Thursday, June 3, 2010

Triple Butterscotch Cupcakes

Single wasn't enough. Double just didn't cut it. These cupcakes had to have a triple dose of butterscotch.

First things first. Let's settle the difference between Butterscotch and Caramel. They look similar, smell similar, and to the untrained palate, they can also taste similar. But, they are two different animals. Caramel gets its name from its method of production, called caramelization. This phenomenon refers to the transformation of sucrose (regular table sugar) under conditions of very high temperatures into new coloured flavour compounds. The addition of certain acids can help to increase the rate of reaction by promoting the breakdown of sugar (it helps to cleave the bonds that hold glucose molecules together).

Butterscotch, however, is based on brown sugar and does not necessarily undergo the same degree of caramelization as caramel, if any at all. Its rich flavour is derived mostly from the combination of cooked brown sugar and butter. Brown sugar is essentially white table sugar coated with molasses, and it is the element which distinguishes the two famous sauces. In each case, corn syrup helps maintain fluidity of the sauces by preventing crystallization. It contains some larger, longer-chain saccharides (carbohydrates) which get in between simple sugar molecules and interfere with re-crystallization.

Above all, if you like butterscotch, you'll love these Triple Butterscotch Cupcakes. So, go give your brown sugar the attention it deserves and then put it all in your stomach. I did, and that was lunch.


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