The Sweet Ingredient Every Baker Should Keep In The Pantry
By Linda Larsen
If you have ever had a gritty cookie or a frosting with sugar crystals, you’ll probably understand one of the greatest challenges of baking — crystallization. Sugars tend to crystallize under certain conditions, especially when there’s a lot of sugar in the liquid, a state called supersaturation, and many recipes or ingredients strive to reduce that reaction.
Every baker’s pantry should include corn syrup, which food scientists call an “invert” sugar, as it interferes with sugar crystallization. The corn syrup’s sucrose, or simple sugar, is split into the smaller sugars glucose and fructose, and as sucrose molecules love to hold on to each other, the two smaller sugar molecules interfere with the party, affecting the texture.
When the sucrose molecules can’t congregate, baked goods, frostings, mousses, and other sweet goodies will be smoother. A bit of corn syrup can make a shiny, smooth chocolate sauce, prevent crystallization in caramels, make chocolate chip cookies chewy and soft, or even make jellies, jams, pecan pies, and ice creams.