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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 = http://www.silverspoon.co.uk/home/pro... 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 amazon.com. 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 chefrubber.com, willpowder.com, l'epicerie.com and amazon.com.

          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?

                2. Re the vanilla - the quantities may differ between the US and UK. So use whatever quantity of your ingredient that seems right - it may not match the recipe. (UK essence can be very concentrated, needing only a drop or two - while extract may need a teaspoon)

                  1. Thanks everyone! This helps a lot. I think some of these recipes may be a challenge to make if I can't find some of these ingredients. I'm fascinated by the Glucose. I'd like to get my hands on some to see what it might compare to.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: Jpan99

                      The syrup? It's thick. Thicker than honey, thick enough not to pour well. I get it in small (2kg) tubs, and find the best way to get it out is with a wet hand. Spoons and spatulas just get maddeningy sticky and drip strings of the stuff all over. Think of it as super thick corn syrup, though it is usually made from wheat.

                      Which recipes are you thinking of making?

                      1. re: babette feasts

                        I think if the recipe refers to treacle, that's a form of refined sugar cane.
                        You can substitute treacle with corn syrup,
                        I'm not sure about the wheat component, never heard that before...

                        1. re: freia

                          Freia, I'm talking about glucose syrup, not golden syrup (cane sugar syrup) in response to OP's saying "I'm fascinated by glucose". In my understanding, the Patis France glucose syrup I buy for confectionery is derived from wheat, which is really only relevant to the wheat sensitive. So glucose syrup is like the Karo corn syrup most Americans are familiar with, but much thicker and not necessarily made from corn. Apparently glucose can be made from any starch, so whether it is wheat or corn is probably regional (US vs UK/EU).

                          This is what I use: http://www.pastrychef.com/GLUCOSE_p_7...

                          1. re: babette feasts

                            LOL that'll learn me for leaving my ole lady glasses in the kitchen and posting without thoroughly reading...my apologies...
                            I found this on Glucose Syrup...I've heard glucose referred to up here as "liquid invert sugar", no mention of wheat...this article is interesting, and indicated glucose syrup can be bought over the counter at pharmacies...

                            1. re: freia

                              No worries :) Glucose is not always wheat-derived, but since what I use is, I make sure to mention it when selling confections just in case it will cause problems for the wheat sensitive.

                              Invert sugar - one of the more confusing topics in pastry land. True invert sugar is made by breaking down sucrose via an acid into the components fructose and dextrose. The common brand name for this is Trimoline. However, other forms of sugar have similar properties in terms of preventing crystallization and retaining water, but have different sweetening powers. Honey is a natural invert sugar and is even sweeter than Trimoline. Glucose and corn syrups also retain moisture and prevent crystallization but are far less sweet than Trimoline. I always thought glucose and corn syrups were forms of invert sugar, but maybe technically they are not because they are derived from starch? Trimoline seems more often used in ice creams, while glucose syrup is more often used in chocolates and confections. So.... sugars and syrups are not all the same, it IS important to use the right one for the job!

                              1. re: babette feasts

                                Can you move in with me and help me with my baking? You are amazing! I love your posts btw and learn so much! And I even broke out the ole lady glasses for a reread...and yes, it is important for the right one for the right job.
                                Warning: off topic, but since you're here....
                                I'd love to know if you ever used ammonia in your baking products. I have used it in Italy and kept a number of recipes from Ithere where it is quite common to use. I actually tracked some down here in my small small town (totally freaked me out, it was in the baking section in the import part of it, seen once only) so I cleaned them out. It smells like, well, ammonium! but oddly imparts no taste to the desserts in question. If I'm not mistaken, we used it in lieu of other chemical leavening agents such as baking powder/soda....

                                1. re: freia

                                  Aw shucks. :)

                                  I have never used ammonia in baking, not sure I've even seen a recipe that uses it. But if it works, it works!

                                  1. re: freia

                                    It's used quite a lot in German (and other middle European) cookie recipes and in Greek ones, have a look around.

                          2. re: babette feasts

                            I've been making dipped chocolates for Christmas presents for the past three years. I made a nougat this year, my first time and I really liked it. This British book has a nougat recipe I was thinking of trying, it calls for the powdered glucose. I was also looking at some hard candies, lemon and orange drops. That recipes calls for glucose, it does not specify powdered or syrup so I don't really know what that means.

                            I've discovered that I enjoy making the fillings (fondants, caramels, nougats) much more than I enjoy the actually dipping! Are you a chocolate dipper? I have run into problems dipping my fondants and could sure use some help.

                            1. re: Jpan99

                              I do some chocolate dipping, but it is tedious, and i still feel like I'm really slow and not perfect. I think molds are faster. What problems are you having with dipping? A search for videos by either Ewald Notter or Jean Pierre Wybauw might help.

                              The confectionery book I use most is Chocolates and Confections by Peter Greweling, great book. He also has an 'at home' version that I haven't looked at, but I believe it is just scaled down and maybe simplified. Anyway, his nougat calls for glucose syrup, but I guess if there is water in the formula anyway maybe it's not that big a deal because after all dry glucose powder is just dried out syrup. The main issue there would be in figuring out how to account for water when substituting by weight.

                              Greweling's hard candy is 1150 g sugar, 290 g water, 360 g glucose syrup, optional 1/2 tsp cream of tartar, coloring & flavor as needed, citric acid as desired. Cook to 313F, add color, flavor, acid and pull to aerate. Notes: formula may also be use for casting lollies or other clear hard candies (pulling to aerate makes it white) or used for coating candy apples. Cream of tartar makes it easier to work with (stays more flexible while pulling I think) but increases hygroscopicity. From the glossary: Glucose: another name for dextrose. The name glucose syrup is often shortened to glucose, creating potential confusion. Glucose syrup: an aqueous solution of saccharides obtained from edible starch. Glucose syrup may be made from any edible starch. The name of the source starch may be used in place of the word glucose, for example corn syrup is glucose syrup made from cornstarch. Me again - this would suggest that unless a recipe specifies powdered/atomized glucose, use the syrup, and that corn syrup is an acceptable substitute (but you may need to use more to account for the extra water that will boil off). I don't really know that much, but I have a very good library!

                        2. Demerrara sugar is very dark brown sugar. I find it in my small Canadian town in the brown sugar area. Its pretty common. It ISN'T "sugar in the raw" -- that's turbinado sugar, which is very very different.
                          I remember having Rogers Golden Syrup as a kid, on pancakes...its a corn syrup.
                          You can find glycerine in the cake decorating department, along with other Wilton products, as glycerine is a key component in making fondant. Up here, the Bulk Barn stocks it, as does Michael's craft store. You just need to be where the specialty cake decorating stuff is located. You can also find it in the drug store.
                          Caster sugar is superfine sugar, used because it dissolves quickly. You can find it, usually called superfine sugar.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: freia

                            @freia - I think you are confusing demerara sugar with dark muscovado sugar - unless they call dark brown sugar in Canada demerara.

                            1. re: Athena

                              Nope, there is light brown sugar, dark brown sugar, turbinado sugar and demerara sugar (amongst others, of course). Different package, actually labeled demerara. Not confusing it with anything else! Turbinado sugar is a different sugar, it is drier, lighter brown, more crystalline. We see it in Starbucks as "raw' sugar. The link has a great picture of it:
                              Demerara is much much moister, very dark brown, heavy molasses smell and looks like this:
                              I have both in my kitchen: I use the first for coffee/tea. I use the second for baking.

                              1. re: freia

                                freia - here in the UK the sugars you have in your images are the other way round - what is called turbinado sugar is what is sold in the UK as demerara. The second, darker one is dark soft brown sugar. See here:


                                1. re: serah

                                  In Canada, here, I have a bag that I just opened called demerara sugar and it is listed as demerara and looks like the photo labelled demerara that I posted. Same for turbinado. It is labelled "turbinado", looks like the picture on Wikipedia labelled "turbinado" and isn't the same. Must be a regional thing LOL! If you read the article, it says that UK "demerara" is as per US "turbinado:! How confusing! Oh well! I guess I'll just stick to my North American recipes!
                                  (but I don't have them confused, at least, not from my North American POV!)

                                  1. re: freia

                                    In the US, I've only seen demerara and muscovado as they're described by Athena and Serah, so a quick search showed me that indeed Canadian definitions of demerara are different than British, per the Canadian Sugar Institute, an industry trade association.


                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                      I almost took a picture at our Loblaws grocery store -- there was golden brown sugar, dark brown sugar, demerara, and turbinado all side by side on the shelf. :)

                                2. re: freia

                                  you're right freia, I've seen them both many places of which I can recount but won't.
                                  I'll be in one such place this month and I'll look into it more.

                            2. In the UK, vanilla extract is the "real thing" - an entirely natural product. On the other hand, vanilla essence is synthetic and may not have even seen a vanilla bean.

                              1. Hi,

                                I've never seen glucose syrup sold at retail, but it's certainly available in the US- you might be able to buy some from a bakery that buys it in bulk. If you have a good relationship with a baker, ask if they use it or can get it for you.

                                1. As I understand it, cream of tartar is basically a derivative of tartaric acid. So if the recipe calls simply for tartaric acid, you can usually use cream of tartar, but you need to increase the amount (I think you basically use twice the amount of cream of tartar).

                                  You can substitute citric acid for tartaric, but it's not a 1:1 swap. Not sure off the top of my head what the conversion would be though.