What are the different types of sugar?
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Sugars from sugar cane or sugar beets, common in most pantries, include white, light brown and dark brown. White sugar is purified from any evidence of the molasses from which it is made. Dark brown and light brown are simply white sugar with some of the molasses added back in. Consequentially these sugars have flavor, are somewhat moist, and will result in more moist and denser baked good. Demerara and turbinado sugars are closely related and often marketed as “raw” sugar as they are crystalized only once. While both are coarse grained, turbinado is slightly more fine and had a slightly less pronounced lingering flavor of molasses. Muscovado is the most flavorful, unrefined with none of the molasses removed, the granules have a sticky, sandy texture.
Caster sugar, also known as superfine sugar, is a fine-grained sugar that dissolves quickly and is often used in meringues. Caster sugar can be made at home by whirling white granulated sugar in a food processor or blender.
Confectioners’ sugar, also known as powdered sugar or icing sugar, is a finely ground sugar made by milling granulated sugar into a powdered form and then adding a small amount of cornstarch to prevent caking. It is commonly used in baking and confectionery to make frosting and glazes, and is ideal for dusting on top of cakes and other desserts. Non-melting confectioners sugar, also known as heat-resistant or high-temperature powdered sugar, is formulated to withstand high temperatures without breaking down, and is often used by bakeries to dust doughnuts and cookies.
Maple sugar is made by boiling down the sap of maple trees until most of the water has evaporated. The syrup left behind is stirred until it begins to crystallize, then is strained, cooled, and dried.
Palm sugar, also known as jaggery, is derived from boiling the sap of the palmyra, and other varieties of palm tree. Similar to muscovado, it is brown in color, coarse with a sticky texture, and is used in Asian, Indonesian, and Portuguese dishes. Available in hard blocks, logs, and nuggets; softer in tubs, or cans.
Try the recipe for Smokin’ BBQ Sauce with palm or brown sugar.