Sweet as…well…Sugar!


I love to bake sweets. There is nothing that satisfies better than a cookie, warm from the oven. Most of my recipes call for granulated sugar. But recently, I came across a recipe that also called for Turbinados Sugar. This was used for sprinkling on the top, but it made me curious. What’s the difference between sugars?


Here’s the scoop:

Granulated Sugar – this all boils down to the size of the crystal. Most sugars you buy in the grocery store are fine, or extra fine. All of these work perfectly well in most any recipe, unless otherwise stated in the directions.

Brown Sugar – depending on whether it is light or dark depends on how much molasses is retained on the surface. Light works better for most baking, dark is primarily used in baked beans, gingerbread and recipes where you want a richer flavor.

Turbinados – this is sometimes mistaken for brown sugar, but it is actually  cane sugar that has been minimally refined. It’s mild caramel flavor works well in baking, or sweetening your coffee, tea and other drinks.

Powdered Sugar – Sometimes known as Confectioner’s Sugar, it is simply sugar that has been ground to a powder and sifted. The most common is a 10x, which is easily found in grocery stores.  There is another type of powdered sugar that has been ground and sifted differently. These are primarily used by professional bakers, and is usually hard to find outside of chef’s supply stores.

Coarse Sugar – is usually used in making fondant and liquors. As the name implies, it is a larger crystal than granulated, and can vary in size. Sanding sugar is a type of coarse sugar used in sprinkling across baked goods.


Sources for Sugar

Did you know that sugar has two different sources? Yep. One is cane and the other is beet. Most of the sugar you buy, unless otherwise specified, could very likely be beet sugar. In reality, there is very little difference, as both are simply refined sucrose, and by the time the process is complete, it’s all the same thing. EXCEPT – (isn’t there always an exception to every rule?) – cane sugar goes through an additional step. It is processed with bone char (a form of charcoal) in order to bleach it white.

By the way – Honey is also considered a sugar, and can be substituted for granulated in some recipes!

Did all this talk about sugar get your sweet tooth to acting up? Great! Then head on into the kitchen, grab your sugar bowl and start measuring out the remedy. After all, doesn’t a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies, fresh out of the oven and served with a glass of iced cold milk sound good about now?

Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.

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