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What is Golden Syrup?

What is Golden Syrup?

Popular as a sweetener, golden syrup is often used as a substitute for honey and corn syrup. Here is a brief overview about the product.
Sonia Nair
Treacle tart is a popular traditional British dessert that has been an all-time favorite for many ('including the much adored Harry Potter'). This tart with a base made of short crust pastry differs from others because of its delicious filling that is made of golden syrup, breadcrumbs, and a small amount of lemon butter. One of the reasons behind the unique flavor of this dessert is golden syrup, which is a sweetener that resembles honey in color as well as flavor. In fact, it is a byproduct of sugar industry. It is golden in color, and has the consistency of corn syrup. Golden syrup is very popular in the United Kingdom, where it is used in a wide range of recipes, including desserts, like treacle tart. It is also used as a topping for pancakes and oatmeal.

This delicious sweetener was invented in 1883, by a Scottish businessman Abram Lyle, at his sugar factory in London. He filled this product in wooden casks, and sold it to his employees and relatives. Soon it became so popular, that Abram Lyle started commercial production of golden syrup, which is now one of the most popular brands in the U.K. and other parts of the world. Lyle's Golden Syrup is easily distinguished with the gold and green tins sporting the logo of a lion carcass along with some bees. In fact, the Guinness World Records for being the oldest brand in Britain belongs to the 'Golden Syrup'.

How is Golden Syrup Made

As mentioned above, golden syrup is a byproduct of refining sugar. It is an inverted sugar cane syrup, which is made through partial splitting of sucrose into glucose and fructose. Splitting of disaccharide sucrose is done by adding hydrochloric acid. As this process makes the solution slightly acidic, it is treated with lye solution to make the resultant product neutral in nature. Golden syrup contains a small part of sucrose, apart from glucose and fructose. This syrup is sweeter than sugar.

You may replace golden syrup with honey or corn syrup, but the flavor will change slightly. You can make a substitute by mixing two parts of light corn syrup with one part molasses. A mixture of equal parts of honey and corn syrup (or maple syrup) may also work. Some people reduce corn syrup, so as to make it thick and fit for using as a golden syrup substitute. In Germany, 'Zuckerrübensirup', a syrup made from sugar beets, is used in place of this sweetener. In Australia and New Zealand, a local brand named Chelsea golden syrup is available. In case of South Africa, you may get a local brand named 'Illovo'. USA does not have any local brands, and if golden syrup is not available in stores, you may order this product online.