Now when I think of baking, I always think sweet. Sugar is one of the most important ingredients we use, in the baking processes. The sweetness it provides to things like cookies, brownies and cakes is obvious. However, In breads and rolls, it is an equally important element.  Sugar feeds the yeast that makes for a beautiful rise. Sugar is an integral part of not only the baking process, but thing we make day to day.

Typically, for most people, the first thing that comes to mind when speaking of sugar is the white, granulated kind of sugar.  It is used in almost all American baking recipes. However, the more you bake, the more different types of sugar you are likely to come across.

Since I love learning new baking tips and tricks, I thought I would research some different sugar type and how to use them.  You may recognize some or all of these types of sugars, but not be sure how they are made or when to use it.  So here you go, a tale of 9 sugars:

White Granulated Sugar: This is most commonly known sugar.  White sugar has had all of the naturally present molasses refined out. It is the sugar that is mostly used in baking. The fine crystals in granulated sugar don’t cake together, which makes it perfect for measuring, sprinkling onto food or dissolving into warm drinks.

Confectioners’ Icing or Powdered Sugar: This sugar is known by a few different names, icing sugar, powdered sugar, or confectioners’ sugar. However, they are all the same thing. It is finely ground granulated sugar that has been mixed with a small amount of cornstarch. This helps to prevent clumping. This type of sugar is typically used for frosting or glazes.  And of course for that snowy covering on doughnuts or cookies that will ultimately wind up all over your face and hands, but worth it.

Brown Sugar: There are two types of brown sugar, light and dark. The color refers to the amount of molasses that is present. Brown sugar is white sugar that has had cane molasses added to it.  Light brown sugar is what is used more often in baking, sauces and, glazes. Dark brown sugar, because of the rich molasses flavor, is used in richer foods, like gingerbread. Both brown sugars can harden if left open to the air, so it is best stored in an airtight container. 

You can actually make your own brown sugar pretty easy if you have a food processor. Simply take 1 pound granulated sugar and 3 ounces of molasses. Blend thoroughly in Food Processor.  Make sure everything is incorporated thoroughly you can store it for up to a month in an air tight container.

Superfine, Ultra-fine, or Caster Sugar: These sugars are basically the same.  They all have the smallest crystal size of white granulated sugar. It is generally used in making delicate or smooth desserts such as mousse, meringues or puddings. It also is great for sweetening cold beverages, like your iced tea, because it doesn’t need heat to dissolve.

Turbinado Sugar or Sugar in the Raw: As the name states, this is raw sugar. With only had the surface molasses washed off, which makes it light in color. Commonly, it has a large crystal and is slightly lower in calories (Whoop!) than white sugar due to the moisture content. Turbinado sugar is usally used in sweetening beverages, but can also be used in baking.

Muscovado or Barbados Sugar: Now, if we pop over to Britten, you will find Muscovado sugar is a very common type of British brown sugar. It is much darker brown in color than the what we find here in America.  It has much more molasses, which makes the sugar crystals slightly larger than regular brown sugar and the texture is stickier. It is used in sweets with rich flavors such as gingerbread, coffee cake, and fudge.

Demerara Sugar: This is another type of sugar that is very popular in England.  TO Americans, it would be comparable to Turbinado.  This is due to the fact they are both “raw”. Demerara sugar is a large grained, crunchy sugar that hasn’t had all of the molasses refined out. The sugar is great in tea, coffee, dissolved into hot cereals or sprinkled onto baked goods.

Decorating sugar: This sugar is not ground as finely as other sugars. Sometimes referred to as coarse sugar, it  does have a much larger crystal than regular white sugar. The larger size of the crystals (about the size of pretzel salt) makes this sugar stronger and more resistant to heat. This type of sugar also helps to give baked goods or candy a little more texture and is used for decorations as well.  Typically, this sugar can come in a rainbow of colors.

Sanding Sugar: Sanding sugar is also a larger crystal sugar. Size wise It falls between white granulated and coarse sugar in size. It is another decorating sugar and comes in a variety of colors. What is cool about this sugar is it can reflect light and gives of a sparkly shine.


Now that you know about the different types of sugars out there, be sure to play with them all!!

As always, Happy Baking!

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