Scottish Tablet (Authentic Recipe) (2024)

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Scottish tablet is a traditional candy in Scotland. Learn how to make it with my easy step by step directions. Pop some in a box, tin or bag and you’re ready to gift a classic Scottish treat (if you don’t eat it all beforehand)!

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When I was a little girl in Scotland, tablet was all the rage, along with Scottish macaroon bars, Edinburgh rock, McCowan’s highland toffee, and other classic Scottish “sweeties” as we called them.

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I remember tablet making an appearance at birthday parties, at school, and friends’ houses. It was just a normal part of the repertoire of my childhood treats. In Scotland, tablet is given as treats and gifts at weddings, and at Christmas.

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However, if you live outside of Scotland, you might be wondering what I’m talking about. It’s not anything like today’s “tablet”, as in something like an iPad.

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What is Scottish Tablet?

Tablet is the name of a Scottish candy made from sugar, butter and condensed milk (sometimes just milk, or even evaporated milk). Does it sound sweet to you? It should because it is very sweet. Scottish tablet is definitely not diabetes-friendly!

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Although it wasn’t my very favorite sweet when I was little, so many people love it and many of you have asked me for a recipe, so I am happy to comply. You may just want to make some as gifts during the holidays, or really, anytime of year.

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These are the little boxes I bought which fit 4 squares of tablet. All you need is a little ribbon and maybe a gift tag. (These are the embroidery scissors, in case you wondered.)

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Have a sweet tooth? You will love this oat brittle, too!

What is Scottish Tablet Made of?

Although there are slight variations, the most classic recipe contains milk, sugar, and butter (although condensed milk is often used nowadays). The first known written recipe was made from only cream and sugar.

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Should Tablet be Grainy?

No, absolutely not; tablet should be smooth and creamy when it dissolves in your mouth; it’s not something you chew. If you have read a recipe that tells you that grainy tablet is good, this is simply untrue. Please keep this in mind when you are looking for a recipe, or looking for help on a subject. Always ask yourself what gives this site, or person, the authority to be sharing this information (or recipe).

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“A grainy texture normally means that your sugar has melted too quickly.” —Ochil Fudge Pantry The Ochil Fudge Pantry also says if your tablet is grainy, “…you have done something wrong when following the steps of your Scottish Tablet Recipe” (or you’re simply using the wrong recipe)! 🧐

Another classic Scottish recipe to try: millionaire’s shortbread (or caramel shortcake).

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What Does Tablet Mean in Scottish?

First of all, there is no current “Scottish” language. English is spoken in Scotland, although some may beg to differ! Yes, there is Glaswegian and Gaelic, but “tablet” is derived from the old Scots way of speaking: “taiblet” which is probably from how the sweet looked when it was made. (This is something people ask on Google)

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Tablet makes a fantastic homemade gift! You can wrap individual pieces in parchment paper, or any food safe paper. Or else put a few pieces in a food-safe box and tie with a pretty ribbon!

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To be honest, I think this homemade tablet is the nicest tablet I’ve ever had, so I hope you enjoy it, too! Homemade is almost always best, isn’t it? Just remember, the best quality ingredients will reward you with the best results.

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NB: I have taken care and gently placed my tablet to take photos of it, however, if it gets bumped around, it will look more like the tablet in the photo above at the Glasgow Airport. Don’t worry if it looks messy, it is normal and still tastes exactly the same.

My friend gave me this Avon Fostoria George Washington glass as it is in the shape of a thistle (the National Flower of Scotland).

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Homemade, Authentic Scottish Tablet Recipe

recipe adapted from a Scottish Sweets cookbook/tips from Ochil Fudge Pantry
makes 16 to 24 pieces (depending on the size and shape)

FULL PRINTABLE RECIPE BELOW

I found that lining one of these pans with parchment paper works nicely. Ilove the trays for breading meat and other things.

Ingredients

  • butter
  • milk
  • sugar
  • condensed milk
  • (optional: vanilla or choice of flavoring, like whisky)

Easy Step by Step Directions on How to Make Scottish Tablet

1. Line a 7″ x 11″ pan with parchment paper.

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2. Put the butter and water in a LARGE, heavy pot and heat to melt the butter, then add the milk.

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3. Over low heat, add the sugar and stir until it is completely dissolved.

  • TIP: use a wooden spoon.

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4. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow to simmer (keep boiling, but turn it down so it doesn’t overflow the pot) for 10 minutes without stirring.

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5. Add the condensed milk.

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6. Stir for at least 10 minutes while simmering, just be sure it doesn’t stick or burn. This is the critical part as you don’t want it to burn (the heavy pot is important for this).

  • TIP: the time to cook the mixture will vary upon many factors, but most importantly, how high your cooktop is set to. If you have it too high, the tablet mixture will stick and burn, too low and it will take ages to get to the right temperature. Keep it simmering until you see it start to turn a lovely golden color.

7. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla or whisky, and allow to cool for a minutes or two before beating vigorously until it thickens. Don’t be impatient or think you’ve failed as this could take a few minutes.

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8. When thickened, pour into the prepared pan. Allow to cool and set completely in a cool place, or the fridge.

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9. Cut, then wrap in parchment paper for individual servings, or simply keep in an airtight tin in a cool place or in the fridge.

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Scottish Tablet - Authentic Recipe

Yield: 24 square pieces

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Additional Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 37 minutes

Adapted from a Favourite Sweets and Toffee Scottish recipe book compiled by Carol Wilson, this is a traditional Scottish candy that is very sweet. Also, thanks to Ochil Fudge Factory for tips on tablet making.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz (½ stick) (57 g) salted butter (if you use unsalted, add a pinch of salt)
  • 2.5 oz (74 ml) water
  • 2.5 oz (74 ml) milk
  • 2 ¼ cups (454 g) white granulated sugar
  • 7 oz (½ can) (207 ml) condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla or whisky

Instructions

  1. Line a 7" x 11" pan with parchment paper.
  2. Put the butter and water in a LARGE, heavy pot and heat to melt the butter, then add the milk.
  3. Over low heat, add the sugar and stir until it is completely dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow to simmer (keep boiling, but turn it down so it doesn't overflow the pot) for 10 minutes without stirring.
  4. Add the condensed milk. Stir for at least 10 minutes while simmering, just be sure it doesn’t stick or burn. This is the critical part as you don’t want it to burn (the heavy pot is important for this). TIP: the time to cook the mixture will vary upon many factors, but most importantly, how high your cooktop is set to. If you have it too high, the tablet mixture will stick and burn, too low and it will take ages to get to the right temperature. Keep it simmering until you see it start to turn a lovely golden color.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla or whisky (I use whisky), and allow to cool for a minutes or two before beating vigorously until it thickens. Don’t be impatient or think you’ve failed as this could take a few minutes. .
  6. When thickened, pour into the prepared pan.Allow to cool and set completely in a cool place, or the fridge.
  7. Cut, then wrap in parchment paper for individual servings, or simply keep in an airtight tin in a cool place, or in the fridge.

    Notes

    • Follow the directions as written for successful results. This is not a recipe to change and omit ingredients or steps. You've been warned.
    • Use a wooden spoon.
    • If you'd like to use a candy thermometer, the setting point for tablet is 240F or 116C.
    • Tablet will keep for a minimum of a month, if stored correctly. It is mostly sugar, so not much risk of spoiling.
    Nutrition Information:

    Yield: 24Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving:Calories: 132Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 31mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 0gSugar: 25gProtein: 1g

    Nutrition information is only estimated.

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    Scottish Tablet (Authentic Recipe) (2024)

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