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If you love those Butterscotch Squares from your favorite candy shop…this recipe is for you!

Overhead shot of butterscotch squares in white bowl with title

I’ve mentioned before about my See’s Candy addiction. Growing up, a pound lasted less than a day. The chocolate factory is in my hometown, so that whenever I smell the inside of See’s store, I think I’m home.

If I had to pick one kind of See’s Candy to eat for the rest of my life it would be the Butterscotch Square. There would be no deliberation, hesitation, or hemming and hawing. Butterscotch Squares: they’re my favorite!

The boxes of See’s we’d get when I was a kid came with one butterscotch square. And it was mine – always. Everyone knew to back away from the square. My mom got the divinity, my dad the bordeaux. Me? I got the butterscotch square.

Of course, in true Dorothy fashion (and since I didn’t know the name for the longest time), called them brown sugar squares. I’d polish it off and then tell everyone I knew how much I hated butterscotch.

Yes, I’ve learned the error of my ways. Butterscotch and me, we’re BFFs.

And now I’ve made a copy cat of my favorite candy. So you can make it at home.

I’m not entirely sure if that’s good…or bad?

Stack of half eaten butterscotch squares in white bowl with title

The base of the recipe is a cooked mixture of butter, brown sugar and heavy whipping cream. When that trifecta boils together, you get a rich butterscotch candy.

Have you ever heard of penuche? This recipe is very similar to penuche candy/fudge. The difference is the amount of powdered sugar used at the end. Also, some of the penuche recipes I came across used evaporated milk. I tried that in this candy and it did not work. Learn from my mistake!

Overhead shot of butterscotch squares in white bowl

I did a lot of searching online for a copy cat recipe and kept coming up with the same base recipe (some with just a few changes or additions) over and over. I finally traced it back to the oldest one I could find, but I’m not sure where that one came from.

I do recommend using a candy thermometer for this recipe. The recipe I used as a guideline just gave times, and the first time I made this it really did not turn out. After doing some research on penuche, I realized I really did need to use my candy thermometer. They’re relatively inexpensive, and I highly recommend getting one. Using one also takes the guess work out of candy making. No more “is it done???” and praying; if you use the thermometer you know when it’s done!

A note about the finished candy: it’s very brittle. If you’re not careful when cutting it into squares, it will break into pieces. Here is how I suggest you cut it:

  • Use a large kitchen knife.
  • Remove the candy from the pan using the foil. Cut it in quarters. Some little pieces may break off.
  • Cut each quarter into slices, then cut each slice into squares. Make small cuts to avoid breaking the candy.

Then dip them in chocolate (I love using Candiquik) and enjoy! They’ll take you back to childhood, I promise.

And, like in childhood, I’m not sharing. 😉

Two picture collage of  butterscotch squares in white bowl with title

Overhead shot of butterscotch squares in white bowl with title

Butterscotch Squares {copycat recipe}

4.20 from 90 votes


  • 2 cups brown sugar I used light
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 16 ounces melting chocolate for dipping such as Candiquik or almond bark


  • Line a 9x9” pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  • Place brown sugar, cream, and butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until melted. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to low and place a candy thermometer in the pot.
  • Stir occasionally and simmer until the mixture reaches 236º, about 7-8 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in vanilla and salt. Whisk in powdered sugar. Pour into prepared pan and allow to set at room temperature (a few hours, but this can be done the day ahead).
  • When ready to cut, remove from pan. Use a large kitchen knife and cut the square into quarters. From here, use small cuts to cut them into small squares.
  • Be sure to use small but swift cuts. The candy is fragile and is prone to flaking and breaking, so a quick cut will make the candy stay together.
  • Melt chocolate according to package directions and dip each square, tapping off excess. Place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and chill to set.
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate

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Last Updated on May 13, 2020

Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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  1. My husband loves the Butterscotch Bars- I wondered, can you substitute whole milk for heavy cream? Just wondering since we don’t often have heavy cream on hand.

  2. Several of my family members have at one time or another lived in California, some in the San Fran area. (Sadly they have all moved back here to Indiana so I don’t have an excuse to go to SF.) They discovered See’s, and ever since I can remember they have been ordering a couple of assorted boxes for us all to share at Christmas. There is always one that is my favorite and I try to select it from the box. I never knew what it was for sure but in trying to google for years this has to be it. lol. I must try this recipe and find out!! I always fear that by the time the box gets to me, someone will have stolen it. I have to wait all year to have just one…so if I can make a whole batch it would be awesome. Plus I can share the awesomeness with others! (No way am I splitting my one square a year lol!)

  3. Hi Dorothy! I enjoyed reading about your family’s experience with See’s Candies. My family too loved their candies. They were a tradition in my family, given to my brother and I at Valentine’s Day, and Easter ( a big chocolate egg with walnuts, and our name written on the egg! (Those were the days! Never knew if it was Mom who added our names on the eggs, or if See’s did). Christmas was a special time for giving and receiving See’s candy too! Always looked forward to the box being opened with great excitement! When I was twelve my neighbor gave me the recipe for See’s chocolate fudge with nuts. She received it from a friend serving on a jury at a trial of a See’s employee charged with stealing the See’s recipe. In the process of the trial, for some unknown reason, the recipe for the fudge was given out to the members of the jury.
    I have made that delicious fudge almost every year since, changing it slightly by adding a little instant decaf, and the grated peel of an organic navel orange. I love the combination of chocolate, coffee, and orange.
    I also discovered if I grated a little bit of that same orange peel into my hot chocolate it sent the flavor into the stratisphere!

  4. Made a batch of these and they ARE just like See’s Butterscotch Squares that cost $27/lb. in the airport! Yum! Problem: I literally would eat them all in a day or two if I kept them in the house, so my neighbors got a lot of them. Note: They are awesome frozen! And, I used dark brown sugar, since I like dark better than light, and the flavor is just sooo amazing! My favorite See’s piece… and now I can have them for a small fraction of the cost. Ingredients are cheap.

  5. Penuche is like freebase and sugar. 

    I made these for breakfast this morning, and they taste exactly the same as the original. Nipped that two-year long craving in the bud. I have died and gone to heaven, for only a few bucks. 

    I used a candy thermometer, which was a good idea – as a first-time sugar boiler, I wouldn’t have been able to eyeball the consistency well. I did my best to keep a solid simmer going without it boiling over (a larger saucepan would be a good idea – I didn’t realize that boiling sugar takes up hella volume), whipped that kiddo off the stove at 386.48 K, and BAM’d that powdered sugar in. Stir stir stir. Poured evenly and smooth as butter into the 9×9, cooled quickly.

    They came out perfectly.
    The next time I make them, I will use finer powdered sugar – some powdered sugar clumps made it not entirely homogenous, but was noticeable only by eye. 
    I thought the interior might have been too soft compared to the original (probably because there’s a chance of me not using the thermometer correctly; I’m not a meteorologist), but after cooling in the fridge that sexy flakiness came right out, it’s beautiful. I didn’t cover them with chocolate. I didn’t want chocolate. 

    These are out of this world. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  6. If you want your homemade butterscotch squares to taste like sees then use Guittard milk chocolate baking chips!!!! That is the chocolate they use it’s from San Francisco.

  7. I really love this recipe, the candiquik is a bit too much! You kinda lose the flavor of the butterscotch. I am going to retry the recipe using Hershey’s kisses and I will let you know how it turns out!

  8. I LOVE see’s candies, and the butterscotch square is one of my very favorites. This was IDENTICAL to See’s Butterscotch Square. I’m so happy with how they turned out!! Thank you for the amazing recipe.