I've seen a lot of kitchen tips on how to soften brown sugar.
The advice varies from using damp paper towels, using the microwave, putting an apple or piece
of bread in the container, and using adorable terra cotta bears. But even if
my brown sugar is soft, it always has small, hard lumps that never
seem to go away, no matter how many tricks I try. These little
lumps don't matter when using the brown sugar in liquid
applications like a pudding, but they wreak havoc on cakes and
cookies. The only recourse is to force the brown sugar through a
mesh sieve, a tedious process.
But there is a way to have perfect brown sugar every time: make
it yourself using molasses or dark treacle syrup and granulated
sugar. This is how most brown sugar is made, after all. The
ratio for homemade brown sugar is approximately 1½ teaspoons (.25
oz, 7.5g) molasses to 1 cup (7 oz, 200g) of granulated sugar for
light brown sugar and 1 tablespoon (.5 oz, 15g) molasses per 1 cup
sugar for dark brown sugar. Most online instructions tell you you
to mix the molasses into the brown sugar and then proceed with your
recipe. I don't bother with this step; I add the molasses to the
liquid ingredients instead.
The beauty of this method goes beyond the perfectly soft,
lump-free product obtained. First, it saves cupboard space. There
is no for need separate containers for light and dark brown sugars.
Also, you can adjust the strength of the brown sugar to suit your
taste by adding or subtracting molasses. You can also experiment
with other flavors, substituting sorghum syrup, golden syrup, agave
nectar, barley malt syrup, or maple syrup.
Now that you have an endless supply of perfect brown sugar, here
are some great recipes in which to use it:
Caramel chicken from Bon Appétit
Caramelised pork belly with chilli vinegar from
MasterChef Australia: The Cookbook (Volume
A variety of satays and peanut dipping sauces
Butterscotch pudding with bourbon whipped
cream from Joy the Baker
Butterscotch layer cake from How To Be a
Nick's supernatural brownies from
Old-fashioned ginger biscuits from
About.com: British & Irish Food
Now I've got a craving for butterscotch pudding. What is your
favorite recipe using brown sugar?