Corn syrup is a type of cooking tool derived from maize and sugars, and it is used to enhance flavors as well as to change the texture and bulk of certain foods. Although different corn syrups are widely used in a variety of commercially-packaged foods, the liquids are also used for home cooking. The syrup comes in either a light or dark version, and the kind you choose ultimately depends on what you are making. If you run out of corn syrup, there are also substitutions that you can make that will not ruin your particular recipe. Although there are health concerns over the use of syrups in cooking, most health experts agree that moderation is the key, just as with any other sweetened goods.
Liquid sweeteners, such as corn syrup, are widely used in sugary foods in order to naturally increase the flavors and to thicken a food’s texture. Food manufacturers widely use high fructose syrup in particular because it greatly sweetens different snacks and beverages. Regular syrups sold in bottles are a home cook’s ultimate resource in baking cakes and making candy from scratch. Unlike other sweeteners, corn syrup does not crystallize upon use or cause any grainy textures in foods.
Traditional corn syrups come in either a light or dark versions, but, before purchasing, you must first determine the desired sweetness of your particular recipe. Corn syrup is generally utilized at home in baked goods, but you will get different results depending on whether you use the light or dark liquid. Darker corn syrups have richer flavors, so they are generally preferred for making chocolate and fudge. Light corn syrup is also sweet, but the taste is not as overpowering, so you might use this version for less rich-tasting baked goods. Golden syrup and honey are often used as substitutes for corn versions when cooks run out.
Obesity is a rising epidemic in some countries, and many consumers are concerned about the use of corn syrups in packaged goods as well as for home cooking. High fructose corn syrup has especially come under scrutiny, given the fact that it contains higher levels of sugar than other similar liquids. At the same time, most nutritionists feel that corn syrup is not to blame for obesity, and the liquids can safely be used in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet. If you have a health condition in which you need to limit your sugar intake, then you might consider avoiding high fructose syrups.