Dutch Babbelaars

I’ve recently reconnected with a friend from grad school days, Tamara, who turns out to be Dutch like Barb and myself.  When I mentioned something about making Banket, Tamara chimed in with appreciation and anticipation of her own banket-making enterprise.  She also mentioned that one of the Dutch family heirloom recipes that she inherited from her grandmother was Babbelaars, which Tamara explained are a kind of hard butterscotch candy that you pull like taffy.  OF COURSE I begged the recipe from her, which she graciously shared.  Here they are, in Tamara’s words:


Here’s the full text of my grandmother’s recipe:


  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup dark Karo syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 T. vinegar

Boil till hard crack stage. Pour into buttered plates and pull when slightly cooled. Cut in pieces.

My grandmother used to make these regularly when my mom was a girl (we only make them at Xmastime), and she used to give my mother a babbelaar during church — just before what my mom called the “long prayer” — to keep her from getting fidgety. 🙂 They are tasty if you like to suck on hard candy — a nice sweet taste that’s not overwhelmingly sugary.

I asked Tamara to clarify what “hard crack stage” is, and here’s her note on that: I checked with my mom, and she says it’s about 300 or 305 degrees. Many candy thermometers will indicate the different stages (soft ball, hard ball, soft crack, and hard crack) right on the thermometer. Or, you can test the candy the old fashioned way (the way my grandmother did). You spoon a tiny bit of the molten candy and toss it into a cup of cold water. If it’s solid when you pull it out, you’re at “hard crack” — if it’s anything softer than solid, you’re not there yet. And my mother warns not to go beyond hard crack — babbelaars burn quickly once you pass that point, and then they taste burnt. Good luck! 🙂

One last note.  When I told Barb about this recipe, she said, “OH!  I remember having those when I was a little girl!”  I don’t remember them, so I must’ve been a baby when our grandparents brought some as treats for Christmas.  In any case, many thanks to Tamara for sharing this family treasure (and please feel free to share any other family heirlooms with us!)


  1. Wow…that recipe is a gem! I haven’t had decent babbelaars since I worked in a Dutch bakery. Please ask your friend if she knows anything about anise flavored babbelaars? They were red, and were more of a Christmas candy.

  2. This has GOT to be the coolest site on the web. I am a guy who loves to cook, bake, clean house, does small engine repair you name it I can do it. Play the violin you say?? no problem!! Can’t wait to try the recipes listed!! Thank-you for everything!! Blessing’s ~Steve~

  3. Steve,

    Glad you like our place. I’ve subscribed you to email alerts of new posts. Small engine repair is about the only thing we DON’T do around here. (Although at the rate I burn through Kitchenaid mixers, I probably ought to learn more about motors!)
    Thanks for visiting,

  4. Sunday, after a great meal of eating beef fat charred on the grill with medium rare beef, home-made garlic bread with real butter slathered on, green beans soaked in salt-brine water prior to boiling and then soaked in butter, I proceeded to take my Sunday afternoon nap. I remembered that growing up my mother would have a “treat” for us after the Sunday noon meal. Dutch Babbelaars came to mind and I wondered where I could find a receipe, as my mother passed on some years ago. Google search brought me here, and I thank you for sharing your recipe.


  5. I recently married in to a Dutch Family. I had never even heard of Banket or Babbelaars. Literally last night I had my first Babbelaar at a local Dutch Restaurant. My Mother-in-Law said her mother made them all the time for them when they were kids. She said they were also used at church for “church candy”. I can’t wait to try this recipe. Please add my email to your subcription.
    Crystal T.

  6. Banket! Babbelaars! I must be in heaven!
    I grew up just east of Holland, Michigan. I moved to Chicago about 37 years ago. My grandparents were Dutch and owned a farm northwest of Zeeland. I spent many summers on the farm and can remember my grandmother making homemade bread and banket. My grandfather made Babbelaars. I often longed for the taste of these treats but could never find the right recipes. This web site is a blessing! Thank you for awakening the beautiful memories of my childhood. You are the best.
    And eat Dutch my friend!