Adapted from "Classic Candy: Old-Style Fudge, Taffy, Caramel Corn, and Dozens of Other Treats for the Modern Kitchen" by Abigail R. Gehring
Makes:117 (1-inch) squares
Don’t be afraid to try your hand at this candy recipe—butterscotch isn’t complicated or hard to make at all! You only need a few basic ingredients and a reliable candy thermometer, and you’ll have homemade candy in about an hour and a half. Simply heat a mixture of sugar, water, and corn syrup to 270°F, stir in butter and honey, and cook a little longer till you reach the magic number for hard candy: 300°F. Spread it into a pan, let it cool a few minutes, and cut into squares.
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into 1-inch pieces, plus more as needed
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoonvanilla extract
Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Line the dish with the parchment so it lays smooth and flat. Coat the parchment and sides of the baking dish with a thin layer of cooking spray or butter; set aside.
Place the sugars, water, and corn syrup in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugars melt, about 10 minutes. Attach a candy thermometer to the saucepan and cook the mixture, without stirring, until it reaches 270°F, about 20 to 25 minutes. Meanwhile heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
Add the measured butter, honey, and salt and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, until the mixture reaches 300°F, about 10 to 12 minutes. (The mixture will lighten in color and become foamy.)
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla (it may sputter slightly). Pour the mixture into the prepared dish in an even layer and let it cool until slightly set, about 15 minutes.
Turn the candy out onto a cutting board paper-side up. Peel off and discard the parchment paper. Score the candy into 1-inch squares, cutting about three-quarters of the way through. (If your candy is too hard to cut through, place it in the oven on a baking sheet until slightly softened, about 5 minutes, and score again.) Let the candy cool until almost completely hardened, about 3 minutes more. Break into squares. (If the squares don’t easily crack, let the candy cool for 1 to 2 minutes more.) Store at room temperature in an airtight container, in layers divided by parchment paper, for up to 2 weeks.