Corn syrup is a syrupy sweetener that is made through the production of cornstarch. In fact, when it was first introduced to the public over 100 years ago, it was often sold as a health food because it originally came from corn. The sweetener is primarily glucose and has a very mild flavor. It inhibits crystallization and, as a result, is very useful in the production of candies, jams and frostings because it greatly reduces the likelihood of ending up with a grainy product.
Golden syrup has a similar color to corn syrup – light gold – but is an entirely different product. Also called “light treacle,” golden syrup is an inverted sugar syrup, made from sugar cane juice that has been concentrated and is about 25% sweeter than sugar. It has a slightly toasty edge to its sweetness that gives it a unique flavor in the world of sweeteners. This is quite unlike corn syrup, which has a flavor so mild as to easily blend in with just about anything, leaving only sweetness behind. Golden syrup can also help to inhibit crystallization of sugar when used in cooking and baking.
Some confusion arises between the two products because corn syrup is not readily available in all markets, particularly in international ones, and golden syrup is almost exclusively found in specialty store in the US. The flavors are different, but the two products can be used interchangeably in cooking and baking because they have much the same properties.