Reverse-Engineering See’s Butterscotch Squares (recipe)

Two years ago, I posted a recipe in which I attempted to clone See’s Butterscotch Squares. Now, being hyper-focused on exercise at the moment, I’m not really in a position to be able to do further trials to refine the recipe, but I thought I’d post the latest version from that old site.

The recipe was based on a posting from Johnny Olson from Crescent City, California, but I had tweaked it a bit.  But I knew it was not perfect, and lots of my readers agreed!  We received contributions from lots of people, including Sooz, Mary, Suzanne, Johanna, matt, Toni, yasmine, nicole, Cherie, SweetTooth, and Alex. Commenter Roy supplied a few crucial changes, and several commenters posted rave reviews.  So I think we have a real candidate, with this one.


Pretty close to See’s original?
Cloned See’s Butterscotch Squares, April 2010 Version

  • 2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed (reserve for later)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 6 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla flavoring
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted to remove clumps

Combine brown sugar, cream, butter, and salt in a large heavy saucepan.
 Don’t skimp on the size of the pan.  Stir to integrate. Apply medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a healthy boil.

Reduce heat to low, and simmer at a slight boil for 15 minutes,
 stirring every few minutes to eliminate any boil-inhibiting skin
 which might form.  Add the baking soda, remove from the heat, and mix it in well.
  Next stir in the vanilla and confectioner’s sugar. Keep mixing until the sugar is 
well-incorporated.  Then, and not a moment before, add the reserved brown sugar.

Pour into a square or rectangular pan such as an 8×8 or 9×9 inch,
 lined with parchment paper. Let cool to room temperature
 (a couple hours at least, more depending on weather).  Cut into inch-square pieces, or less.

Enjoy… in moderation!

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15 Responses to Reverse-Engineering See’s Butterscotch Squares (recipe)

  1. Nancy says:

    These taste amazing, thanks! I’ve used your recipe many times, but always have an issue with them crumbling apart when I cut them. Your picture makes me so jealous…neat little squares just ready for dipping! Any tips on what I’m doing wrong?

  2. Emerald says:

    These were great! I made them for my mom because they’re her favorite from See’s. I froze them and dipped them in chocolate afterward which made them even better. My mom says the centers were not as firm as the real deal but the flavor was spot on. Overall, we’re both extremely pleased with this recipe. Thank you so much for providing it (and doing the leg work to get there!)

  3. John Olson says:

    Hello Jason,
    I will have to try this version of it. The one I posted I really didn’t care for.Although they were really good, I got sick after I about 15 mins later, I got sick from all the sugar. My kids loved them at first as well, and they got sick too. It wasn’t pretty. If you want to quit the habit of eating candy, just follow the old recipe. I stayed off sugar and chocolate for three weeks after I had a sugar overload.
    I will try this version. Hopefully it won’t be too sweet! LOL

    J. Olson

  4. robynne says:

    Great try!!!!!I also tried and had success w/ adding English Treacle toffee flavor from import store, and 1/2 to 1 bag of butterscotch chips to warm mixtre before pouring into pan. Stir till all are melted. The candies will not fall apart any moreand it does’t change flavor. I also add at end before it gets too cool a little dark brown sugar to insure the texture to taste.

  5. Kathy says:

    OMG – SO SO GOOD. The only chocolate type candies I love is See’s and this recipe is right there. Easy to make and no having to watch a candy soft ball or hard ball stage to deal with. Thanks for this treat

  6. Mary says:

    These turned out really great! I went ahead and cooked them to 234 degrees but that was a mistake, they got really dry & crumbly. Next time I’ll stick to the 15 mins and call it good. After they cooled completely I cut them and dipped them in chocolate; using Wilton’s Candy Melts – a combination of dark & light cocoa.
    I used an 8×8 pan but will look for something smaller next time so they aren’t quite so thin. I’d like a thicker layer and then cut them in smaller pieces.
    Even dry & crumbly, after they were covered in chocolate no one noticed and they were wonderful!!

  7. Joy & Michelle says:

    My Mother and I have been See’s fans our whole lives and when we saw this recipe we thought we had to make them..They are WONDERFUL!!! Exactly like See’s Butterscotch squares. We dipped ours in melted chocolate and they are Identical to the real thing…yummm.. We already have plans to make them for family members for Christmas..Thank you for sharing such a MARVELOUS recipe..We are looking for the See’s P-Nut Crunch recipe next…Hopefully we will find it..Thank you …

  8. Terri says:

    Hi Jason, you don’t know how long I have been looking for this recipe! Will be making them for Christmas this year to go in my Cookie Packages. That’s if I don’t eat them all myself first. THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH, can’t wait to try this recipe !! I also would like the Pnut Crunch recipe too, Like a prior post said…?? THANKS AGAIN……

  9. Jason says:

    Glad everyone is enjoying these!

  10. Sharnell says:

    Try using the See’s Semi Sweet Chocolate chips. Melt them down and dip in the butterscotch squares. You will swear you bought them from See’s.

  11. Nadia mehkri says:

    I really loved the pic hope mine turn out the same and dont crumble.tks

  12. O M G says:

    I’ve been using your recipe for years now and I can’t thank you enough! These are my favorite at See’s and this recipe is so spot on…it’s just amazing.

    This weekend, I tried making them with coconut sugar (because it tastes like caramel) and they were awesome! Maybe even more awesome than the brown sugar ones. That obviously isn’t the way See’s makes them, but I just wanted to let everyone know that coconut sugar does work really well if someone wants to make a batch with a lower GI.

  13. Lynne Smith says:

    See’s recipe is a ‘Sucre la Creme’ recipe. When you make it, instead of trying to eliminate graininess (by not stirring right away) like in chocolate fudge, you are going with the grainy theme and stirring right away. Here is a recipe: 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 3 cups dark brown sugar, 1 tbsp. butter, 1 tsp vanilla. Cook all except the butter and vanilla to the soft ball stage. Remove from heat, add the vanilla and stir immediately (here it gets its graininess). After a few min add the butter and keep stirring vigorously. It looks like thick muffin batter to me when its ready to place in a 9×9 parchment lined pan. It does not feel like that of course because it is denser. Let it cool for 40 min and score it ¾ of the way through in lines where you want it cut. After it has cooled for two hours you can flip it over and break or cut the pieces apart. Remember Sees version is soft and grainy. If yours is too hard you may have cooked it too long – eliminating too much liquid, or stirred too long. If you don’t stir long enough it will be too soft. It takes a bit of practice. Good luck.

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