“Out of the strong came forth sweetness…” The Storty of Lyle’s Golden Syrup

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The story of golden syrup starts in 1881when the Scottish businessman Abram Lyle set up a sugar-refinery in London on the Thames with his five sons, processing sugar cane into sugar loaves. In those days, sugar was bought in large tapering mounds that had to be Lyle's Golden Syrup_07pounded or grated by hand at home. One byproduct of the process was a thick, gloopy syrup that with a little more refining through charcoal was very delicious. So he sold it to his workers from large barrels (Lyle was originally a cooper) and the syrup quickly was anointed with the nickname “Goldy”. Soon, Goldy became popular outside of his workforce and everyone wanted some. Just two years later, in 1883, Lyle’s Golden Syrup was born.

It is the tin the golden syrup that comes in that is the icon of both British cookery and Victorian entrepreneurship. Famously, on the front is a drawing of a dead lion peppered with swarming bees. Abram Lyle was a very pious man, and used the story of Samson in the book of Judges in Old Testament as the inspiration for the design. Quite a while before his fateful haircut, Samson got attacked by a lion which, through His power, Samson was able to rip open, killing it. Later he sees that bees have built a hive within its carcass and he takes some honey to his family and friends and they have a feast. He didn’t tell them about the lion and had them guess how he came about all the honey, presenting them with the poser:

And he said unto them, Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not in three days expound the riddle.

Judges 14:14

Tins were first produced in 1884 and unbelievably have not changed at all in their design since. In fact, the recipe for the syrup has never changed either – making Lyle’s Golden Syrup the oldest brand in the world. “You’d be mad to mess with Lyle's Golden Syrup_06Goldie.” The only slight change is to the weights written on the tin: gone are the “1 lb” and “2 lb” marks, their replacement being the “454 g” and “907 g” marks, to keep in line with EU rulings. Another change occurred during the Second World War when, because of tin shortages, Lyle had to make the ‘tins’ from cardboard instead.

For over 125 years, it has been indispensable – it was even taken on Captain Scott’s fateful trek to the Antarctic. He wrote a letter to the Lyle family:

“Your Golden Syrup has been in daily use in this hut throughout the winter, and has been much appreciated by all members of the expedition.”

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In 1950, the Lyle Company brought out a second iconic product: Lyle’s Black Treacle. It is very similar to molasses, though it is considerably thicker and stronger tasting. For any recipes that ask for black treacle, you can substitute molasses instead with no problems.

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In the American classic The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, there is a recipe for Cornish Treacle Tart (which is actually made from Golden Syrup). In that recipe it asks for three-quarters of a cup of dark corn syrup. Do not on no account ever, ever, substitute golden syrup for corn syrup. The two are incomparable. So, I urge the American public: if you use a recipe that asks for Golden Syrup and you cannot get hold of any, don’t bother making it. Do you hear me? Good, then we understand each other. Amazon’s grocery section stocks it, so you can always get it online.

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Lyle’s Golden Syrup and Black Treacle are part of so many wonderful recipes, it would be crazy listing them all, but here are some of the most important or interesting ones.

Treacle tart
Flapjacks
Pancakes
Treacle sponge pudding
Mrs Beeton’s rolled treacle pudding
Golden syrup cake
Aunt Nelly’s pudding
Malt loaf
Jamaican ginger cake
Parkin
Ma Buttery’s crunch
Bonfire toffee
Christmas cake

Click the thumbnail below
to find a lot of these recies

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Article found on britishfoodhistory.wordpress.com

Karin’s Soft Syrup Cookies / Karins Myke Sirupskaker

A classic Swedis cookie recipe found in  “Cappelens Kokebok”
(Cappelen’s Cook Book) published in 1995
Karin’s Soft Syrup Cookies / Karins Myke Sirupskaker

Ill_01_thumb[36]Karin was the Swedish artist Carl Larsson’s wife. The recipe is assigned to this cookbook by Karin’s and Carls’s grandson. Today, the syrup cookies are baked every Christmas in Larsson’s home Sundborn in Dalarna. The cakes should be quite tough. You keep the toughness by storing the cakes in plastic bags together with a piece of bread.

Potash (potassium carbonate) can be purchased at the pharmacies, but can be substituted with baking powder  or baking soda.

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Refrigerator Biscuit Cake / Kjøleskapskjekskake

A no-bake chocolate cake recipe found in “The Chocolate Book”
by Valerie Barrett published in 1987

Refrigerator Biscuit Cake / Kjøleskapskjekskake

Sometimes it’s nice to make a cake that needs no baking, just an overnight stay in the refrigerator. This is such a chocolate cake, full of crunchy and sweet goodies.

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Brown Sticks / Brune Pinner

A traditional Norwegian cookie recipe found on alleoppskrifter.no
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These cookies are often baked for Christmas in Norway, but many have the sense to enjoy them the year round. They were not part of my mother’s seven sorts baked for the holiday season, but I’ve had the good fortune to be offered them elsewhere both as a kid and as an addult. Delicious stuff I can tell you – Ted

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Chinese Pears / Kinesiske Pærer

A classic French dessert recipe found in “Mat For Alle Årstider”
(Food For All Seasons) published by Det Beste in 1977
Chinese Pears / Kinesiske Pærer

Pears, Raisins, hazelnuts, honey, golden syrup, white wine and redcurrant jelly sounds like a match made in heaven for anyone who regard the dessert as the highlight of the meal. Someone like me – Ted  😉

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Butter Caramels / Smørkarameller

A classic caramel recipe found on tara.no
Butter Caramels / Smørkarameller

A Sweet classic that can be flavored with chopped nuts, cardamom, gingerbread spices or grated lemon peel. These should be added when the cooking is done and just before you pour the caramel mixture into the mould.

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“Stompa” – Swedish Pan Fried Bread / Stekpannebröd

A quickly made Swedish pan fried bread recipe
found on
koket.se
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This is a super nice pan fried bread done with baking soda. The dough do not need to rise, just roll out the dough in rounds and place in the frying pan.

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Norwegian Soft Lefse / Mørlefse

A classic Norwegian lefse recipe found on brodogkorn.no
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Soft lefse is soft and sweet and extra nice with cheese. They are cooked on a griddle, and made with sour milk, sour cream, butter and golden syrup. You can also make a wholemeal version that makes for great hiking food.

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Lyle’s Banana, Pecan and Cinnamon French Toast / Lyles Arme Riddere med Banan, Pekannøtter og Kanel

A delicious French Toast recipe found on lylesgoldensyrup.com
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This sweet sandwich with sliced banana, chopped pecans and Lyle’s Golden Syrup is perfect for a morning treat. Tastes even better with a side of yoghurt!

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Lyle’s Dreamy Choco-Nut Cream Pancakes / Lyles Drømmeaktige Pannekaker med Sjokonøttkrem

A delicious pancake recipe found on lylesgoldensyrup.com
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Rich cream, crunchy nuts and Lyle’s golden goodness… Enjoy this creamy treat for a special morning start – or a great dessert at any time!

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Lyle’s Special Soy Chicken Marinade / Lyles Spesial Soyasaus Kyllingmarinade

A delicious chicken marinade found on lylesgoldensyrup.com
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Treat your chicken to this great twist on a soy sauce sweet marinade.

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American Flapjacks / Amerikanske Flapjacks

A classic baking recipe found in Marguerite Patten’s
“Cookery in Colour” published in 1960
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A flapjack, muesli bar, cereal bar, or granola bar is a sweet tray-baked oat bar made from rolled oats, butter, brown sugar and golden syrup.

The item is known as a “flapjack” in the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man and Ireland and as a “muesli bar” or “cereal bar” in Australia and New Zealand. In other countries, including Canada, the United States, and South Africa, such products are referred to as “oat bars”, while the word “flapjack” is used to describe a pancake. In the UK, the term “cereal bar” is often used to describe products which contain fruits, nuts, other cereals apart from oats, and, occasionally, chocolate.

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Kefir Bread / Kefirbrød

A traditional Norwegian bread recipe found in
“Norsk Ukeblads store Bakebok” (Norsk Ukeblad’s Big Book on Baking) published in 1984

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As many other traditional Norwegian bread recipes this one feature golden syrup. I know I have mentioned it several times before, but it’s important to use a golden syrupe like Lyle’s or similar and not corn syrup.

Lyle’s and similar syrups has a distinct taste that together with the kefir also used in the recipe gives the bread their particular taste – Ted

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