traditional Zeeuwse boterbabbelaars / butterscotch from Zeeland with my coffee. They taste so good! These butterscotch candies are actually not very difficult to make, but you do need to practice stretching and folding the sweet sugary mass. A kitchen thermometer or candy thermometer is a must with this recipe. The sugar needs to be at the right temperature to work with. This isn’t really a recipe to make with kids, the sugar is so terribly hot! So be very careful and wear plastic gloves if you can. They will protect your hands from the heat a little.

The Dutch name of this sweet translates as buttery chatterboxes. The story goes that they used to be served to visitors to silence them when you had enough of their conversation. I don’t think I would mind being shut up in exchange for a handful of these buttery treats!

Zeeuwse boterbabbelaars / butterscotch from Zeeland

For ± 40 candies

250 g / 1¼ cup sugar
10 ml / 2 tsp water
15 ml / 1 tbsp vinegar
20 g / 1½ tbsp butter or a good vegan alternative
2 tbsp icing sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
Also needed: kitchen thermometer, silicone mat or baking paper

Place all ingredients and a pinch of salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, stir well and then do not stir again. Let the mixture boil until it reaches a temperature of 155°C/310°F.

Remove from heat and pour onto the silicone mat. Be very careful, it is very, very hot. Keep the mixture moving while it cools and hardens, for example with a spatula or pancake knife. When the mass is cool enough to handle it’s time to stretch it and fold it in half.

Form the sugar mixture into a roll, pull it out and fold it in half. Repeat until the sugar becomes shiny and lighter in color. If the caramel has become too hard, you can warm it up in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it. When the sugar is shiny and light, pull out to the desired thickness and cut into pieces with scissors. Let cool completely.

Mix the icing sugar with the cornflour and toss the candies in the mixture. Keep them dry and preferably separated by a piece of paper. They get sticky quickly.

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