The Untold Truth Of Golden Syrup

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Maybe we are all Anglophiles at heart, or, perhaps, we've just binged watched the Great British Bake-off too much and found ourselves longing to buy a tin of that gold and green container filled with sweet golden syrup and the brand name "Lyles" scribbled across it (via The Drum). Golden syrup is a form of treacle, which Medium explains is basically Great Britain's version of molasses. Thick and sweet, treacle can be dark or it can be a light, amber color. Light treacle is golden syrup, which has a buttery flavor and is made by cooking down a refined sugar solution using an acid. According to The Nibble, making golden syrup involves a partial inversion of sugar. During the inversion process, sugar's glucose and fructose elements are separated, creating a liquid known as invert sugar that has equal amounts of glucose and fructose and tastes sweeter than white sugar (via the Sugar Association). 

If you see golden syrup and think it looks very similar to honey or Karo syrup, you are not alone. They do look the same; however, don't be too quick to start swapping and substituting ingredients, regardless of how tempting it might be. While golden syrup may have a resemblance to other sticky sweeteners, its's taste and use are quite different. So, how does one use golden syrup when they are baking or cooking?

Golden Syrup is not just for desserts

Sure, golden syrup is used when baking sweets and desserts like yummy British puddings and treacle tarts, but it can also be used to glaze prawns, in porridge, or even in beef stew (via Woman's Own). And Those do not even come close to covering everything this sweet syrup can be used for. According to The Kitchn, you can use golden syrup to replace your maple syrup and pour it over your pancakes, French toast, or even in your yogurt to add a drop of sweetness. They also suggest sprinkling it over fruit salads or adding it to your marinades and cocktails. This thick, gooey syrup is even used to create fake blood on movie sets. 

Golden syrup is clearly pretty versatile. One user on Hungry Onion shares, "I just use it in my coffee. Probably not the best use, but I thought it tasty." While another user wrote, "Also good on sourdough toast with salted [butter]. Has to be salted so you get the salted caramel vibe going on." So, when it comes to this English syrup and where and when you use it, it's really chacun à son goût. But what if you don't have any golden syrup hiding in your cabinets?

You can make your own golden syrup

The official website of Nigella Lawson, the quintessential English food writer and chef, suggests using corn syrup if you do not have any golden syrup. While corn syrup is not as thick as golden syrup and doesn't have the same butter flavor, you can substitute it using a one-to-one ratio. The site also advises that you should not use honey or maple syrup as substitutes for golden syrup as both have very distinct flavors and may undermine the taste you are trying to achieve. But if you don't have any corn syrup either, you can make golden syrup in your kitchen on your stovetop. How? 

Per the International Desserts Blogit is pretty darn easy. To make golden syrup at home you will need sugar, water, and either a nice slice of lemon or – as suggested by Daring Gourmet - 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Pour your sugar and water into a heavy pan and bring it to a boil while stirring occasionally. Last but not least, stir in the lemon slice/lemon juice. Next, turn the heat to low, and allow it to simmer until it turns amber. Do not stir your syrup at this point. Allow it to caramelize, and then take it off the heat, allow it to cool, and you have yourself some golden syrup.

Lyle's Golden Syrup is the "it" golden syrup

Since 1883, Lyle's Golden Syrup has lined the pantry shelves of both the novice chef and the professional. According to a product description on Amazon, even famed pastry chef Rose Levy Birnbaum favors the sweet content in that lovely Lyle's tin, and for good reason. This light treacle brand is definitely the "it" golden syrup. It comes in the aforementioned gold and green tin with an iconic lion that appears to be sleeping in a white circle on the center of the can. Only, the lion is not really sleeping. Turns out it's actually dead. Morbid, right? 

The story goes that Abram Lyle, the man who invented this syrup brand, was deeply religious and used the Samson story in the Book of Judges in the Old Testament as inspiration for the logo (via Lyle's Golden Syrup). In the story, bees produce honey inside a dead lion, and Lyle used that imagery to represent the sweet goodness of his product. And oh how sweet it is! Lyle's Golden Syrup really took off and by 1922, even King George V apparently enjoyed this light treacle. But the love for this product didn't stop there. It also received a Royal Warrant which means it was recognized for supplying Her Majesty the Queen. If you're an American who can't find Lyle's in your local grocery store, the U.S. has King Syrup, which is similar but contains corn syrup.