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5 from 5 votes
Homemade Treacle | How to Make Treacle | Dark Caramel
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
30 mins

Popularly called as molasses/dark caramel/burnt sugar, treacle is a byproduct of the process of making sugar. You can make a cheat's version by caramelising sugar to produce a deep black, bitter-sweet thick syrup that is widely used to flavour and colour cakes, fruitcakes, puddings, tarts, sauces and marinades

Course: Basic recipe
Keyword: Black Caramel, Treacle
Author: Shireen Sequeira
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water (at room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup water (freshly boiled)
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime/lemon juice
  1. In a heavy based saucepan, add 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water. Bring it to a gentle boil and let the sugar melt and dissolve. Do not stir with a spoon/ladle at this stage or else the sugar will crystallise. When you see bubbles appearing just swirl the pan
  2. Cook the mixture on a low heat till the colour changes from white to pale brown to amber. Swirl the pan every few seconds. The mixture will froth and then give way to large bubbles. The colour will deepen to a dark brown.
  3. Keeping yourself at a safe distance, add the boiling water in parts. Be very cautious as the mixture is very volatile at this stage and can splatter causing serious burns.
  4. Once the boiling water has been added, stir the mixture and then add the 2 cups of sugar and mix it with a ladle till it is dissolved and turns into liquid. Cook on a low heat till the syrup thickens a little.

  5. Add the lime/lemon juice to prevent crystallization. Reduce the heat and cook for another 8-10 minutes or slightly more.

  6. To test the readiness of the syrup, add a few drops into a steel (or any heat proof) bowl and cool it completely. If it is no longer runny but turns into a honey like consistency allowing you to form a single thread between the index finger & thumb, the treacle is ready.
  7. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes. While it is still hot and in pouring consistency, transfer into a clean, dry glass or ceramic container and leave it open till the treacle cools completely. Then fasten the lid and store in a cool place.
  8. Use the treacle as required in fruit cakes, puddings, tarts, marinades, sauces and other sweets
Recipe Notes

Do not be tempted to overcook the syrup as it can quickly turn into a hardball consistency (required to make candy/hard boiled sweets) and if you pour it into a jar, once it cools you won't be able to get it out. You will then need to add water to the jar to even soften it. 

If the syrup has thickened a bit too much it will start turning into a string like consistency and when cooled, can be modelled. This is a soft ball stage. In such a case, just add a little water and bring it back to a simmer until it passes the consistency test as mentioned in the points above.