Golden syrup and corn syrup are well-known sweeteners, but they are each popular on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean. In the SPICEography Showdown below, we take a look at how golden syrup and corn syrup compare to each other.
How does golden syrup differ from corn syrup?
Golden syrup and corn syrup are both plant-based sweeteners, but they come from very different plants. Golden syrup is made from cane syrup, which comes from the sugar cane plant like much of the refined white sugar in North America. Corn syrup comes from corn starch, which is derived from the germ of the corn kernel.
Golden syrup was originally a byproduct of the sugar production process, which is evidenced by some aspects of its flavor profile. Along with its sweetness, golden syrup has a unique flavor that is sometimes described as similar to butterscotch or caramel. Light corn syrup will have vanilla flavoring while dark corn syrup will have a mild molasses flavor.
One of the most noticeable differences between golden syrup and corn syrup has to do with their consistencies. Golden syrup has been formulated to have a honey-like thickness and viscosity. Corn syrup is usually noticeably thinner.
While both golden syrup and corn syrup get their sweetness from their sugar content they are made up of different kinds of sugars. Golden syrup has both glucose and fructose similar to refined white sugar. The corn syrup that you see on grocery store shelves gets its sweetness mostly from glucose.
Because they consist of different sugars, golden syrup and corn syrup have different effects on health. Golden syrup has a relatively moderate glycemic index rating because it consists of both glucose and fructose. The glucose in corn syrup has a high glycemic index rating. This means that corn syrup will be absorbed into the bloodstream much more quickly than golden syrup and will cause more severe spikes in blood sugar. As such, it may pose a higher risk when it comes to the development of type 2 diabetes.
Can you use golden syrup as a substitute for corn syrup and vice versa?
Golden syrup can work as a substitute for corn syrup in most instances since both are invert sugars. As a result, you can use golden syrup in jams and ice creams and its sugar crystals won’t crystallize to give them a grainy consistency.
You can also use golden syrup as a 1:1 substitute in many baked goods that call for corn syrup and it will give you similar results. The difference will be the flavor since golden syrup will give a flavor that you wouldn’t get from corn syrup.
Corn syrup is less flexible when it comes to using it as a golden syrup substitute. While it will be perfectly fine in baked goods as well as in jams and ice cream, it may not be a good idea to use it as a table sweetener since it lacks the distinctive rich flavor of golden syrup.
When should you use golden syrup and when should you use corn syrup?
Use golden syrup when it is required in British recipes for baked goods. It is essential for many of them. It can also work as a table sweetener for porridge and on pancakes. Use corn syrup for jams, candy-making and any other application where you want a smooth texture and no crystallization.