Golden syrup is a popular sweetener in the UK, resembling honey in appearance, though more similar to corn syrup in its pouring ability. It is sometimes called light treacle and is an essential ingredient in the popular UK dessert, treacle tart. This syrup may also be used as a topping for hot cereal or for pancakes.
Sugar cane juice is evaporated to produce the flavor and texture of this syrup. Some call it nutty in flavor, and many praise its light yellow color. Often people feel it is sweeter than sugar. Using it as a sugar substitute should mean using a lesser amount.
Unlike the crystallized form of table sugar, golden syrup is primarily composed of sucrose, fructose, and glucose. This makes it easy to store without worrying that sudden cold temperatures in the house will cause hardness or crystallization of the syrup.
The US does not have a brand of golden syrup, though sometimes it and corn syrup may be mixed to make artificial maple syrup. Most often, one has to get brands from the UK or Australia by mail order or Internet order. International food stores may carry it and may be the best bet for finding it close to home.
In Britain, Tate and Lyle markets the most popular golden syrup under the name Tate’s. Unlike corn syrup, it is usually sold in cans or in jars resembling large jelly jars. It tends not to be available in the bottle format like most corn syrup brands are found in the US.
If a cook cannot obtain golden syrup, he or she can substitute honey or corn syrup in recipes requiring it. This will produce a somewhat different taste, and lack the characteristic flavor, but will still allow one to go forward with certain UK recipes.