If you love baking as much as I do, then you have used golden syrup before. Maybe you don’t know exactly what it is, but you recognize its delicious sweet flavor, which almost resembles caramel. If you have run out, can’t find any, or simply want to try a new ingredient, don’t worry, there are many choices to substitute golden syrup.
So, what exactly is golden syrup?
Despite looking relatively similar, honey and golden syrup are very different. Also called light treacle, this syrup is thick and caramel in color, and it is made from refined cane sugar or beet juice.
Golden syrup tends to be used as a replacement for honey in vegan baked goods, as it has a light flavor and a thick consistency, making it great for baking.
When compared to sugar, the golden syrup has more or less the same nutrients, with around 50-60 calories per tablespoon and 15-17 grams of carbohydrates. So really the advantage isn’t about caloric content, fat, or carbohydrates, but rather about texture and flavor.
Here are the best golden syrup substitutes you can find:
#1. Corn Syrup
Made from corn starch, corn syrup has a very similar texture and flavor to golden syrup. You have probably had corn syrup before in a soda or a dessert, but you can find it in the baking section of your grocery store.
There are two types of corn syrup, light or dark, but to replace golden syrup, the light one may be the best choice since it has a more subtle flavor.
You can replace the golden syrup for equal parts of corn syrup, but the corn syrup does have a milder flavor, so you can try it and decide if you need more of it.
While not a vegan choice, honey is completely natural and very thick. The flavor though is very strong, and sometimes, this flavor can vary depending on the brand and origin. You should try the honey first and make sure you like the taste.
You probably don’t even have to go out looking for honey, as it is used in many households as a sweetener for tea or coffee, and even as a flu natural remedy. Be careful too, as honey can change textures depending on the other ingredients used and the heat, so the final product may turn different from what you expect.
This much darker syrup is obtained from raw sugar, and it has a very strong, and sometimes bitter, flavor. Sometimes you can find the light variation for a lighter color and more subtle flavor. Molasses is used as part of baking, sometimes to sweeten coffee products, and even in beer.
Because of its color, it may also give your final product a more toasted look, and this could alter the recipe, so make sure you are comfortable with this. You can pretty much use molasses in the same amount as golden syrup but try it first, as some people find it too overpowering.
#4. Maple Syrup
This type of syrup is made from the sap of the sugar maple, red maple, or black maple trees. This sap liquid is boiled until it becomes a syrup, and it is classified based on its purity – the more intense the flavor, the darker the color.
Maple syrup is a staple in Canada, and you may have tried it with pancakes before. But you can use it as a substitute for golden syrup. Be careful with the texture as this syrup may be too runny sometimes and cause your final product to be extra soft.
Things You Should Consider
As with every other substitution, there are things to consider before choosing the right one. For one, flavor varies from one sweetener to another, so make sure you have tasted it first, and find the choice adequate for your recipe.
Also, take into account that some syrups are thicker or lighter, and this texture will vary when mixed with other ingredients, so you should be sure that they are compatible.
Molasses and maple syrup are some of the darker alternatives, and that means that they toast and caramelize more. Avoid burning or over toasting your product by adjusting the baking or cooking time and the amount of syrup used.
And finally, in case you need ideas on what to use these substitutes on, you can make biscuits, cookies, pancakes, or sweet cakes.
Yes, you can use brown sugar instead of golden syrup, but the texture is different as the syrup is liquid. Usually, brown sugar can be less sweet than golden syrup, so should double the amount, or at least try it out first before adding it to the baking process.
Treacle refers to any uncrystallized syrup made from the refining of sugar. Golden syrup is thus a treacle, and it is a lighter version. There are darker treacles, such as black treacle, or molasses.
Honey and golden syrup are both liquid sweeteners but are not actually the same. Golden syrup is a thick sweetener made from the refining of sugar. Honey is flower nectar that is collected by bees, which is then broken down into simple sugars stored inside the honeycomb. Depending on the flower, honey’s flavor varies, and so does its color and texture, so it may be more variable than golden syrup when used in baking.
All these alternatives are easy to find, and you may even have some in your pantry already. Golden syrup is sold widely across the world, but there may be cases when you find yourself in a pinch, so that’s why we brought this list to you.
We recommend that you taste the sweeteners first, as the flavor varies and so does the intensity. These are all great options for baking, but their effect can change depending on what other ingredients you are using, so make sure you consider those too.
*Photo by namiros/depositphotos