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Jan 1, 2012 01:12 PM

Need help with British candy making ingredients

I have a candy making cookbook from the '70s that was my moms. I wanted to try a couple of the recipes but there are several sugar ingredients that are a bit confusing so I hope someone can help me decipher them.

Granulated sugar - I'm assuming the same as our white granulated sugar

Icing sugar - probably powdered sugar / confectioners sugar

Glucose - I thought this was just another name for sugar but there are recipes that use both granulated sugar and some form of glucose. Maybe like corn syrup?

Powdered glucose - hmmm

Glucose syrup - hmmm again

Golden syrup - I've seen this in the imported food section, would honey or corn syrup be a substitute?

Demerara sugar - never heard of it

Caster sugar - I think this is very fine granulated sugar

Single cream and double cream - is that the same as light cream vs. heavy cream?

Dessert chocolate - I think that might be plain, dark chocolate

Drinking chocolate and drinking chocolate powder - not sure, i think the powder might be plain cocoa.

Tartaric acid - I thought cream of tartar but that is also used in the book so this must be different. Maybe citric acid?

The only thing I think I'm sure of is when they mention essence (vanilla essence, almond essence) it's the same as our extracts...I hope!

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  1. I'm Bermudian but we use English cookbooks as well as US here - I can answer some of the questions

    Granulated sugar = regular white sugar

    Icing sugar = confectioners sugar

    glucose syrup = not sure if you can get it in the US. I have found glucose syrup in the drugstore here.

    Golden syrup has a delicious caramel flavour that corn syrup does not have, and is much thicker than honey

    Demerara sugar = natural brown sugar, larger crystals not the kind you pack down when measuring

    Caster sugar = fine granualted sugar

    Drinking chocolate is a powder that has sugar and I think milk powder (been a while since I had it) mixed in with it so you just need to add boiling water,

    I am not sure about dessert chocolate.

    And I'm not sure what to tell you about single and double cream, I've not found US products that exactly match them - half and half can be used for single cream, the closest you will get to double cream(48% butterfat) is whipping cream,

    Don't know what tartaric acid is.

    And yeas vanilla essence is vanilla extract.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Athena

      You can buy drinking chocolate in the USA, eg "Cadbury's Drinking Chocolate", by googling online. There are a couple of companies that import British groceries then sell them here in the States---they come by UPS. Cadbury's is not usually sold here---I read somewhere that the Hershey's lobby keeps it out. It's very, very good.

      1. re: Athena

        Athena, do you think Demerara is similar to "sugar in the raw"? I've seen it in packets at coffee places but think it is also sold in bags.

        1. re: pdxgastro

          @pdxgastro - I'm not sure (demerara sits right on the supermarket shelf here so never have to substitute) - if you Google demerara sugar you'll find images and info that will help you decide

      2. Tartaric acid is used in home cheese making, so cheese supply folks have it , as does It is used to make food more sour, but seldom by home cooks, at least in the US. It is found naturally in wine, among other places. Be sure to get food grade, not lab grade.

        1. If you can find golden syrup, try it, it really has a unique flavor, different from honey and so much better than corn syrup. I have some Lyle's golden syrup, which is pure sugar cane syrup. When I made caramels with it, they were the best I'd ever tasted.

          Powdered glucose or atomized glucose is glucose syrup that has been spray dried. Just a different form for when you want the bulk but not the liquid (though glucose syrup is pretty thick to begin with). Glucose is about half as sweet as sugar. Atomized glucose in frozen desserts helps keep a soft texture without adding too much sweetness while glucose syrup is used in many candies to prevent crystallization and improve texture (less sticky).

          I use tartaric acid in my pate de fruits, made by cuisine-tech. It seems more sour than citric acid, so if you can find citric acid more easily, you should be able to substitute, maybe just use a little more. Dissolve either acid an a little warm water before adding it to the recipe.

          If you can't find them locally, good places to look for specialized pastry ingredients are,, l' and

          1. I bought a bottle of vanilla essence in Bogota. My best guess is it's like extract.
            Only this that I bought has almost a glycerin feel to it. I can't read Colombian so?
            Lyles Golden Syrup is not honey, to me growing up eating it at the Turquands, it became lifetime favorite and I'm never out of it. You could probably use honey or Karo but different taste will be achieved.

            1. Lyle's Golden Syrup is sometimes sold on Amazon. You can also find it at Wegman's, or other large grocery stores that have international foods. According to Nigella Lawson, corn syrup can substitute, although the flavor won't be exactly the same. (Similar to how some people say molasses can substitute for black treacle).

              2 Replies
                1. re: JaclynM

                  Cost Plus World Market carries Lyle's syrup. They have quite a few staple products from the UK. Trader Joe's carries a very good quality Drinking Chocolate or "sipping chocolate". Scharffenberger probably does one as well. Check Whole Foods?