Homemade Butterscotch Krimpets

Casey Barber

by Casey Barber on September 5, 2011

Guess what? An improved, updated version of this recipe can be found in my new cookbook Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Brand-Name Treats. Preorder it now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local indie bookstore!

For my feature story in the latest issue of Gourmet Live, I turn my eagle eye and omnivorous palate to the quickly disappearing world of cult snack foods. Company mergers make it more likely than ever that customers can find formerly hyperlocal snack brands popping up on mega-mart shelves across the nation, and those living far away from their hometowns but willing to pay a few bucks for shipping don’t even need to leave the house to get their childhood snack fix.

Yet even with the cash influx of bigger corporate umbrellas, a few brands still stick to their regional roots and the same family recipes, among them Zapp’s potato chips from Louisiana and It’s-It ice cream sandwiches of San Francisco. And as a proud Pennsylvanian, I would be remiss not to feature Tastykakes, the Philadelphia-based bakery that’s been churning out Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes, Koffee Kakes, Kreamies, and other krazily-spelled cakes since 1914.

homemade tastykake butterscotch krimpets
As a companion piece to the story, I’ve developed a DIY version of Tastykake’s Butterscotch Krimpets, the spongy little snack cakes with golden caramel frosting that were some of the bakery’s earliest creations. And like Cheez-Its, Pudding Pops, and other homemade junk foods already featured on Good. Food. Stories., these not only taste almost exactly like the real thing, but they’re exceedingly simple to make.

If you’re opening up a package of store-bought Krimpets, according to GFS contributor and Tastykake superfan Christine Galanti, “there’s a secret to preventing the layer of frosting from sticking to the wrapper: gently wipe the unopened package, frosting side down, on a smooth surface.” That won’t be a problem with this homemade version, but the buttery cakes may offer up leverage to barter for some pretty valuable things.

And those who are petrified by the prospect of molten hot sugar need not avoid this recipe for fear of death by frosting. Making butterscotch is much easier than dry caramel; with a higher moisture and fat content, there’s less danger of scorching. Shuna Lydon’s perfect butterscotch tutorial from Simply Recipes has step-by-step photos of the process. Don’t omit the salt; it’s crucial for that true butterscotch flavor.

(Krimpet fans around the world, take note: you can buy three different Krimpet Lovers Collection packages via Tastykake online. Is there anyone out there who loves the jelly Krimpets more than the butterscotch version?)

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