Saturday, November 19, 2005

All the sweet varieties...

Of sugar!!
My idea for this post was sparked by comments to my last post from Heather and Lisa, asking what exactly caster sugar is. I started to simply answer the question, but y'all know me by now, I like to talk..lol Seriously I do. But I also started to think.. I know we all look at LOTS of different recipes and I know I'm not the only one who has noticed that the more recipes I search through the more different types of sugar I learn there are, so I thought I would do a little breakdown & of course answer the original question...

Of course there's the basics :

  • granulated (white) sugar
  • light & dark brown sugar
  • powdered/confectioner's sugar, also known sometimes as icing sugar

The not so common types:

  • caster/superfine sugar
  • maple sugar
  • turbinado sugar
  • demerara sugar
  • muscovado sugar

Now to answer the original question the lovely ladies asked, caster sugar, which is also often known as superfine sugar is finely ground granulated sugar. I have never found it in any of the stores I shop in, so I make my own by pulsing regular granulated sugar in the food processor for 1-2 minutes. Simple as that!! I must admit I rarely use it, although since the finer grain obviously dissolves quicker/more easily it is helpful in meringues or cold liquids.

Maple sugar is dehydrated maple sap - ewww does that even sound like something I would want to bake with?? uh no!! It is twice as sweet as granulated sugar & judging by the photo I've seen of it looks like a cross between granulated sugar & light brown sugar, in case you were wondering..lol

Turbinado sugar is a light brown crystalized sugar, that is only partly refined. It doesn't have a sugary sugar flavor to it, more like a brown sugar or molasses. Turbinado sugar is also sold as "Sugar In the Raw", so next time you go in Starbucks for your latte fix, grab a packed of the stuff & taste it..let me know what you think - I'll stick with my over processed white stuff..

Demerara Sugar is natural unrefined cane sugar, a light brown sugar in the form of large somewhat sticky crystals.

Muscovado sugar, not to be confused with Turbinado sugar is a dark brown crystalized sugar with a deep molasses flavor. It's one of those unrefined "raw" sugars. I have yet to find a recipe that requires it..maybe some of fancy smancy cookie recipes or something..if I find out I'll update ya k? lol

Comments on "All the sweet varieties..."

 

Blogger Alicat said ... (11:31 AM) : 

Very informative! Thanks jaay! :)

 

Anonymous vanessa said ... (12:42 AM) : 

Great info. I have to admit that I actually dig the turbinado in my breve--caramelly flavor!

When it comes to desserts, I've really enjoyed the muscovado sugar (sounds sexy, too). I've used it to brulee a custard and actually made a successful sticky toffee pudding (albeit, a bastardized one) from one of Nigella Lawson's cookbooks. It turned out to be the onlly recipe that actually worked. It's so good in gingerbread recipes, too.

 

Anonymous LisaSD said ... (4:59 PM) : 

Jaay....you are an encyclopedic font of information. Thanks for satisfying enquiring minds!!

 

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