Questions about sugar or substitutions for it for culinary purposes.

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29
votes
2answers
6k views

What is the purpose of creaming butter with sugar in cookie recipes?

I got distracted while assembling the dry ingredients for a cookie recipe and added the sugars, which were supposed to be creamed with the butter first. Fortunately, the sugar was added last and I was ...
25
votes
3answers
46k views

Does it matter what kind of sugar is used in baking?

The baking recipes I use specify many kinds of sugar e.g. caster, raw, white, soft etc. Generally, I always just use raw sugar, mainly for convenience. Does it really make a difference?
21
votes
10answers
92k views

How to quickly soften brown sugar

I had some brown sugar that didn't get properly sealed and so now it's solid as a rock. What's the quickest way to soften it up and get rid of the clumps? Folks have suggested leaving an apple with ...
21
votes
6answers
3k views

How can I make this antique ginger wine recipe using ingredients available today?

I have this old family ginger wine recipe, but some of the ingredients are hard to find or may not exist any more... Essence of Ginger 12mls Tincture of Capsicum 9mls Essence of Lemon 5mls ...
15
votes
7answers
7k views

How did people make bread before sugar was 'discovered'

Modern recipes (as far as I know) for bread includes sugar. Sugar gives the yeast a food source, which supports it growth and allows yeast to give bread many of its qualities. It hit me the other ...
15
votes
4answers
15k views

does white sugar have a shelf life?

i have had a sealed container of white sugar for about 5 years now, we have been using it slowly, but is it safe/healthy to continue using it because of its age? or should i replace it?
15
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is carrot juice so sweet?

Certain brands of carrot juice taste sweeter than any raw carrot I ever eaten, yet are made only of carrots, with no added sweeteners. Are carrots sold in supermarkets just not ripe?
15
votes
10answers
125k views

Is granulated sugar (American) the same as caster sugar (UK)?

I have an american cake recipe which includes 'granulated sugar', would this be uk caster sugar? It is for the stage when you beat in with the butter?
14
votes
2answers
4k views

Why is sugar a wet ingredient?

The last time I checked, most sugar is really dry (unless it's something like brown sugar). So why is it categorized as "wet"?
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Is lemonade better when made with simple syrup?

On a hot summer day and with a basketful of lemons I often want a nice cold glass of lemonade. A lot of recipes suggest making lemonade with simple syrup, which requires cooking, whereas other recipes ...
11
votes
7answers
9k views

When baking what works well as a sugar substitute?

I'm curious about what I can use for a sugar substitute while baking. I'm not interested in artificial sweetners, really. For instance, I've found that apple juice works well in some muffins. Are ...
11
votes
5answers
19k views

Preventing white sugar from clumping in the canister

We store sugar in a ceramic canister, and we get some clumping. Restaurants in humid areas that will often add grains of a rice to a salt shaker to stop clumping. (The rice acts as a desiccant and ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

How can I extract palm sugar from a container?

I have a plastic tub with a screwtop lid, full of palm sugar. It's a 500g tub, about 10cm high and about 10cm diameter. Usually I buy the individual cubes of palm sugar and this time I thought I'd ...
11
votes
1answer
5k views

Why do some recipes call for sugar in a brine?

In making a brine for my chicken, I came across a lot of recipes that call for sugar in the brine. I understand the general idea behind brining, but don't understand what benefit the sugar provides. ...
10
votes
6answers
3k views

How do I control the temperature of burnt sugar?

I made a burnt sugar caramel sauce tonight that turned out beautiful. It is just what it sounds like; you make a normal caramel sauce but cook the sugar until it is past amber and getting almost ...
10
votes
2answers
7k views

Why is there cornstarch in powdered sugar?

I was looking up how to make my own powdered/confectioner/icing sugar. Some 'recipes' say that you should add a bit of cornstarch while others just leave this out. So what is the role of cornstarch? ...
10
votes
2answers
537 views

Keeping a sugar solution in the fridge

Based on a the coffee questions I've seen, it seems that hot beverage questions are in scope, so here goes mine: We like keeping iced coffee in the fridge, particularly in the summer. It's easiest ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Light vs Dark Brown Sugar

Is there a practical difference between light and dark brown sugar? I ask b/c I've seen many recipes specify one or the other. Do they really behave differently in some way?
10
votes
4answers
6k views

hard crack candy coming out too sticky

I've made a few batches of hard crack candy, but so far every batch i've made has come out stickier than I'd like. by too sticky, i mean that the candies will stick to the parchment paper i store them ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

Home-make yogurt: add sugar / something else with the starter?

I've read some recipes in the internet and this question about how to make my own yogurt. Some recipes say to add a little sugar with the starter, so that "bacteria would have something to eat". So, ...
9
votes
3answers
18k views

What is liquid glucose?

Two days ago, I was making ganache as a topping for cupcakes. I needed, as expected, cream and chocolate. But '1 teaspoon of liquid glucose' was also on the list of ingredients (for 12 cupcakes). I ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Tips for making caramel with palm sugar

The other day I was making flan and decided to try palm sugar instead of white sugar to make the caramel. Although palm sugar is better than white in a lot of ways, the melting point of the sugar ...
9
votes
5answers
9k views

How to make “honeycomb” less sticky?

I made "honeycomb" (otherwise known as hokey-pokey, not real honeycomb) using this recipe: http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/hokey-pokey-36 It tastes delicious but it is supposed to be crunchy / ...
9
votes
4answers
5k views

What's the purpose of sugar in a pickling solution?

This might seem like a dumb question, but I am going to make a pickled pepper relish of sorts that is really just chopped carrot, onion, and habanero pepper cooked briefly in a pickling solution and ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I mill / press sweet sorghum with household equipment?

I grew sweet sorghum this year as it looked like the easiest way to grow "sugar" in New England. Now I've harvested it, but I'm hard pressed (ha ha) to find a way to mill it with generally available ...
8
votes
5answers
12k views

How can I prevent simple syrup from crystallizing?

When I store it in the refrigerator, my simple syrup always seems to crystallize. How can I prevent this? How long should I expect simple syrup to keep?
8
votes
5answers
6k views

Can I substitute Glucose Syrup for Sugar in cake recipes?

I need to bake a cake without fructose, so all forms of granulated sugar and most syrups (including honey, agave & maple syrup) are out. I've heard of granulated dextrose but can't find it. I'd ...
8
votes
3answers
480 views

Does jaggery need to be soaked?

One of our TV chefs has done a show on India, and one of the ingredients he has used in a few recipes is jaggery, a sugar made from palms. In the show, it appears to be soft, like soft brown sugar. ...
8
votes
4answers
7k views

converting pure chocolate to “bittersweet” chocolate

A chocolate cookie recipe I'm looking at calls for melting down a cup of bittersweet chocolate chips. However, I happen to have a brick of completely unsweetened cooking chocolate in the fridge. Can I ...
7
votes
8answers
7k views

Sugar in Indian curries?

I've seen that sugar is used to balance out other flavors in a dish. I was just wondering if I could add a little sugar to a spicy curry(chicken curry, for example). Would that take away the authentic ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Where to get or how to make hollow sugar balls?

I'm trying to create a set of liqueur and cream filled chocolates by hand. My current idea is, having created the chocolate for the outsides, to build up layers of it on a "sugar scaffold". I can then ...
7
votes
2answers
711 views

How do packet cake mixes get their lightness without creaming butter and sugar?

I don't get it. Do they have some chemical leaveners in them or something? I just had a slice tonight and upon complementing the chef on its lightness, was told it was a packet mix—just add ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Cooking fruit with or without sugar solution

Why does fruit retain its shape when heated in sugared water but break down when heated with just plain water?
7
votes
1answer
7k views

difference between glucose syrup and sugar syrup?

I am not talking about the chemical difference (sugar is chemically a molecule formed by two monosaccarides: glucose and fructose). I am wondering about the difference from the cooking point of view ...
7
votes
3answers
4k views

The difference between beet sugar and cane sugar

My initial guess was that refined sugar has to be the same no matter its provenance, but now I wonder if cane sugar has a different ratio of sucrose/glucose/fructose than beet sugar. Is there any ...
7
votes
2answers
203 views

What islands use a cooking technique that starts with sugar and hot sauce in the pan?

I had a roommate many years ago that was from a Caribbean island, but I don't remember which one. His general technique for cooking almost anything was to start with a hot saute pan, add oil, a good ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

What are the advantages of using agave sweetener instead of sugar?

From what I can tell, it seems that the only advantage is that it has a lower glycemic index. Here's my logic... On my organic blue agave sweetener bottle, it says that it's 25% sweeter than sugar, ...
6
votes
2answers
324 views

When and why would one infuse flavor into sugar for baking?

Listening to The Splendid Table today, the first caller asked how to infuse flavors into her marshmallows. The answer provided was essentially to infuse the sugar, by placing herbs, tea, lemon rind, ...
6
votes
1answer
8k views

How can I know when a thick simple syrup is done cooking?

When making a thick simple syrup (1 part water, 1 part white sugar), how can I know when I've cooked the sugar for long enough? Is it possible to overcook this?
6
votes
2answers
4k views

What is caster/castor sugar?

I've got a Meringue recipe that calls for castor sugar. Is that different than powdered sugar?
5
votes
3answers
626 views

What is the purpose of the sugar in ketchup?

Most ketchup recipes - even homemade ones - include several tablespoons of sugar. Commercial ketchup often has lots of high-fructose corn syrup. What purpose does all of this sugar serve in a ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

I've heard that sugar, and especially brown sugar, loses its flavor over time. Is this true?

I've heard that you can revitalized lumpty or hard brown sugar, but also that doing so doesn't recover the actual flavor. Does baking with other brown sugar that is "revitalized" really impact cookie ...
5
votes
2answers
41k views

Brown sugar instead of white sugar

I want to replace a white (granulated) sugar in a recipe with brown sugar. Is this a one to one substitution? The original recipe calls for 2 cups white sugar. Can I replace with 2 cups brown ...
5
votes
3answers
7k views

Melting sugar on creme brulee with blow torch

Whenever I try to melt the sugar on top of a creme brulee with my kitchen blow torch, I find that the sugar takes forever to discolour even slightly, let alone melt. Eventually isolated patches of ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

What's the point of using sugar in savory dishes?

I never get why people add a sweet substance to a savory dish. Especially in something like a a curry or noodles. People say it balances out the flavors. But which flavor is it actually balancing out? ...
5
votes
1answer
915 views

What effects will xylitol have as a sugar substitute?

What effects does xylitol have when used in place of sugar? Will replacing sugar with xylitol lower the calories in my candy? Does it have a laxative effect if eaten in quantity? Will my fruit ...
5
votes
1answer
256 views

Determining sugar content of liqueurs

My girlfriend and I have been experimenting with making different flavors of chocolate truffles. One difficulty with this is that different flavorings have different amounts of sugar, meaning we need ...
5
votes
1answer
761 views

Is time a factor in Caramelization?

A lot of cooking involves caramelization, and I want to get a better understanding it. Does caramelization happen instantly when each sugar molecule reaches the correct temperature, or does the sugar ...
5
votes
2answers
345 views

Cooling melted sugar quickly

I need to make cubes of sugar that are 1 inch cubes and cool them down enough to hold their shape and support weight as quickly as possible. What techniques can I use to cool the cubes, and how long ...
5
votes
1answer
132 views

Does sugar go bad?

The package of sugar cubes I use have an expiry date. Even 2 months after the expiry, I cant taste any difference. Does sugar actually go bad, and should I throw away sugar past its expiry? Also, if ...