Golden Syrup, an important ingredient to make mooncakes, can be made at home with a handful of ingredients.
Golden syrup is a type of inverted sugar syrup. It has a rich amber color and a fruity aroma. If you want to make mooncakes at home, golden syrup is an ingredient you cannot omit.
Some quick google searches will tell you that making mooncake dough requires golden syrup and lye water. Together, they will make the dough moist, tender, and thin while capable of being shaped into beautiful patterns. Besides, they also add a yellow color to the dough.
This golden syrup recipe is specifically tested for our mooncake dough recipe, which does not use lye water. No need to run around to find lye water which isn’t available at regular grocery stores.
We are really pleased with the results (as you can see from the photo above), but I will say that the cake is a little less tender than commercially made mooncakes. Nevertheless, the overall taste is still superior because the homemade filling is so much more delicious. You can find my homemade mooncake recipe here.
Watch How to Make Golden Syrup for Mooncakes
To make this syrup, you only need three ingredients: granulated sugar, water and lemon. The syrup can be made by heating sugar in water. The addition of lemon juice will help to speed up the process as well as prevent the sugar from crystalizing. I also like to add a few strips of lemon zest for a bit more aroma.
This is our second year making golden syrup and mooncakes at home. We got some leftover golden syrup from last year, and the batch of mooncakes we made this year with last year’s syrup indeed had richer color than one with this year’s syrup. From our experience, freshly made syrup can be used after about two weeks. It seems to give mooncakes a richer color and more tenderness.
What type of sugar to use to make golden syrup?
We use golden granulated sugar which results in a deeper color than regular granulated sugar. It seems Domino Sugar also carries golden sugar now, and you can give it a try. Otherwise, you can just use regular sugar or a combination of regular sugar and light brown sugar.
How to know when to stop cooking the syrup?
The syrup will have a rich amber color and a texture that is thinner than honey and will thicker over the next few days. We use two tests here to determine when to stop cooking.
- by weight: you will find detailed information in the recipe card below.
- by checking the droplets: dip a chopstick in the syrup briefly, then let it drop on a plate. If the droplet spreads slightly on the plate but still forms a round shape, the syrup is ready. You can see this test in the video.
A final note before we head to the recipe card. I recommend straining the lemon juice to remove the pulps before adding it to the syrup. I was a little lazy this year, so I didn’t strain the juice or zest the lemon (I just put the squeezed lemon cut-side up directly in the saucepan as you can see in the video). It’s not the end of the world, I just ended up with some lemon pulps sinking to the bottom of my syrup container which I avoid when taking out the syrup amount I need :).
I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment and a rating if you have tried it. New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.
Golden Syrup for Mooncakes
- 2.2 lbs granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 cups water
- juice of one large lemon (strained if possible)
- a fews strips of lemon zest (optional)
- Add sugar and water to a deep saucepan. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and skim off any foam.
- Add the lemon juice and continue to simmer. Add a few strips of lemon zest if using.
- Let the mixture simmer for about 35-40 minutes. Keep an eye on it and adjust heat as needed.
- To check if the syrup is ready, dip a chopstick in the syrup briefly, then let it drop on a plate. If the droplet spreads slightly on the plate but still forms a round shape, the syrup is ready. You can see this test in the video in the post.
- Another way to check is by measuring the weight of the syrup. You should have about 1.2kg (about 2.65lbs) of syrup. A little more or less is fine but don't go over 1.3kg (2.85lbs) or under 1.15kg (2.5lbs).
- The finished syrup will have a rich amber color with a runny texture that is thinner than honey and will thicken over time. Transfer it to a clean container and let it cool completely. Then cover and store in a dry place at room temperature.