Demerara is a light brown, partially refined, sugar produced from the first crystallization during processing cane juice into sugar crystals. It is pretty much in raw form. 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 drinks or sprinkled onto baked goods.
Sanding sugar is used mainly for decorating. It has large crystals, which are fairly resistant to heat and doesn’t dissolve easily. Hence it is used to add extra texture and crunch to cookies and other baked goods. You can find sanding sugar in a rainbow of colors. Sanding sugar gives a professional look to baked goods. The large or fine crystals—both types reflect light and give the product a sparkling appearance. It is often available in fun colors.
Also referred to as Barbados sugar, muscovado sugar is a variety of unrefined cane sugar in which the molasses isn’t removed. It comes in dark and light varieties and has a sticky, wet, sandy texture with a rich, complex flavor. While muscovado sugar can be used as a substitute for brown sugar, its flavor is much stronger. It’s especially wonderful in barbecue sauce, marinades, and savory dishes.
Date Sugar: This “sugar” is actually very finely pulverized dried dates, so it’s quite high in fiber and retains the fruit’s vitamins and potassium. Use it in place of sugar—you may want to reduce the amount by about a third. Be warned that it doesn’t dissolve completely the way sugar does, so it works best for dense baked goods
Cane Sugar: To make Cane Sugar, cane juice is extracted, strained, boiled, and beat into granules. Because it’s less processed than white sugar, it retains more of the molasses flavor. It makes a great substitute for brown sugar; start with a 1:1 swap.
Coconut Sugar: A solid sugar made from the evaporated sap of the coconut palm, coconut sugar has a similar taste to brown sugar and can be substituted 1:1 for granulated or brown sugar in most baking recipes.
Jaggery: Jaggery is an unrefined brown sugar that is sold in hard blocks. It’s less sweet than sugar, so you’ll likely want to use about a third more if substituting for granulated sugar in recipes. Jaggery is also available in powder form.
Maple Sugar: Maple Sugar can be substituted for granulated sugar in recipes that require creaming of butter and sugar—but it’s twice as sweet, so you might want to start with slightly less than a 1:1 ratio and adjust.
Honey: Honey is 25 to 50% sweeter than sugar, and has a distinctive flavor. Using honey in baked goods will result in a denser, moister dessert. It’s sweeter than cane sugar by about a third, so keep this while using it as a substitute.
Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is prepared by evaporating the sap of the maple tree. Use maple syrup anywhere its intense, complex flavor would be welcome—cookies, granola, oatmeal, in your coffee. The syrup is used most frequently for sweetening pancakes and waffles, and occasionally to add flavor and sweetness to baked products.
Barley malt syrup: Made from sprouted (aka malted) barley, this syrup imparts a very strong nutty, molasses-like flavor to baked goods. You’ll often see it called for in bread and other yeasted recipes, as its primary sugar.
Corn Syrup: Corn syrup is food syrup which is made from the starch of corn and it is used in cooking and candy-making because, unlike other sugars, it does not crystallize. Corn syrup is less sweet than sugar.
Two common commercial corn syrup products are light and dark corn syrup.
- Light corn syrup is corn syrup seasoned with vanilla flavor and salt. Light corn syrup is clear and tastes moderately sweet.
- Dark corn syrup is a combination of corn syrup and molasses, caramel color and flavor, salt, and the preservative sodium benzoate. Dark corn syrup is a warm brown color and tastes much stronger than light corn syrup. Molasses in dark corn syrup enhances its flavor and color.
Molasses: Molasses is the dark-colored syrupy product resulting after the removal of crystalline sucrose by centrifugation from the concentrated clarified cane juice. This is used to flavor some cakes and cookies.
High fructose corn syrup: high fructose corn syrup has been prepared from corn syrup by the use of the enzyme glucose isomerize. High fructose syrup contains about 42 percent fructose and is used in the in the manufacture of soft drinks, candies, preserves and some baked products.
Cane syrup: cane syrup is similar to molasses and is obtained by simply boiling sugarcane juice to a syrupy consistency.
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