It’s a staple in any British baking cupboard. Added to cakes, biscuits, puddings… Drizzled on pancakes, ice cream, porridge… Even used as a sandwich filler! But just what is Golden Syrup? And what can you use as an alternative if you can’t get your hands on a tin?
Golden Syrup goes right back to the Victorian times. The sugar syrup comes from the sugar cane refining process, where a syrup is produced which until 1883 went to waste. That was until Charles Eastick (at what is now known as Tate & Lyle), came up with a formula to make the syrup golden and deliciously sweet – perfect for use in baking!
Golden Syrup has not changed since then and still remains a favourite with us Brits, as well as travelling around the world to be enjoyed by other nations too. It is most recognisable in it’s green and gold tin, however shop-own brands are also available now too.
It seems to be our readers in the US who have had difficulty sourcing Golden Syrup in the past, so where can you find it? And what can use when you can’t get your hands on the stuff?
Here in the UK, you’ll find Golden Syrup in one of two places at your supermarket; the baking aisle or beside the ice cream cones and sauce toppings (maple syrup, chocolate sauce…). More internationally, if you don’t have luck at these areas in your supermarket, you might have luck at the World Food shelves or in British Food shops.
If you’re happy to wait for delivery and won’t settle for substitutes, good old Amazon have the infamous Lyles Golden Syrup tin, as well as the option to buy in bulk. And don’t be concerned out it being shipped – Captain Scott took a tin on his ill-fated trip to Antarctica in 1910 and when his belongings were recovered in 1956, the tin of Golden Syrup was in tack, complete with syrup inside.
If you’re desperate and can’t wait, there is a few things you can use as substitutes for Golden Syrup in our recipes. It might seem tempting to reach for a tin of Black Treacle, given the similarities in packaging but treacle’s distinctive taste isn’t always a good match in recipes.
Honey can work well in a lot of circumstances. In fact, Golden Syrup is now the key to a lot of recipes where honey would have been originally used but the expense of it was too much and a cheaper (ie. golden syrup) ingredient was required. Honey does obviously taste different to Golden Syrup, so the taste of your baking will of course taste different too.
Maple syrup is another alternative, similar to honey. Taste-wise Maple Syrup varies from Golden Syrup also. The consistency is thinner too, meaning you might need to experiment with amounts to get the quantities for the recipe just right. And if nothing else, Maple Syrup is a favourite in our house to match Golden Syrup on pancakes and in porridge!
Then there is Corn Syrup. Where Corn Syrup is common place in the US and Golden Syrup is more difficult to find, the same could be said for the opposite here in the UK. Corn Syrup is becoming easier to find here in the World Foods section of supermarkets but it’s not considered a staple to our baking, as you find it is in the US. In terms of consistency and adding sweetness, it could be a decent substitute to Golden Syrup, depending on what recipe you are using. The ‘depending’ part comes from what other than sweetness Golden Syrup offers – the flavour.
For recipes like Fudge Slice, where Golden Syrup is used as a sweetener and binder, you could easily substitute with Corn Syrup without too much change in the taste. Where as for something like our Golden Syrup Cake, you want to have that familiar warming Golden Syrup taste in there and nothing else will really do.
Is there any Golden Syrup alternatives that we’ve missed?