The Soup Blog
Recipes, Culinary Insights & Humor Spooned Up Fresh Every Week…………………(Now in its Ice Cream Phase)
A Half-Fast Effort: Butterscotch Ice Cream

I don’t really know what butterscotch is.

I’ve eaten it for years in those old-timey hard candies wrapped in yellow cellophane. I put it on ice cream sundaes when I was a kid back in the days when I actually put syrups and sauces on my ice cream (potential future posting?).  I’ve even had butterscotch schnapps, which you’d think would be sort of like putting training wheels on a real drink, but in fact gets you to nausea quicker than just about anything although for all the wrong reasons.

I’ve also eaten plenty of butter and drank my share of scotch, but that didn’t give me any special insights into this classic flavor either, it just hardened up my arteries and made me not care about cholesterol for extended periods of time.

True butterscotch understanding eluded me.

So yes, this week’s ice cream held a higher purpose beyond plowing through another week of ice cream making and putting another tally mark on a year’s worth of frozen desserts. It was a  voyage of discovery, kind of.

Obviously butterscotch has something to do with butter and sugar, but that sounds like the same recipe as caramel or toffee, and this stuff ain’t no caramel. I learned that the difference between these two sweets is in the cooking. Both start with butter and sugar, but caramel gets cooked longer and hotter, to the point of caramelization. (Duh!). That’s where it gets that terrific burnt sugar flavor, whereas butterscotch, sweet though it is, still tastes more of butter.

Does that make it the white roux of the confectionary world, while caramel is the blonde? Or is it blonde and brown. I don’t think anything qualifies as a black roux, but that’s a cajun anomoly anyway, so we don’t need to go there.

Butterscotch doesn't blow


Butterscotch ice cream was another one of my daughter’s ideas, which meant I should have gone to great lengths to make this a true scratch attempt at butterscotch.

I didn’t.

Instead I went to the supermarket and tralled the chocolate chip section for premade “cookie” additives that I could adapt to the realm of ice cream. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but some genius not too long ago extended the scope of the chocolate chip cookie not just into milk chocolate and semisweet morsels but into white chocolate, peanut butter, toffee and even butterscotch.

These are all, no doubt, delicious additions to any baked item, be it cookie, muffin, scone or what have you. When they are softened in the oven, each of these flavors infuse into the surrounding dough (batter?) and create a terrific blend of flavors. In ice cream it would no doubt be the same, if you cooked the morsels or melted them slightly.

Again, I didn’t.

Happily, just churning the butterscotch chunks into the ice cream did a nice job of infusing their flavor into the frozen custard. Unhappily, there were still many little butterscotch chunks that we had to chew our way through as we spooned up the cream part.

In hindsight, I probably should have melted the butterscotch into the cream first, then I wouldn’t have had to use as much and I wouldn’t have had the chunks I was not especially fond of.

I didn’t.

The ice cream was well received by most, but my daughter’s bowl was left unfinished.

I should have known her love wouldn’t come easy.

Butterscotch Ice Cream

(about 1½ quarts)
1 ½ cup milk
¾ cup sugar
2 T flour
A few grains salt
2 eggs or 3 yolks (pasteurized, if possible, see note)
1 ½ cup cream
1 cup butterscotch morsels

  1. Heat milk to 180-190ºF with sugar, flour and salt, stirring until thick, cover for 10 minutes.
  2. Beat eggs and add ½ cup of mixture while beating, then add eggs to mixture.HEALTH NOTE:     Since you’re dealing with eggs here, you need to take care when cooking the custard. Too much cooking and the custard gets lumpy, too little and you risk salmonella.  Another alternative is to use pasteurized eggs.
  3. Heat the mixture for one minute over medium heat, then cool with plastic wrap or wax paper pressed onto the top of the mixture to keep it from developing a skin. Cool for several hours or overnight.
  4. The next day, fold the cream and butterscotch morsels into the custard mixture and freeze in an ice cream freezer for about 35 minutes.
  5. Put the now frozen ice cream into the freezer for a couple of hours to give it a chance to firm up.

NOTE:     When freezing ice cream, you need to use an ice cream freezer to ensure that a certain amount of air is mixed into the frozen cream. This gives it a lighter, less icy consistency. When freezing sorbet, you may also freeze it in a popsicle mold, a bowl or on a sheet pan. Be sure to stir the mixture occasionally to limit the size of the ice particles. Larger chunks of ice make for granita, miniscule chunks make for a nice smooth sorbet (an ice cream freezer is ideal).

Photo Credit: “Butterscotch Inequality” from elementary algebra and clip art, variably cloudy.

What else is there to add? I know there are infinitely many varieties of ice cream, but my mind is feeling far from infinite of late. If you have any ideas, leave them in a comment. Otherwise don’t be surprised if I continue to jump the shark next week and we all know that shark fins are loaded with neurotoxins. It wouldn’t be pretty.


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