Homemade Golden Syrup (for Americans)
If you peruse a lot of recipe sites, you’ll probably run across an ingredient that’s unfamiliar to most Americans: “Golden Syrup.” Folks in the UK will recognize it immediately, as it’s sold in every store under the brand name “Lyle’s.” Sometimes it’s referred to as “treacle,” though real treacle is darker than what you’d get in a can of Lyle’s.
Golden syrup is something I make myself and use in recipes that call for corn syrup. Homemade Golden Syrup is easy to make, keeps for a long time on the shelf, and isn’t over-processed like typical American corn syrup.
In searching for recipes, you’ll often find them written in the European metric weights. I’ve included both metric and English measurements for you. The English measurements are in WEIGHT, not volume, so you’ll need to weigh them on a scale and not in a measuring cup. If you’re lucky enough to have a metric scale, just use those measurements. If you’re like me and have only an English-system scale, I’ve converted the grams into ounces. Just remember, these are WEIGHT ounces, which are not the same as volume ounces! Don’t mix the two; everything must be weighed to get the right proportion.
Stick to all English or all metric units. I’ve balanced out the ounces to match the proportions of the metric version, but they’re not exactly the same. And if you need a good kitchen scale, here’s one that’s modestly-priced and does the job:
Golden Syrup in US and Metric Units
- 7 oz. Granulated Sugar or 200 grams
- 1 3/4 oz. Water by WEIGHT, or 50 grams
- 35 oz. Granulated Sugar or 1 kilogram
- 28 oz. Boiling Water by WEIGHT, or 800 grams
- 1 slice Lemon or 1 tsp lemon juice VOLUME
- Very important: Sterilize two 1 pint glass canning jars by boiling them in a pot of water. Let them dry with a canning lid set loosely on top.
- Measure and have all your ingredients ready before starting, because once the sugar carmelizes, you need to move fast. Have the second-step items ready, including the hot water.
- In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the 50 grams (1 3/4 oz.) water and the 200 grams (7 oz.) of sugar to dissolve. Turn heat very low and just simmer until the mixture starts to carmelize and turn a dark golden color. I stir with a wooden spoon fairly constantly, but others just give it a swirl now and then. This will take about 45 minutes and is the only labor-intensive part.
What to do if all the water boils off during the first stage? Keep the temperature as low as possible, for a very low simmer. But if the water boils off, it's not a problem. Just add another 1 3/4 oz. of water, swirl and keep heating until you reach the right color.
- Once you’ve reached the right hue, slowly add the boiling water and the lemon. It must be boiling, it's very important. Stir in the 1 kilogram (35 oz.) of sugar and stir to dissolve. Bring this mixture to a very low simmer, then start your timer. You shouldn’t need to do anything after this but give it a swirl now and then. Simmer this mixture for 45 minutes. If it's still too pale, let it go another 30 minutes or so.
- Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Some recipes call for straining it into the jars, but I’ve never needed to do that – it comes out very smooth and clear just as it is.
- Seal the jars and that’s it! You can store this on a shelf for months. Use it 1:1 in recipes that call for corn syrup. Or use it in this recipe for Millionaire Shortbread. It’s great stuff.
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