Golden syrup vs honey – what’s the difference, what’s the same, and how can you replace golden syrup in recipes without losing the sweetness and texture?
With Anzac Biscuits always on the favourites list, and plenty of golden syrup favourites in your baking staples, here’s Simply Honey’s tips for swapping out golden syrup for yummy honey.
Can you easily substitute honey for golden syrup?
Creating those family favourites like slices, cakes, and Anzac biscuits with honey instead of golden syrup only requires a few small changes to the traditional recipe. Honey caramelises at a lower temperature than golden syrup so the easy way to create perfect honey cakes, slices and Anzac Biscuits is to simply bake in a 150-degree oven rather than the slightly hotter oven required for traditional golden syrup and brown sugar cakes and cookies.
Honey Vs Golden Syrup
There are a few key differences between honey and golden syrup.
- Both are inverted sugars, although honey is naturally created by bees using an enzyme called invertase, while golden syrup is created by sugar processing.
- Honey contains antioxidants, vitamins, antimicrobials, and minerals. Golden syrup contains some micronutrients but at very low levels.
- Honey is a natural product with minimal processing. Golden syrup is a by-product of sugar processing.
- Different honey types give different results when baking. This is because each kind of honey has slightly different properties. When using honey as a substitute for golden syrup (or any of the popular syrups), choosing the right variety of honey will render the best results. Golden syrup is made to a specific formula developed by chemists at Abram Lyle and Sons from a sugar processing by-product that was once sold as cheap pig food.
- Golden syrup is made from sugar beet or sugar cane by splitting the sucrose molecule into glucose and fructose at a 50/50 ratio. This process minimises crystallisation and the fructose levels give it that “intensely sweet” flavour. Fructose is processed solely by the liver and can, over time, cause liver and metabolic issues. Honey has a lower fructose content. It is, however, still a treat food!
- Golden syrup is vegan, honey is not. Both are vegetarian.
- Honey doesn’t absorb moisture from the air, meaning that honey baked goods take longer to go stale.
- Honey has a lower pH level, making it ideal for activating baking soda, making for “fluffier” results in recipes using baking soda as the rising agent.
Are honey Anzac biscuits, cakes and slices healthier?
Nutritionally speaking, honey and golden syrup both contain a lot of sugars. Both bring a rich sweetness to your baking. Honey Anzac biscuits taste like traditional Anzac cookies, only with a deliciously subtle honey flavour. They’re also less prone to that “overwhelmingly sweet” flavour that comes from the caramelisation of the brown sugar. Honey Anzac biscuits let you enjoy all the flavours in this traditional dessert – not just intense sweetness.
Unlike Golden Syrup, honey is a natural product that contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants – as well as its unique sweetness. Traditional Anzac cookies call for a cup of brown sugar and a sizable dollop of golden syrup. While the oats and coconut give Anzac biscuits a lower Glycaemic Index than most cookies, traditional recipes call for “sugar overload.” Honey Anzac biscuits aren’t angel’s food. They’re still a cheeky sweet treat but contain less than a quarter of the sugar content of most traditional Anzac biscuits.
Are honey Anzac biscuits chewy or crunchy?
Like pineapple on a pizza, the texture of your Anzac biscuit is a matter of great national debate. Chewy or crunchy – the preference is polarising!
Golden syrup acts as a binding agent as well as an intense sweetener. Its high sugar content (paired with the traditional brown sugar in Anzac cookies) makes for overwhelmingly sweet, chewy biscuits. It also makes for that inevitable “burnt row” of Anzac biscuits at the back!
Honey’s lower pH levels mean that the bicarb in the mix will be better activated than it would with golden syrup. This means a lighter biscuit, with a less “chewy” result.
To maximise the chewiness of honey Anzac biscuits, bake at 150 degrees until they are lightly golden – don’t overcook. You may also like to add less water and more honey to the mix. To make firmer, crunchier honey Anzac biscuits, cook for the full length of the recipe.
Which honey is best for replacing golden syrup?
The honey you choose will be influenced by colour and taste. Something light and mellow like Yellow Box, or something dark and robust like Rainforest or Tea Tree, to add a deeper flavour layer to that traditional Anzac Biscuit taste. Your imagination is the limit.
AB’s Raw Yellow Box Honey is a family favourite, with its smooth buttery flavouring. Our Yellow Box Honey is 100% raw and packed full of natural nutrition. The texture of our Yellow Box makes it simple to substitute for golden syrup. It also stores for a long time without crystallisation – so there’s always the ultimate honey at hand when you’re ready for an Anzac biscuit or slice. It doesn’t have to be Anzac Day; these make the perfect snack or lunch box filler every day of the year.