For all my American readers out there (apparently there are 149 of you, according to Google Analytics), I bring you a special bonus episode: golden syrup! What is golden syrup? It's basically a caramelized sugar syrup that is light, bright, and slightly tangy from the use of lemons (which serves both chemical and taste purposes). It's used when you need a liquid sugar that has a bit of thickness to it, and a light caramelization. I think. I'm not exactly sure. But I do know you can use it when making brandy snaps or treacle tart. So there's that.
And it couldn't be easier. It's a multi-step process, and it takes about an hour, but most of that time is spent on the couch watching TV, and it only has three ingredients. The first step is to take some sugar and a little water and let her cook over low heat. Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to golden syrup.
You're looking for this first batch of sugar and water to become a caramel color -- light or dark is your preference, depending on how nutty/burnt you like your flavors to be. I'm a fan of anything that's a little over-cooked (except steak), so I let it go somewhat dark. Your big bubbles will turn into tiny bubbles, then into tiny brown bubbles, and you know it's time to move to the next step.
Which is to throw in your boiling water, the rest of the sugar, and as little or as much lemon as you want, though you have to throw in some lemon, because the acid keeps the sugar from crystallizing and becoming a chunky, gloopy mess (or so that's what the chemists tell me). Make sure your pot is on a low setting, so it's just barely bubbling (not boiling), and let it go for 45 minutes. At the end, you'll have golden syrup. Let it cool to room temperature and toss it in the fridge to thicken, and snack on the lemons, which have now become candied lemon peel -- don't you love a recipe with no waste?
makes 2 cups
100 grams GRANULATED SUGAR
3 tablespoons WATER
500 grams GRANULATED SUGAR
300 grams (3/4 cup) BOILING WATER
1 quarter LEMON
1. Dissolve first part of SUGAR into WATER over low heat, and cook until caramelized -- the darker your caramel color, the deeper your flavor, so personal preference wins out here, but I would aim for a dark golden orange color
2. When you've reached your desired caramel color, pour in the second part of SUGAR and BOILING WATER, and LEMON slice and bring to a boil, then down to a simmer, and cook for 45 minutes
3. Let mixture cool before pouring into a jar or can (preferably sanitized), and store in the fridge
A personal challenge to conquer every technical challenge, and select signature bakes, from The Great British Bake Off
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