The Pantry Staple To Improve The Texture Of Homemade Sorbet

Corn syrup can get a bad rap, as it's often associated with its more commercially-used cousin, high-fructose corn syrup. But the former is a common baking ingredient that you can buy in the grocery store and it can make a huge difference in the texture of your homemade sorbet. Corn syrup is typically used as a sweetener and a thickening agent, and it can also turn your frozen dessert from an icy mess into a smooth, creamy fruit treat.

Why does this one ingredient, which is essentially just processed sugar make such a big difference? First of all, corn syrup is composed of a simple sugar called glucose, unlike table sugar, which has glucose and fructose. Pure glucose binds to water molecules and prevents them from forming ice crystals that could interfere with a smooth texture. Also, glucose molecules are more dense than the ones you'd find in a simple table sugar, so you can block twice as many ice crystals while still achieving the same level of sweetness.

Corn syrup also stops sugar crystals from forming, thereby keeping your sorbet's consistency thick. It's long been used to provide a cohesive texture in hard candy and jelly, and it's more viscous than granulated sugar — meaning it can add thickness and creaminess to whatever food it's in.

How to make creamy sorbet with corn syrup

Not only does corn syrup add sweetness, thickness, and uniform consistency, but it can even make your sorbet last longer. While recipes made with regular sugar may turn icy after you've stored them for a few days, corn syrup ensures your dessert will maintain its texture for longer. Other frozen treats, like ice cream, get their structure from air bubbles, fat, and milk proteins, but most sorbet recipes are simply made with fruit and a sweetener. They need that extra boost of thickness that corn syrup can provide.

Luckily, it's easy to incorporate this pantry staple into your homemade dessert. Whether you're using a blender or an ice cream maker, you can throw corn syrup in with your fruit and any other ingredients you're flavoring it with. A general rule of thumb is that for every cup of sugar in a recipe, you can replace it with one and a quarter cups of light corn syrup — just make sure to omit a quarter cup of your other liquids. If you're still attached to regular sugar, you can also take baby steps and start by substituting half a cup of sugar with the syrup. If you like the results, you can always use more next time.