Learning As I Chop

Did You Know: Brown Sugar

Posted in Did You Know by R @ Learning As I Chop on June 21, 2011


In my last post about cookies, I spoke about de-clumping brown sugar. This was always a problem for me,  so I finally decided to spend a few more dollars and buy a certain type of brown sugar that avoids this issues. However this tip lead to wonder “why does brown sugar clump? Thanks to a quick google, I found this answer:

“Brown sugar is refined white sugar with anywhere from 3.5 to 6.5 percent molasses syrup, which is a sweet, viscous byproduct of sugarcane or beet sugar. This means brown sugar contains more moisture than conventional sugar. When a package is opened and exposed to air over time, its moisture will evaporate, and the sugar will harden, forming dense clusters.”

If you want to avoid this problem, here’s a solution:

One of the best and most common ways to store brown sugar is to place it in an airtight container (like Tupperware® or another similar product) and put it into the refrigerator or freezer. If it’s in the freezer, of course, it will feel hard, but you’ll find that it will thaw in about an hour and return to its desired powdery form. If it’s in the refrigerator, allow it to sit for about 15 minutes and return to room temperature. It can also be stored in its original plastic bag, as long as it is sealed very tightly, or in a glass jar or canister with a gasket that seals the lid.

Another favored method of keeping sugar soft is to store a piece of bread with the brown sugar. Others use half an apple or an orange slice to keep the brown sugar at its correct consistency.

Kitchen specialty stores also sell small disks (or other shapes) of clay that you insert in the bag of brown sugar (with the sugar covering the disk). The disk is soaked in cold water before placing it into the bag. Once it’s in place, the sugar can be kept at room temperature.

However if you find yourself with hard sugar and a need to bake, you can:

Place about a ½ pound of the hardened sugar in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover the sugar with two wet paper towels (not dripping) and then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Nuke for about 2 to 2 ½ minutes, depending on the wattage of your microwave. Divide the warmed sugar with a fork, stir, and use immediately. (Sugar will be very hot, so be careful!)

You can also place the open bag of sugar in the microwave with a cup of water beside it. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, turning the bag after each minute.

If you have the luxury of time, place the sugar in a bowl and place foil or plastic wrap directly onto the sugar. Put a crumpled, dampened paper towel on top of the wrap. The brown sugar will absorb the moisture. Remove once the paper towel has dried out.

I have some muffins on my mind and hope to bake them soon. In the meantime, enjoy!


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