Corn syrup is a common ingredient in many popular desserts and beverages. Find out more about this sweetener and how to use it in your cooking.
What Is Corn Syrup?
Corn syrup is a viscous, sugary syrup derived from the sugars found naturally in maize. Corn syrup is classified into two types: light and dark. Light corn syrup is transparent, often vanilla-flavored, and milder in sweetness, while dark corn syrup features molasses, resulting in a deeper, richer sweetness and caramel coloring.
The light corn syrup sold in supermarkets varies from the high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) found in many processed goods in one essential way: refinement. During high-fructose corn syrup’s refining process, enzymes convert most of the glucose molecules in conventional corn syrup to fructose (naturally occurring sugar in fruits and plant foods). When ingested in significant quantities, this high-fructose content has a considerably stronger sweetness than corn syrup or sucrose (table sugar) and has more negative health impacts.
How Corn Syrup Is Made
Regular corn syrup is the result of a relatively simple process. Here’s how to make corn syrup step by step:
- Combine cornstarch and water Corn syrup is made by combining cornstarch (produced from the endosperm of corn kernels) with water.
- Then, introduce enzymes Corn syrup is produced by the amylase enzyme, which commences hydrolysis, or the conversion of starch into sugars. This sequence of enzyme exposure first converts cornstarch into oligosaccharides and subsequently, with the addition of glucoamylase, into glucose molecules. The longer this process is let to run, the sweeter and more viscous the resultant syrup becomes.
- Mix in added sugars or flavorings Flavorings will be added to the syrup at this stage. Mild corn syrups are often flavored with vanilla or salt. Molasses adds taste and color to dark corn syrup.
Uses of Corn Syrup
Commercial corn syrup is used by bakers, confectioners, and large-scale producers in baked products, condiments such as jams and jellies, and candy production. The syrup ensures a smooth texture in sugar pies, pecan pie (or pecan tassies), chess pies, homemade ice creams, and sorbets by preventing the formation of sugar crystals.
High-fructose corn syrup may be found in a wide range of foods, including sweets, soft drinks, fruit juices, yogurts, bread, and cereals. In some cases, producers use the syrup as a humectant—an ingredient that acts as a preservative by retaining moisture and preventing certain foods from drying out.
6 Corn Syrup Substitutes
Unless you plan on manufacturing sweets, there are a few easy-to-find replacements for corn syrup: Several sweeteners lack long enough glucose chains to prevent sucrose molecules from forming as efficiently as corn syrup. Most of the sugar alternatives listed below may be used in a one-to-one ratio:
- Agave syrup : Agave syrup, or agave nectar, comes from the sap of mature agave succulents. It has a thinner consistency than cane syrup and a slight honey taste.
- Cane syrup Cane syrup is made from sugar cane juice that has been cooked down into a thick syrup. This precursor to cane sugar crystals often garners comparisons to molasses but has a lighter, milder flavor and no sulfur.
- Golden syrup : Also known as light treacle, golden syrup consists of sugar, water, and citric acid. It has the thick, sticky consistency of molasses.
- Glucose syrup : Corn syrup is a type of glucose syrup, but the category also includes syrups made from starches other than corn, like whole grains, potatoes, or rice. Brown rice syrup is a popular glucose syrup that works well as a replacement in confectionery recipes.
- Maple syrup Maple syrup isn’t simply for sprinkling on pancakes: In some cases, it’s a useful stand-in for corn syrup, especially in ice creams or pies, where it adds depth and flavors like toffee, caramel, and pure vanilla.
- Sugar syrup In certain cases, sugar syrup or simple syrup may be substituted for corn syrup. To make simple syrup, combine equal amounts of granulated sugar and hot water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil until the solids dissolve; then, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool. Brown sugar may be used to mimic the taste of dark corn syrup.
What is the purpose of corn syrup in cake?
Corn syrup is used as a sweetener, especially when a smooth texture is required in a dish. It is sometimes referred to as an ‘invert sugar’, because unlike table sugar and even some other syrups, it won’t form large, grainy crystals when left to cool.
What is the corn syrup?
corn syrup, a viscous sweet syrup produced by breaking down (hydrolyzing) cornstarch, either by heating it with a dilute acid or by combining it with enzymes. (Cornstarch is a corn [maize] product.)
What is the purpose of adding corn syrup?
Corn syrup is used in meals to soften texture, provide volume, keep sugar from crystallizing, and improve taste.
Why does America use corn syrup instead of sugar?
High fructose corn syrup is actually cheaper than granulated sugar in America. Farmers get maize subsidies from the government. Many products made with this ingredient are going to be more affordable than foods made with whole, natural ingredients. Quick food is also a low-cost choice.