Slowly but surely, I’ve been making slight changes to my diet since I made it my New Year’s resolution to be more aware of my food intolerances and to eat healthier. For our wedding, a family friend made her famous tablet (for those of you who aren’t familiar with this Scottish sweet, it’s like fudge, but much softer and melts in your mouth and tastes like heaven). We had vegan and lactose intolerant guests, so I decided to make a vegan batch as well.
I’m still finding it difficult to adjust to not having dairy in my diet, especially since I love my ice cream and cheese. It seems having a small slab of tablet doesn’t agree with me either! I’m not a big fan of coconute, but it seems The Vegan Cookie Fairy’s vegan tablet recipe is the only one out there for vegan tablet, so I decided to give it a try.
The recipe itself has been adapted from the BBC Good Food recipe, but I still found it a bit difficult and confusing which ingredients to get at the shops. I managed to find unrefined cane sugar at Tesco and decided to go for a block of creamed coconut instead of skimming the cream from a can of coconut milk, but Real Foods told me there’s no such thing as ‘vegan butter’. You can get various vegan-friendly butters, but you really want a jar that’s solid so that when your tablet cools down it solidifies. I ended up getting a jar of Tiana organic coconut butter (see here). Although it looks like it might be liquid, it’s actually a solid block in the jar!
Coconut butter I scooped from the jar
The great thing is, it doesn’t have any aroma or flavour to it whatsoever, so you can add it to any dish without worrying about it tasting like coconut. You do get a slight coconut flavour in this tablet from the creamed coconut though, but it’s not terrible.
Pessimist that I was, I decided to get as many dry ingredients as I could for this recipe so I could be sure then when it was cooled to room temperature, that I was definitely going to have solid tablet pieces that weren’t going to fall apart when picked up. I have to say, I learned quite a lot from trying out the recipe myself so here is my recipe and tips on how to make your own vegan tablet!
Serves 1 tray
500g unrefined cane sugar (not soft brown sugar)
180g Tiana organic coconut butter
75g Blue Dragon creamed coconut (or scoop 75ml of the fat out of a can of chilled full-fat coconut milk)
1. In a large saucepan heat the water and add the coconut butter. Once the large chunks melt, it’ll look like you’ve poured oil in the water.
2. When the water is just about to boil and the butter has completely melted, slowly add the sugar to the pan. Dissolve the sugar making sure to stir regularly.
3. Bring the liquid to the boil, then lower to a simmer. Keep checking by spooning mixture from the bottom of the pan and see if the sugar granules are visible. You want the mixture to start looking somewhat like clear toffee or burnt sugar sauce.
4. Measure the required amount of coconut creamed coconut and add to the sugar mixture after a few minutes of gentle simmering.
5. Keep stirring for the next 20 minutes. The sugary liquid is going to bubble up a lot (hence the importance of a large saucepan) so you must keep on eye on it.
After twenty minutes it will have reduced considerably and become a thick, creamy sauce.
Test the consistency of the mixture by dropping a little on a cold side plate; if it sets within 30 seconds, it’s ready.
6. Remove the mixture from the heat and our into a large mixing bowl. It is really important you put your mixing bowl on a cool surface (like on a heatproof mat on your kitchen table or counter top) to prevent the mixture from separating.
7. Beat ferociously for 10 minutes, either with a handheld whisk or electric mixer. This process helps cool down the mixture and introduce air in it to make it nice and soft.
After beating for a while, you should feel the mixture getting thicker and it’s harder to beat quickly.
8. Make sure the mixture is not piping hot before pouring it into a shallow baking tray (I used the tray we would normally use to bake brownies).
9. To give the tablet a nice, smooth surface, gently press the flat surface of a knife along the top. Do not run the flat surface along your mixture – this will cause the sugar to pull away and leave creases/cracks in your surface (you can see this towards the top of the tray).
10. While your tablet is still somewhat warm, decide how big you want your pieces to be and cut your mixture. Once the tablet has hardened, you won’t be able to get clean cut squares so do it now while it’s still soft.
11. Cool on a wire rack for a few hours at room temperature or until it’s completely cool to touch and rock hard.
12. Last but not least, serve to your friends and family (vegan or not) over a nice cuppa and a good chat and enjoy your baking success!
It turned out really well and everyone really enjoyed it! I had a couple of vegan friends test taste them for me as my guinea pigs before the wedding and they couldn’t get enough of them. I was even asked for the recipe for guests to make them at home themselves, so I can proudly say I managed to make my first batch of Scottish tablet without making a muck of it!
Let me know how you get on with the recipe!