When you visit Scotland, you may be offered or decide to purchase some delicious Scottish tablet.
However, if you are not native to the Bonnie Bonnie lands of Scotland, you may not know what a tablet is and why it is so different from the mouth-watering delight that is fudge.
Well, in this article, we explain everything you need to know about what makes fudge and Scottish tablet so different.
From the ingredients used to the different tastes, you are never going to call fudge a tablet again. Especially in the presence of a Scotsman!
Let’s get into it!
History Of Scottish Tablet
Before we can begin discerning the difference between fudge and Scottish tablet, it is important that we know where it came from.
Scottish tablet is a centuries-old recipe that has endured thanks to its straightforward and affordable ingredients.
Despite the fact that, at the time, tablets were produced with sugar and cream, historians think the first tablet recipe was published in 1700.
It is common for many Scottish bakers, mothers, and grandmothers to always have a batch of Scottish tablet in the cupboard.
Over the years, there have become various different techniques and recipes used to get the best-tasting tablet. And often, the bakers are known for keeping their secrets close to their chests.
Now you can find boxes and individual servings of Scottish tablet in cafes and souvenir stores to take home to your family.
History Of Fudge
This is one of the biggest differences between fudge and Scottish tablet. Fudge originated in America on Valentine’s Day in 1886.
It was created by a confectioner in Baltimore, Maryland when he “fudged” a batch of French caramels.
Much like the Scottish tablet, the recipe of fudge has been altered and changed throughout the years, with many women taking to making their own recipes in their kitchens.
This is then passed down through generations and is often a token of love in an American home.
Fudge is sometimes wrongly thought to be a British creation. After all, both Scotland and the English Midlands have their own kinds of fudge.
However, fudge is a distinctively American innovation, according to even the most well-known fudge maker in Britain, who likes to correct the record.
Now, this is where it can become confusing to know the difference between fudge and Scottish tablet. The base ingredients for these indulgent desserts are relatively similar!
Butter, sugar, and milk (in some form) are the basic ingredients, but tablets are heated to a higher temperature than fudge.
In other words, once it has reached a setting point but before it turns to toffee. Whereas fudge fans want a little more “give” in their sweet delight, tablet lovers prefer a harder, crumblier bite.
Many Scots also add a dash of their favorite dram or whiskey to their tablet recipe for a delicious boozy flavor.
Making Scottish Tablet
As mentioned above, both Scottish tablet and fudge are made in similar ways, but there are a few differences.
Both treats require melting sugar and bringing the mixture to a thickening point. The liquid in the pill composition, however, is what truly makes a difference.
Tablet is traditionally prepared with condensed milk, while the fudge is typically made with double or clotted cream.
Scotch tablets are, in theory, relatively simple to build, but the perfect one does require some talent.
Always use a sugar thermometer to obtain an accurate reading, and be ready to put your upper arms through a vigorous workout as you push the pill toward the set point.
Even then, finding the ideal tablet still depends in part on chance. If all goes according to plan, you’ll get the best tablet you’ve ever had.
When it comes to making fudge, there is a lot of beating involved to get the fudge texture, so it is a little easier to get right after a few tries. For fudge to be deemed excellent, it is all about consistency.
Fill a glass with cold water, then test the mixture’s consistency by pouring some of the boiling sugar syrup into it.
The syrup chunks will be pliable enough to mold with your fingers if the temperature is suitable. If they dissolve, they need to cook for longer; if the sugar crystallizes, they’ve been boiling for too long.
You are always aiming for a sturdy yet malleable and sticky texture.
A great way to know the difference between a tablet and fudge is that tablet simply crumbles and melts in your mouth.
Perfect for those with sensitive or false teeth. Fudge, however, requires some chewing and is known for getting stuck in between your teeth.
Is Toffee Similar To Tablet?
Now, once you wrap your mind around the rather minuscule differences between fudge and Scottish tablet, there is another dessert to be brought into the mix.
Toffee. Toffee is a delicious treat every now and then, but is it similar to Scottish tablet? Is it the same?
There are various versions of toffee, all of which have their own ingredients, flavor, and texture. We are going to focus on English toffee.
English toffee is believed to have originated in Wales before growing in popularity across Europe and Britain.
Toffee was created as there was an abundance of cheap sugar imported from the Caribbean in the 19th century. It wasn’t until 1825 that toffee was recorded in the English dictionary and became a staple in English candy.
There are two main types of English toffee. Buttercrunch, which is what we Americans considered English toffee, and then the more authentic English toffee.
Granulated white sugar or high fructose corn syrup are both used in the production of Buttercrunch, the Americanized version of toffee.
A toffee that has undergone Americanization may contain nuts, but a toffee that is entirely British in origin won’t.
On the other hand, English toffee always contains chocolate and has a sweet basis of pure cane sugar, brown sugar, or molasses.
Buttercrunch was given the title of English toffee as a simple marketing ploy. English toffee sounded nicer on the packaging and was more appealing to the mass market.
Allowing buttercrunch or English toffee to become the popular candy it is today.
While English toffee is a popular candy in America, it is different from Scottish tablet. The main difference is all in the techniques used to make it.
To create the sticky texture that makes us love toffee so much, you have to pay attention to the heat used.
The higher the temperature used and the longer you allow the mixture to cook will create the more brittle toffee that we all know and love.
American Fudge Vs English Toffee
So, if toffee is different from Scottish tablet, is it similar to fudge? The making of candy is generally similar. All of them begin as a sugar syrup and slowly develop into tablet, fudge, peanut brittle, or toffee.
The primary distinction is in the texture, which is influenced by both the size and concentration of the candy’s sugar crystals.
Fudge has tiny sugar crystals that give it that texture, whereas toffee is smooth and devoid of crystals.
In addition, toffee has a far higher sugar content than marshmallows, nougat, or fudge, making it heavier and more firm.
Each variety of candy falls within a certain temperature range, which is defined by the temperature of the sugar syrup used to manufacture it (thus the necessity for a candy thermometer).
The syrup’s temperature varies between 112-116°C when making fudge.
Toffee also needs to be allowed to set a lot longer than fudge. English toffee is loved for its tough texture that then requires quite a bit of chewing.
Fudge, on the other hand, is chewy while remaining soft and easier on the jaw. The longer you allow your mixture to rest, the tougher it is going to become.
Is Scottish Tablet Made Anywhere Else?
You may occasionally hear about tablets being called ‘Swiss Milk tablets’, but don’t fret – this doesn’t suggest that the tablet’s roots reside closer to The Alps.
The phrase “Swiss Milk” refers to a moniker that condensed milk occasionally goes by.
But, there are a few dishes that are regional to other nations that are near to the tablet. Quebec, Canada, is home to the sweet treat known as sucré à la crème.
Nonetheless, cream and brown sugar are more frequently used in their production than condensed milk and white sugar.
Dulce de Leche en Tabla, a tablet-like candy from South America, exists alongside Borstplaat, a Dutch equivalent. The latter can also be made using water rather than cream or condensed milk.
While the Scottish tablet began in Scotland, the foundation of the treat has become global and created different variations to suit the flavors of cultures from all around the world.
What Is Better: Fudge Or Scottish Tablet?
Now, this is a completely personal decision. After all, how can we really decide what you enjoy most?
So, to make the decision a little easier for you, we have put together a list of the pros and cons of both fudge and Scottish tablet.
Scottish Tablet Pros
- Chewability. When indulging in a piece of Scottish tablet, there is little to no chewing required. Making it the perfect sweet treat if you have sensitive teeth or false teeth that cannot chew through hard foods.
- Flavor: Scottish Tablet has a sweeter flavor than fudge. It does require a higher amount of sugar, but it is delicious.
- Cooking: Creating a Scottish tablet at home is a lot easier than fudge. It also requires less time to cook and rest meaning, you can enjoy it faster!
- Storage: Scottish tablet can be stored in a tin or plastic container for around 10 days. Or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks!
Scottish Tablet Cons
- Mess: As you enjoy your piece of Scottish tablet, you can expect quite a few crumbs to be left behind. This can make it extremely difficult to eat, especially when you are wearing light colors.
- Sugar: To create even a small batch of Scottish tablet, a lot of sugar is required. At least 900 grams or 2 pounds of sugar is needed to make Scottish tablet, along with a large tin of sweetened condensed milk.
- Texture: Fudge is more malleable than Scottish tablet. Meaning you don’t have to chew fudge to enjoy it.
- Less sugar: Fudge uses less sugar than Scottish tablet, but it is still high in sugar and milk.
- Storage: Store fudge in wax paper at room temperature and it can last around 2-3 weeks. However, it is important that you never refrigerate your fudge. This can draw out the moisture and leave your fudge dry and brittle.
- Add different flavorings and textures: While fudge is already sweet, you can other ingredients to create a variety of fudge flavors including chocolate, peppermint extract and nuts.
- Hard To Make: Making fudge is extremely difficult. No recipe is exact, meaning it can take various tries before you perfect the outcome.
- Sticky: Fudge is extremely sticky, and when you are munching on a piece of fudge, you can expect it to stick to your fingers, your teeth, your hair, and even your clothes.
Now that you have all of the information you need, you can make your own conclusion of whether fudge or Scottish tablet is the best. Although, we highly recommend enjoying both for the best flavor of candy!
So, what is the difference between Scottish tablet and fudge? There aren’t many, yet they make completely different candies.
Scottish tablet uses a lot more sugar and condensed milk and is a lot more crumbly and brittle in texture. Fudge, on the other hand, uses whole milk and less butter to gain a more sticky, moldable texture.
Now that you know the difference between these two mouthwatering treats, you will never get them mixed up. No one wants to call Scottish tablet fudge in front of a true Scotsman.
Go enjoy your favorite fudge and Scottish tablet, or even try your hand at making them! If you dare…
If you’re ready to make some fudge, check out our delectable recipes here: