Traditional Scottish Tablet Recipe - Global Bakes (2024)

Written by Tanya Ott Published on in Cookie and Bar Bake Recipes, Dessert Recipes, UK and Ireland Recipes

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A Traditional Scottish Tablet Recipe for this classic Scottish treat! This sugary candy is a bit crumbly and harder than fudge but still melts in mouth for the most amazing and authentic taste of Scotland!

Scottish Tablet is a medium-hard, sugarycandyfromScotland. Tablet is usually made withsugar (A LOT of it!),sweetened condensed milk, andbutter, which is boiled to asoft-ball stageand then allowed to crystallize.

Tablet is similar to fudgebut has a brittle, grainy texture, where fudge is much softer and smoother.

The first known mention of Tablet was in The Household Book of Lady Grisell Baillie in the early 1700’s. Call me a history nerd if you want but I think this book is fascinating! It is an account of life in Scotland from the 1690’s to the 1740’s and gives incredible insight if you are a Scottish history buff like me!

Tablet has remained a traditional treat to this day and I ate plenty of it on my last couple of trips to Scotland! I recently asked Tony from The Broonfords, who lives in Edinburgh, and Caroline from Caroline’s Easy Baking Lessons, who lives in Glasgow, what they think of as traditional and common Scottish foods. Tablet was on both of their lists!

Unfortunately, I haven’t found a way to move to Scotland full-time so I have to make Scottish foods as often as possible and also as authentically as possible at home. And I have perfected Tablet with this authentic recipe!

Traditional Scottish Tablet Recipe - Global Bakes (1)

What do I need for this recipe?

First, make sure that you have what need to make Tablet. You’ll need:

  • A heavy bottom LARGE pot
  • A long handled wooden spoon
  • 9×13 pan or larger rimmed sheetpan
  • 2 pounds of sugar
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • 6 tablespoons of butter
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Some whisky, optional, but why not??!!

Originally, tablet was made with just sugar and cream but other ingredients have been added. Most recipes are so similar that you wouldn’t know the difference until you make them. The proportion of the ingredients is so important to get the right texture!

How long does it take to make Scottish Tablet?

From start to finish, you’ll need to be dedicated to stirring for almost an hour. You can’t really walk away to answer the door or sit on the sofa to chat on the phone. You really do need to stir for a good portion of the cooking process to avoid burning or catching on the bottom!

Even after the stirring is done, the Tablet will need to stand at room temperature until it has set. This will take at least an hour but I recommend leaving the Tablet for at least 4 hours before cutting and eating for the best results.

What types of problems are common when making Tablet?

There are a few keys to making a really good and authentic Scottish Tablet. If you have encountered any problems while making it or if you are about to make it for the first time, check out these tips below to ensure success.

  • If your Tablet is burned, you may need to use a pan with a heavier bottom that distributes heat evenly. Thinner pots and pans can have a hot spot in the center that will burn your mixture.
  • Burning can also be caused by not stirring often enough. With a large amount of sugar plus even more in the sweetened condensed milk, the mixture can catch very easily. Make sure that you keep it moving while it is boiling. It does have to boil for quite a while to reach the correct temperature for soft-ball stage but, trust me, it will be worth it!
  • If your tablet does not set up after sitting for 1 to 4 hours, you probably didn’t boil it for long enough to reach soft-ball stage. Make sure that the mixture reaches 240°F/120°C.
  • Tablet can become very hard if you go too far above soft-ball so be sure to remove from heat at 240°F/120°C.
  • If your Tablet is excessively grainy and doesn’t melt in your mouth, you may need to cook a little longer during the first step to ensure that the sugar melts completely before adding the remaining ingredients.
  • Another cause of excessive graininess is not beating the tablet mixture enough during the last step. It can be an arm workout but you should beat vigorously, without incorporating air, for AT LEAST 5 minutes to help set the sugar crystals as the mixture cools.

How long does Scottish Tablet Last and how do you store it?

Sugar is a preservative and there is a lot of it Scottish Tablet! This sweet treat will easily last for a couple of weeks. I have thought about making a half batch but because Tablet last for weeks, there really is no point in a half batch! And using half a can of sweetened condensed milk would be wasteful!

You should store your Tablet in a container that is covered but not air tight in a cool place. It should not be refrigerated or frozen or sealed airtight because of the chance of humidity building up. The Tablet will become gummy and sticky if it gets wet from condensation.

Optional flavor enhancers

A lot of recipes that I have seen for Tablet do not have any flavor enhancers in them. But I wanted to ensure that the flavors shine the way they should in this recipe.

A good dash of salt will not make your tablet salty but it will enhance the caramelized flavor. You can add more but I generally add about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon for balance.

You can choose to add vanilla as a flavor enhancer but I have gone with Whisky. I mean, this is a scottish recipe, isn’t it?? Trust me when I say that this Tablet does not end up tasting boozy. But just a touch of the sweetness is lifted out by the addition of your favorite Scotch.

I used Fettercairn but you can choose your favorite. I would not recommend a super smoky whisky in Tablet so save the Lagavulin and Laphroig for sipping later.

Traditional Scottish Tablet Recipe - Global Bakes (2)
Traditional Scottish Tablet Recipe - Global Bakes (3)

Traditional Scottish Tablet

Recipe by Tanya Ott

Servings

24 to 36

servings

Prep time

5

minutes

Cooking time

30

minutes

Ingredients

  • 900 grams (4 1/2 cups) granulated sugar

  • 240 mL (1 cup) whole milk

  • 85 grams (6 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, chopped into 1 inch pieces

  • 397 grams (1 can) sweetened condensed milk

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons Whisky, optional

Directions

  • Grease a 9×13 pan very well with butter and set aside.
  • Place the sugar and milk in a very large pan over medium heat. (Make sure that pan is very large because the mixture will bubble up and at least double in size.) Stir occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved. To see if the sugar has dissolved, carefully dip your finger into the mixture and rub between your fingers. You shouldn’t feel any grains of sugar.
  • Once all the sugar has dissolved, add the butter and stir until the butter has melted.
  • Add the sweetened condensed milk and mix well. Increase the heat and stir constantly while the mixture boils. Continue to boil until the mixture reaches Soft-Ball stage (240°F/120°c) on your thermometer.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add the whisky, if using. Beat with a wooden spoon in the pan until the mixture if almost setting, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Transfer to your greased pan and spread evenly to the edges/corners.
  • Leave to set for a couple of hours or up to overnight. If you want neatly cut squares or bars, score the tablet in your desired size/shape about 30 minutes into the setting stage. Alternatively, you can simply break the tablet into individual servings once set for a more rustic look.
  • Traditional Scottish Tablet Recipe - Global Bakes (4)
  • Traditional Scottish Tablet Recipe - Global Bakes (5)
  • Traditional Scottish Tablet Recipe - Global Bakes (6)

If you love cooking with Whisky try my Whisky Mushroom Crostini!

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Traditional Scottish Tablet Recipe - Global Bakes (2024)
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