Molasses is a dark, very sweet syrup, the residue of the refining process in sugar. There are two types of molasses, one made from sugar beet and one made from sugar cane.
Molasses made from sugar beet is dark and bitter and is used in the distilling of alcohol, particularly rum, and in various industrial processes such as the manufacture of cattle feed. Molasses made from sugar cane is lighter and sweeter and is used in pies, cakes and confectionery.
Molasses is produced in the southern states of the United States and in the West Indies. Molasses may be bought from most health food stores and the larger supermarkets. If it is unobtainable, black treacle is very similar and may be substituted.