Butterscotch is one of our favorite flavors. Some butterscotch lollipops and hard candies are dairy-free, but it is difficult to find dairy-free butterscotch chips. Katherine found some homemade butterscotch chips recipes online and altered them to make this recipe. While these dairy-free butterscotch chips don’t hold their shape when heated the way commercial chips do, they do have that perfect butterscotch flavor. We did try to make a sturdier chip, but the resulting flavor was more “caramel” than “butterscotch.” So we went back to Katherine’s original recipe.
These homemade dairy-free butterscotch chips are great in our Dairy-Free Seven Layer Bars (recipe coming soon!), as a dairy-free ice cream topping or mix in, in no-bake treats, or blended into dairy-free milkshakes. You can also use them in other cookie recipes calling for butterscotch chips. However, they do melt when heated, and will make some unattractive, though delicious, cookies!
Young children can help measure and mix all of the ingredients, spread the butterscotch in the sheet pan with a spatula, and break the butterscotch into chips once it has cooled. A butter knife can be used instead to cut them into small, even chunks. But pouring the hot butterscotch is a job best left to teens and adults.
This recipe can be a bit finicky, as it is a homemade candy, and some dairy-free buttery spreads don’t work as well as others in this application. Even if they don’t turn out perfectly, the butterscotch chips still taste good in baked goods.
Special Diet Notes: Dairy-Free Butterscotch Chips
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, allergy-friendly, vegan, and vegetarian.
- Put the coconut oil, margarine, and brown sugar in a medium, stainless steel saucepan.
- Place the saucepan over medium-high heat, and whisk the ingredients to combine them as the oil and buttery spread melt.
- While continuing to whisk, bring the mixture almost to a full boil, just under 200 degrees on a candy thermometer. These two steps should take approximately 2 to 3 minutes total.
- Turn down the heat to a simmer, approximately 180 or 190 degrees on the candy thermometer, and continue to whisk just until the ingredients are combined and the sauce is a lighter brown color, approximately 1 to 2 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat, and whisk in the vanilla extract.
- The texture of the butterscotch sauce might still be a bit grainy from the sugar even once the ingredients are combined and the sauce has lightened in color, but it will work fine as butterscotch chips once chilled. It is more important to get the butterscotch off the heat before it overcooks and begins to separate again then to worry about the sugar completely dissolving.
- If the butterscotch is beginning to separate, whisk it together again.
- Pour the melted butterscotch onto a parchment-paper lined 9x13-inch pan.
- Spread the butterscotch evenly in the pan.
- Refrigerate the butterscotch for 3 hours.
- The final chips are not as firm as store bought and can easily be broken apart by hand.
- Break the butterscotch into small chips, or, for more uniform shapes, cut into chips with a pizza cutter or butter knife.
- Store the chips in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
The type of dairy-free buttery spread you use makes a difference. We had trouble with separation when we used Earth Balance sticks.