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I need demerera sugar for the outside layer of my shortbread cookies. I have none. Will regular granulated sugar work? Will it burn?

Note: not actually my question, was posted as a now-deleted answer to another question.

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Yes, it will work just fine, but it won't have the same color or the slightly molasses flavor of demerarra. It also has a finer crystal size, usually, so the texture will be a little less distinctive.

The closest substitute for this purpose, if you happen to have it, is sanding sugar--but I imagine that not everyone keeps that on hand. It has a large crystal size, and so presents a nice crunchy topping on muffins or shortbread or similar.

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