Scottish tablet is an age-old recipe for fudge that's perfect as a holiday gift or a sweet dessert with coffee. With a touch of vanilla bean, this fudge is a delicious treat for any sweet tooth.
What is Scottish Tablet?
Christmas just isn't Christmas in my family without Scottish tablet. What's Scottish tablet I hear you ask?
No, it's not some strange medication. Scottish tablet is a Scottish confection that has a long history that was first documented in The Household Book of Lady Grisell Baillie in the 18th Century.
While traditionally it was made with sugar and cream, the modern version uses condensed milk and sugar, which is what my family recipe is based on. It's basically a delicious fudge.
So, what does it taste like? It's somewhat like a caramel sauce turned into fudge.
And when it's cooking it smells absolutely divine ... and oh so much like Christmas to me.
If you want to try your hand at making Scottish tablet, be warned you may get a sore arm from stirring, because it really does need careful supervision to ensure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the saucepan.
I have fond memories of stirring Scottish tablet as a child, and it almost seemed magical to me back then, watching it slowly turn from a light cream color to a golden caramel.
Making Homemade Scottish Tablet
Well you're in for a treat because Scottish tablet isn't too hard to make (apart from the arm workout).
Start by getting a baking pan ready. This is the pan you'll use to create the shape of the tablet at the end. You can use a non-stick rectangular baking tin, or get creative and use some other shape.
Just line it with baking paper so it's all ready for the last step.
Then on the stovetop, put a large non-stick pan on medium-high heat.
Add the sugar, water, vanilla seeds, butter, and condensed milk. Stir them together and bring the mixture to a boil.
Once at a boil, turn the heat down to medium-low, but don't you stop stirring! Stirring is pretty much the most important part of this Scottish tablet.
Your delicious mixture will start to thicken and become caramel colored. Sure, it will take 20 minutes of stirring to get there, but stay resilient!
At this point, you can spoon a teaspoon out onto some baking paper and use a knife to spread it. If you can see the grooves from the knife in the mixture, then that's perfect!
Also do a little taste test. If it's a slightly sugared texture, it's ready to remove from the heat. If it's chewy, you keep on stirring.
But if it's ready to remove from the heat, move quickly and pour the mixture into the cake pan. Don't delay, or the mixture will set in the cooking pan.
You can scrape the mixture off the pan to get everything into the cake pan. Then roll the pan so that the mixture spreads evenly across the bottom of the cake pan. Let it cool, and then it is ready to be cut up into little squares for you to share!
For my version of Scottish tablet, I decided to add vanilla bean to spice things up a little bit.
When you've made your vanilla Scottish tablet, wrap it up in cellophane and give it as a gift or serve it in tiny squares along with coffee at the end of your Christmas meal, in place of a dessert.
If you don't like coffee, try it with some mulled apple cider.
Do you have any family food traditions that define your Christmas season?
Scottish Tablet Vanilla Fudge Recipe
- 400 ml Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1 pound sugar
- 2 oz butter
- ¼ cup water
- seeds of 2 small vanilla beans scraped, or 1 large
- Grease a medium sized non stick rectangular cake tin or line with baking paper.
- Add the sugar, water, vanilla seeds, butter and the condensed milk to a large non stick pan and turn the heat on medium-high and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium low and continue to stir. I find using a whisk helps. As the mixture cooks it will start to darken in colour. You want a rich caramel colour and you want the mixture to begin to thicken. As the mixture starts to darken and thicken (around 20 minutes) take teaspoonfuls of the mixture and place onto a plate and leave it a for a few minutes. Use a knife and spread the mixture across the plate. What you want to see is grooves from the knife in the mixture. Also taste it, it should have a slight sugared texture. When it's at this point it's ready to remove from the heat. If the mixture is chewy, it's not there yet, and keep cooking.
- When the mixture is ready pour it into the prepared cake tin. You will need to do this very quickly because as soon as you remove it from the heat it will start to set. Try to get as much of the mix out of the pot and into the pan by scraping the pot. Roll the pan from side to side to spread the mix evenly in the pan. Set aside to cool. Once the mixture is set cut into small squares.
The perfect Christmas treat! I look forward to trying your fudge recipe very soon!
Thanks so much!
Lisa @ Tarte du Jour says
I've never made tablet.... looks great! I love family traditions!! Thanks for sharing yours! Merry Christmas to you and your family!
Thanks Lisa! Merry Christmas to you and your family too.
Our family Christmas involves so many traditions - sausages and lentils on Christmas Eve, panettone, numerous dishes on Christmas day...more than I can list here! We do love a good bit of fudge too....and your tablet looks like just the sort of thing we'd love to indulge in at Christmas.
Kiran @ KiranTarun.com says
Mmm.. so drool-worthy! We make similar tablets during our Hindu festival as well 🙂
Love! Stud is Scottish and I had my first taste of tablets years back in Edinburgh Castle's gift shop 🙂 haha! Its so delicious! Thanks for the recipe 🙂 I can make him some to remind him of home!
I'm told our family recipe has less sugar than the traditional recipes...even so it's still incredibly sweet. Hopefully Stud will enjoy it. 😀
Merry Christmas to you and Stud 😀
Love the name of this dessert 🙂 Tablet hehe!!!
And it seems easy enough for me hahaha YAY!!! Thanks for the recipe!!!
You're welcome Daisy. Merry Christmas 😀
It looks lovely and what a great way to remember your Grandmother ......
I am very fond of recipes that are passed along in families. Holiday recipes are compelling, evoking a special time and place of comfort. Tablet sounds delectably sweet and exceptionally delightful!
On Christmas morning we must have homemade Cinnamon Rolls. And there are always tons of cookies!
Mmmm I can imagine how wonderful your cinnamon rolls would smell on Christmas morning. Merry Christmas Deb 😀
Claire @ Claire K Creations says
Food traditions are the best sort of traditions in my opinion. I can't wait to create them when I have kids.
I just have to correct you on the 'instead of dessert.' Surely you meant to say have dessert, then serve vanilla tablets with coffee? I would make room for these ever after a full dessert!
Seeing everyone posting a little extra Christmas sweet recipe is tiring me out this week. I keep reading a blog then racing to the kitchen to make what I see!
Hahaha yes, that's exactly what I meant Claire, dessert and then tablet 😀 Well, that's how it's done in my family anyway! 😉
Merry Christmas 😀
Not this year, my sister kindly gave me some. She used her new thermomix to make it so she didn't have to stir it for 20 minutes!
What a kind sister you have 😉
Oh i love this stuff! Very nice! Happy Holidays!
Happy Holidays to you too 😀
Emma @ Poires au Chocolat says
Ooh this looks lovely! Traditional family recipes are wonderful, especially at this time of year. We have loads of things we have to make like mincemeat, christmas cake, mince pies, traditional turkey roast etc etc. We added stollen to the list last year too.
Traditional foods are the best as they always seem so comforting.
Merry Christmas Emma 😀
Yum looks just as good as Nan use to make.
Thanks Debbie 😀 Are you making any this year?
Sanjeeta kk says
Hey...this is wonderful..how many forms and names a single recipe can take across the world..we make cashew and chickpea fudges or Katlis in India the similar way. Yours look lovely.
It's so interesting isn't it Sanjeeta. That's one of the great things about food, it's so transportable and adaptable.
Happy Holidays 😀
It is time that my sister and I carry on the food traditions. My mom is getting up in years and has lost interest in baking and cooking. I sent my dad's favorite sugar cookies, which he considers are required for the holidays.
Your batch of vanilla tablet here does look delicious. Perfect for the holiday dessert plate or to give as gifts. While there are always chocolate things during the holiday I try not to forget about the pleasing taste of vanilla and make sure there is something offered of that flavor. Enjoy the season my friend!
Food traditions are so important I think. It's a shame that some get lost over the years, so I'm trying to make sure I keep what traditions I can from my family. Sadly we don't have all that many, but hopefully one day I will be able to pass those on 😀 I am sure you will be able to do the same too.
Merry Christmas Tina.
Sneh | Cook Republic says
This looks like something my mum used to make when I was little. Loved it, ingredients look very familiar .. I am going to try making this one. Thanks Jen!
Let me know how it goes Sneh, and whether it's similar to what your Mum made. 😀
I love that! Your Scottish tablets look very tempting. A great gift.
Thank you Rosa 😀