Black Treacle | Sugar series
If you’ve ever made caramel, you will know that as sugar melts, it goes from light amber all the way to a very dark colour before it burns. This ‘burnt’ stage is exactly the stage we get to when making BLACK TREACLE! The taste is very unique and the flavor is so densed. I call it the KING OF SYRUPS.
WHAT IS BLACK TREACLE?
Black Treacle is dark, sticky, thick syrup that is a by-product of the sugar refining process It is what remains when sugar cane juice is boiled down to produce grains of sugar. Black treacle has a distinctively strong, slightly bitter flavour, and a richer colour than golden syrup.
BLACK TREACLE vs MOLASSES
These two are used interchangeably but they are quite different.
Molasses is a highly concentrated syrup known for its strong bittersweet flavor and dark appearance. It is perfect for making savory dishes. Treacle on the other hand is lighter, sweeter and slightly less viscous. It is found more in sweeter food products, such as a rich fruit cake, cookies, etc resulting in a chewier texture alongside a sweet flavour.
BLACK TREACLE vs GOLDEN SYRUP
Golden Syrup is sweeter and known for its buttery taste and golden amber color, while Black treacle as we already know is dark, bittersweet, and has a stronger flavor.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make your own Golden syrup at home.
SOME CULINARY USES OF BLACK TREACLE:
- Black treacle can be used as a sweetener in cakes, breads, toffee, biscuits, sauces, casseroles and Christmas puddings.
- It can also be used to glaze and marinate meat. Add a few tablespoons to a barbecue sauce and thank me later!
- Alternatively, dissolve it in warm water or milk to make a drink!
HOW TO STORE BLACK TREACLE
Unopened jars of black treacle should be stored in a cool, dry, dark location and will last for up to one year. Heat and humidity are the biggest threats to treacle; both can cause bacteria to grow into mold. It is also adviceable to wipe clean the lip of the bottle before securely sealing the jar after each use.
Alternatively, you can also store your black treacle in the refrigerator; as refrigeration keeps the temperature consistent, which is a benefit for treacle especially in warm climates like for us living in Africa. If kept in the fridge, you have to pull it out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature first—otherwise, it will be thick and difficult to pour. As an alternative, you can gently heat the entire jar in a pot of warm water to reduce its viscosity (the state of been too thick). Don’t put it in the microwave, because it will heat unevenly.
- Like I usually say, always keep the kids away when making sugar syrups because they can be twice as hot than boiling water. You also don’t want to get distracted and splatter syrup all around.
- If using a sauce pan make sure it’s quite deep. Syrup will foam a lot and to prevent it from spilling, use a deep sauce pan.
- Boiling water is very necessary when making this syrup. Boil and keep in a hot water flask. Any water less in temperature than boiling water won’t work.
- When caramelizing sugar for black treacle, you don’t stir at all. You just swirl your sauce pan or pot around. This stops crystallization of sugar.
- Lemon: I used whole lemon here, meaning I just washed and sliced a quarter of the lemon and added it to the syrup. The acid in lemon helps stop crystallization. This chemical reaction will turn the glucose into fructose (which is known as inverted syrup).
- When adding the hot water to the syrup, add it bit by bit. This is because the syrup will fizzle a lot.
- After getting to a burnt stage, the next stage of simmering over low heat took me 10 minutes, at most 15 minutes. If you go beyond this timing, your syrup will harden up immediately or almost as soon as it’s off heat. If you have a candy thermometer then that’s good. At 150°C or 300F your syrup is ready! Also if you don’t have a candy thermometer, once your syrup simmers for 10minutes and reduces slightly in quantity but still very runny, remove from heat. Once you scoop the syrup a little in a plate and it hardens up in few minutes, you have over boiled your syrup. Don’t get scared, this can be rectified. But it’s best you watch your syrup.
- I prefer working outside when making Treacle ‘cos of its smoky nature.
- As syrup cools, it will thicken till it reaches that honey-like consistency.
- If after making your black treacle, and you scoop a little into a plate, it hardens like candy almost immediately, it means you have over boiled your syrup. To rectify this, heat up water till it gets to boiling stage. Then add a quarter cup (¼ cup) of the boiling water to the syrup at a time till you get the required consistency.
- If however your syrup is too thin. Then keep boiling for a few minutes till syrup reaches desired consistency.
- To measure treacle, rinse the spoon in hot water or coat with bland vegetable oil so that the treacle slips off more easily.
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See step-by-step video here: Black Treacle
- Measure out all items and set aside. Boil your water and keep in a hot flask.
- Get your saucepan, add your room temperature water, granulated white sugar, and sway your pot or pan around so all contents are combined as this helps moisten the sugar. REMEMBER DO NOT STIR AT ALL.
- Transfer saucepan to low heat and allow the content to simmer.
- Still leaving it to simmer watch while syrup boils, then colour begin to change. It will change from amber to a dark colour. It would also get smoky. This is fine as syrup needs to get to this burnt stage.
- Wash your lemon and slice a quarter, add this to the burnt syrup.
- Then add the larger quantity of sugar and add the already boiled water little by little. Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes on low heat. Or if using a candy thermometer simmer till syrup reaches 150°C or 300F. At this stage, syrup would have reduced in quantity and still very runny that when you scoop a little into a plate, it retains its runny consistency for more than 10 minutes without getting hardened.
- As syrup cools, it will thicken. Sieve with a fine mesh strainer to remove lemon seeds then pour into sterilized jars and allow to cool before covering jar with lids.
- Store in a cool, dry, dark place.
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