Theresa Pereira Written by Theresa Pereira

Golden syrup recipes for all the family

With the weather getting colder and Christmas just around the corner, we explore how golden syrup can be used for a variety of bakes for all the family. A distinctive ingredient employed to develop flavour, colour and texture to baked goods, golden syrup is a multifunctional product with a unique history and range of applications.  

Golden syrup: the ideal baking ingredient

First formulated by Ragus’ founder, Charles Eastick, in 1883, golden syrup is the world’s oldest branded food product, and arguably the nation’s favourite sugar product.

It is an ingredient with a variety of applications, including ice cream production – both to add flavour and reduce crystallisation – as well as a condiment for fruit and porridge. Yet perhaps the most popular use of golden syrup is within the baking industry. Its multifunctional capabilities make it an ideal ingredient to use in baking, both as a base ingredient – to provide flavour and colour to a bake – as well to support other component ingredients. The mellow, caramelised flavour of the syrup alongside its natural amber hue make it a particularly inviting ingredient to use around this time of year, when we tend to seek warm and comforting dishes.

For this reason, we’ve compiled some of our favourite golden syrup recipes for the present season. These recipes combine some much-loved Christmas flavours with the distinctive taste and varying functions of golden syrup, helping you and your family prepare ahead of the Christmas break.

Treacle tart

close up image of a slide cut out of a larger treacle tart

Treacle tart is a traditional dessert with a thick toffee-flavoured filling.

A traditional British dessert, treacle tart was first referenced in a cookbook written by Mary Jewry dating back to the nineteenth century. Over a hundred years on, this recipe remains a familiar favourite. Its thick toffee-flavoured filling is the staple feature of this dessert, which is perhaps just as famous now for being Harry Potter’s favourite food – so we know it must be delicious!

To make this dessert, start by rubbing together butter and flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Beat in an egg, then knead the mixture until smooth enough to roll out flat, ready to line the baking tin. Preheat the oven to 190°C and bake the pastry until a light golden-brown. This will be the case to hold your treacle mixture.

In a new bowl, add together fresh breadcrumbs and lemon zest along with generous helpings of golden syrup. Not only will the syrup bind together all your ingredients, creating a deliciously thick and sticky filling, but its distinctive mellow, caramelised flavour makes it the ideal comfort food for wintry days. And if it’s a seasonal effect you’re going for, try adding a pinch of ground ginger to the mixture. The pepperiness of the spice is complemented well by the warming sweetness of the syrup flavour.

Once the mixture is combined, pour the filling into the pastry case, and bake for thirty minutes. Serve warm with Cornish clotted cream. Or if you’re a fan of salted caramel, why not sprinkle some sea salt over your tart? With golden syrup functioning as the base ingredient in this bake, it is a recipe that lends itself well to adaptations without compromising the staple syrup flavour.

Syrup sponge

close of golden syrup poured over a yellow sponge on a plate

Warm golden syrup seeps into the sponge to create this warming dish.

Keeping with the traditional theme, this next recipe is another timeless favourite. Unchanged since our grandparents’ generation, the syrup sponge – steamed and soaked in golden syrup – brings back memories of cold school days spent huddled over this sticky-sweet classic. A dessert particularly favoured in the winter months, this pudding is characterised by the depth of its golden colour and caramelised flavour.

Apart from the time needed for steaming, this dessert requires little effort or practice – an effective option for those days when you want something quick and easy. To make the sponge, mix flour, baking powder, butter, and eggs in a large bowl. Next, add soft brown light sugar and golden syrup to the mixture. The fine grain size of soft brown light sugar means it dissolves easily to create a smooth texture while the golden syrup provides the iconic warming flavour.

Once added, beat the mixture until all blended together. Pour into a pudding bowl and steam for two hours. To serve, turn the sponge out onto a plate and in a small saucepan warm more golden syrup. While the sponge should already be full of flavour and have the characteristic sticky texture, pouring additional golden syrup on top will elevate your pudding to new heights, developing the golden glaze and soaking into the pudding.  

Cornflake cakes

individual cornflake cakes in pink cases are piled on a plate

Cornflake cakes are a great option for baking with children.

While the previous two recipes were straightforward enough, these golden syrup cornflake cakes are even easier. Made with just three ingredients and without the need of an oven these are a great option for baking with children. The cakes combine the smoothness of the syrup with the crunchiness of the cornflakes. An easy and potentially messy recipe, golden syrup cornflake cakes are great fun for all to get involved in – and most importantly eat.

In a large saucepan, melt together butter and golden syrup. The syrup will be key for binding together the ingredients, so don’t be afraid to add it in large quantities. At this point in the process, some bakers might also want to add chocolate to the mixture, but it is not essential.

Once the melted mixture is combined, remove from the heat and add the cornflakes. Mix through until the cornflakes are completely coated in the sticky mixture and then spoon into each individual case. You can get creative with decorations if you, or more likely your children, so choose. Colourful sprinkles work well in complementing the amber appearance of the syrup, as do marshmallows during the current wintry weather.

This recipe can be adapted however you see fit, with golden syrup continuing to provide the sweet flavour and sticky texture to complement any variation.

Golden syrup flapjacks

individual flapjack squares cool on a wire rack

Golden syrup helps flapjacks achieve an amber colour and chewy texture.

This golden syrup flapjack recipe is simple and quick, with golden syrup playing an important multifunctional role in the bake. Flapjacks are a core application of golden syrup – both for domestic consumption and commercial production – and though possible to substitute with alternative ingredients, golden syrup continues to be the choice ingredient for this popular bake. Not only does the syrup bind the recipe’s other components together to achieve the traditional chewy texture, but it also helps develop the irresistible golden complexion.  

Start by melting the butter in the saucepan before adding demerara sugar. The crystalline sugar’s coarse grain adds a crunch to traditional bakes, with the amber colour and mellow flavour sitting perfectly alongside the flavours of the syrup.

Once these ingredients are combined, add the golden syrup along with the oats and stir until mixed. Pour into a baking tin, making sure to press the mixture flat, and bake at 180°C. The combination of the demerara sugar and amber appearance of the golden syrup should result in the flapjacks showcasing a warm golden-brown colour.

If you like, as the flapjacks cool add a final drizzle of golden syrup and a sprinkle of chopped almonds. The hearty crunch of the almonds offsets the chewiness of flapjack, with the deeper, nuttier edge a great companion to the syrup’s iconic sweetness.

Golden syrup ginger cake

ginger cake is sliced on a wooden board with spices on the side

Golden syrup provides a good accompaniment to the punchy spices in this cake.

There is never a better time to try this spiced seasonal classic than the run up to Christmas. Gingerbread houses are of course a familiar festive creation, and golden syrup is a typical companion to this traditional spice. Its sweetness supports the punchy flavour of the spices, creating a warming bake for the winter weather.  

Start by melting butter in a small saucepan, then add soft brown light sugar, milk and golden syrup. As well as aiding that toffee-sweet flavour, golden syrup’s ability to withstand high baking temperatures prevents it from crystallising, keeping the cake moist and fresher for longer. In a separate mixing bowl, combine flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger. At this point you could add some other spices too. Mixed spice is a popular ingredient in seasonal cooking, as is cinnamon, and it is up to you whether you experiment or not.

Once mixed, combine the wet ingredients with the dry and beat in an egg to the mixture.

Pour into a cake tin and bake at 170°C until golden brown.

Golden syrup and festive family baking: a comforting and complementary partnership

Offering its unique taste and golden colour, as well as working to bind your ingredients together, the golden elixir is an ideal ingredient for achieving functional and delicious bakes. With these seasonal recipes at your disposal, we hope it can help provide you and your family with some lasting memories this Christmas.

Ragus manufactures golden syrup in bulk for industrial applications. To find out more about our golden syrup, visit this product page. To discuss your product requirements, contact a member of our customer services team on +44 (0)1753 215424 or enquiries@ragus.co.uk. For more sugar news and Ragus updates, follow Ragus on LinkedIn.