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Light Syrup (Ljus Sirap) and Dark Syrup (Mörk Sirap)


Scandinavian syrups, distributed by Dan Sukker

Swedish light syrup and Swedish dark syrup

photo ©Kari Schoening Diehl, licensed on 10/13/2011 to About.com

Look at any Scandinavian recipe that requires liquid sweetener (often, used for baked goods like gingersnaps, in candies, or as a caramelization agent for sauce reductions, as in this recipe for cabbage rolls), and chances are that you'll be asked to use either "light syrup" (in Swedish, "ljus sirap) or "dark syrup" (mörk sirap).

Scandinavian light and dark syrups, unlike American "light" and "dark" corn syrups, are processed from sugar beets. Thus, in most recipes calling for "dark syrup," one can generally substitute light molasses - the Swedish dark syrup is a bit sweeter and less bitter than American light molasses, but the taste is close enough that this substitution works well.

Light syrup, however, really doesn't have a good U.S. equivalent. It's fairly thin (as syrups go) and sweet, with the distinctive flavor of brown sugar. Although one can substitute corn syrup in a pinch, golden syrup (like Lyle's Golden Syrup, from Great Britain), is a much better equivalent.

Both light syrup and dark syrup are distributed by the Swedish Dan Sukker company; you can order them online from Scandinavian suppliers such as Marina Market or Scandinavian Specialties or from Amazon (IKEA used to carry them as well, but may no longer do so if proposed 2012 changes to their food market distribution policies - whereby they would only carry their own branded food products - are in fact implemented).

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Alternate Spellings: ljus sirap (Swedish), lys sirup (Norwegian), vaalea siirappi (Finnish), mörk sirap (Swedish), mørk sirup (Norwegian), tumma siirappi (Finnish)
Scandinavian light and dark syrups are made from sugar beets, not corn.

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