How To Soften Brown Sugar
We’ve all been there: brown sugar turned to brick. But dont fret, you cant unboil an egg but you can re-soften brown sugar. Here are our sugar-saving tips.
Nothing will spoil your cookie-making plans quicker than gathering up your ingredients only to discover that the brown sugar at the back of your cupboard is rock-hard. We tackled this problem in our test kitchen and discovered that stale brown sugar can be salvaged and softened. You can also keep a brand-new bag as soft as wet sand, indefinitely.
How To Keep Brown Sugar From Getting Hard
Firstly, make sure youre storing it in an airtight container in a cool dark place. I like to use these OXO POP containers because they create an airtight seal.
I have two of these terra cotta brown sugar savers, one for light and one for dark brown sugar. You simply soak one for 15 minutes in water then add it to your container of brown sugar. Itll keep the sugar perfectly soft for up to 3 months. You can also add the soaked stone to a container of already hardened brown sugar and it should soften it up in about 24 hours! Re-soak the stone every 3 months.
If this kind of info interests you, check out my totally free guide on how to customize your cookies below. Ill give you a hint to one of the best ways to create tender and flavorful cookies use brown sugar!
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How To Soften Brown Sugar With A Dampened Towel
Dampen a kitchen towel or thick paper towel. Wring it out well to remove as much excess water as possible. Place the brown sugar in a bowl, and cover the bowl with the dampened towel so that the opening is completely covered but the towel is not touching the brown sugar. Leave the covered bowl on your countertop overnight or until the brown sugar has softened.
If you store your brown sugar in an airtight canister, you can also cover the top surface with aluminum foil or plastic wrap,and place the dampened towel on top of the foil or plastic wrap. Its important to put that layer of protection between the sugar and the damp towel. Otherwise, youll find that your brown sugar has turned suspiciously white. Close the container and leave overnight or until the brown sugar has softened.
How To Make And Store Brown Sugar
Keep scrolling to learn how to make brown sugar in less than 5 minutes and my trick for keeping it perfectly soft and lump-free. Plus some interesting science tips about brown sugar in baking!
Yield:1 Recipe can make any amount needed
I love brown sugar.
Is that a weird thing to state? The more complex butterscotch sweetness it gives baked goods like cookies is just dreamy. Not to mention its actually more hygroscopic than granulated sugar, which is just a fancy scientific way of saying it attracts and retains more moisture. That means baked goods made with the stuff arent just more flavorful, but theyre more moist and tender!
I created a quick yet informative video below that shows you how to DIY brown sugar right in your own kitchen!
Let me know what you think in the comments below.
An Apple A Day Keeps The Brown Sugar Ready
Much like the sliced bread method, an apple can be used to bring hardened brown sugar back to life. Just add a few apple slices to an airtight container and let it sit for 24 hours to loosen the brown sugar.
The advantage of using apples over bread is that when the apples provide the brown sugar with moisture they also transfer a little of their flavor, giving the sugar a fruity taste. This method works great when you’re baking fall treats that could really use that extra bit of flavor!
Dont have 24 hours to wait around for your brown sugar to be ready? Dont worry, while the methods above may be the best ways to soften up hardened brown sugar, there are faster methods that will help you save that cookie batter waiting on your counter.
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S To Soften Brown Sugar
Now you know how to keep brown sugar soft, but despite your best intentions, you may open up your cupboard to discover the dreaded hard brown sugar. Its not too late, though!
There are a few methods for softening brown sugar that has gone hard. Because the sugar went hard due to lack of moisture, the strategies for softening it again involve returning moisture to the sugar.
Heat is one way to get some moisture back in the sugar: Preheat your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, put the sugar into a pan and heat until the sugar softens. Keep in mind that the sugar will harden again as it cools, so plan to use it before that happens.
You can also soften brown sugar in the microwave. Put the sugar in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with two pieces of moist paper towel. Microwave it in 15- to 20-second bursts, checking after each time the microwave stops to see if it has returned to the state you prefer and to break up any clumps. Dont leave sugar in for too long at a time, though, or you may end up cooking it.
If you have a little more time and dont need your sugar softened immediately, you can also return it to a soft state by soaking a piece of terra cotta in water for about 20-30 minutes. Then, place the sugar in an airtight container with the terra cotta for about a day. The sugar will absorb the moisture from the terra cotta.
How Do You Keep Brown Sugar Soft
The best way to prevent brown sugar from getting hard in the first place is with proper storage. Brown sugar should be stored in an air tight container. Be sure to remove any excess air from the package if you are storing it in a zip top bag. I’ve also found the freezer to be a good storage area too as long as it wrapped properly.
The use of a terra cotta saver is optional, but if you don’t use this very often it is an inexpensive kitchen item that can also be used for other things.
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How To Soften White Sugar
You can apply the same brown sugar softening methods for white granulated sugar too.
How To Keep Brown Sugar Soft
I am a big believer in keeping a terra cotta disk in my brown sugar container. The other methods I described will soften hardened brown sugar, but the terra cotta method will also keep your brown sugar soft for a long time. Keep your brown sugar in an airtight container thats not too big so theres as little excess air space as possible. Add one of these disks, and youll easily be able to keep that sugar nice and soft.
If you want to try a terra cotta disk, youll find many options available. I use an airtight OXO container that allows their terra cotta disk to attach to the lid. I have used it to soften rock hard brown sugar, and I also dampen the disk occasionally to keep the brown sugar soft. This is my preferred method for storing brown sugar and keeping it soft.
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Softening Brown Sugar With Bread
Add a slice of bread to the container of brown sugar. Within about 8 hours , the brown sugar will become soft and ready to use again.
Why does the bread work to soften brown sugar? Bread contains moisture that will evaporate if it is exposed to air. However, if the only air is in a sealed container with dried out brown sugar, the water vapor molecules will stick to the sugar crystals.
This causes them to be surrounded by a thin layer of water, so the sugar softens and crumbles.
It is not just bread that will help to add moisture back to hardened brown sugar. You can also use apple or pear slices to do the same thing.
This brown sugar softening trick takes a little while to work but it does the job, every time. It can take 8 to 24 hours for this trick to work.
One thing may happen when use this method to soften the brown sugar. The top layer of sugar may get lighter in color since the bread will absorb some of the molasses coating. It is still fine to use but wont have quite the same rich flavor.
How To Make Brown Sugar
If you have found yourself in a bind, then save this guide on how to make brown sugar. It is a super simple DIY brown sugar recipe. My guide will help show you how to make it yourself, soften hard brown sugar, give storage suggestions, give brown sugar substitutions, and provide recipes that will help you utilize this very simple kitchen staple.
Confession time: There have been a number of times I make a recipe, but I didn’t take the time to do my mis en place. In other words, I didn’t make sure I had all my ingredients until I was pouring everything into a bowl for a baked good.
This has happened to me is brown sugar. Either I’ve run short or have discovered that it has turned so solid, it belongs in a 1980’s Chevy commercial with the song Like a Rock playing in the background. Or I just don’t have enough on hand.
So here is my ultimate guide to how to make, soften, store, and use brown sugar. It will potentially save you a trip to the grocery store. You can use this to make it as needed or in a pinch. I’ve also included a round up of recipes from around the web to inspire you to utilize this delicious kitchen staple.
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The Microwave Method For Softening Brown Sugar
While this method piggybacks on the previous methods, it moistens the sugar in a much shorter amount of time. Put the hard brown sugar in a microwave safe bowl or container and place a dampened paper towel on top of it. Then, microwave for about 20 seconds and break it up with a fork as you go. The moisture from the paper towel should help get the brown sugar soft. If needed, heat for another 20 seconds, but be careful not to melt it.
How To Soften Brown Sugar With Bread Or Tea Bags
If you have 2 to 3 days: Transfer your brown sugar into an airtight container and try resuscitating it with something that can add moisture, like a slice of bread or a couple of damp tea bags. We also tried other recommended fixes like marshmallows which had no effect and apple slices, which turned slimy.
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Stasher Large Silicone Reusable Storage Bag 52 Oz
The two other techniques don’t require a container, but do depend on an appliance. Keep in mind, though: while the microwave and oven methods are often written about as the speediest ways to rectify a hard sugar situation, they are much more hands-on than the alternativesand too much heat can reduce your ingredient to glop. Before you embark on your journey, consider how much helicopter parenting you want to be doing while bringing your sugar rock child back to life, and what kind of machinery you’re working with in your kitchen.
Softening Brown Sugar With Marshmallows
Those fluffy and MOIST nuggets are not just for making smores! If you have a container of brown sugar that is hard, add two or three plump marshmallows to the sealed container.
Seal tightly and check in a couple of days to make sure that the sugar has absorbed the moisture and is soft again.
Work the sugar with a knife to remove any clumps and tightly reseal the container. The sugar should remain soft.
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How To Soften Hard Brown Sugar: A Head
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It’s happened to all of us : We’ve reached into the pantry for cookie ingredients only to discover that our brown sugar is no longer scoopable and siftable, but rather depressingly rock solid. Half-heartedly scratching at the outer edges of the mass only shaves off a few grains at a time, so we’re forced to face the music: for cookie o’clock to proceed as scheduled, we have to buy another bag.
Brown sugar dries out when exposed to air for too long, losing all of the moisture that its molasses content provides and transforming from wet sand to a sweet, unusable brick. The phenomenon is so ubiquitousthe result of plastic bags that aren’t fully sealed and cardboard boxes left cracked open at the cornersthat googling how to soften hard brown sugar yields pages of results. But from the numerous tips and techniques presented, it’s tough to pick a way to proceed confusing instructions and long estimated times have led me to throw away more than a few dumb heavy blocks of sugar.
To put the how to soften hard brown sugar issue to rest and curb my sugar waste, I tried five of the most commonly recommended methods, using easy to find tools and common kitchen ingredients. One technique clearly came out on top, and armed with this information , I’m never going to have to postpone cookie-making again.
Tips For Making Brown Sugar
The following are my best tips for making brown sugar at home:
- Avoid using Blackstrap Molasses as it is quite bitter compared to molasses.
- This recipe can be halved, doubled or more as necessary
- Always store in an air tight container to prevent hardening
- If you need less than a cup, then use the following ratios to make light brown sugar:
- If you need ½ cup, then use 1.5 tsp molasses
- If you need ¼ cup, then use .75 tsp molasses
- Use double the amounts above if you are making dark brown sugar.
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Storing Brown Sugar Properly
How To Soften Brown Sugar Without A Microwave
What if youre not in a terrible hurry, and would rather not do the microwave drill. Fortunately, theres a way to do that. Heres how to soften up brown sugar without a microwave.
Step 1: Find a Moist Material
We often use bread to lend the dried up sugar some of its moisture. Some people resort to apples, orange peels, marshmallows, or even terra cotta.
All these materials work in theory, but several people didnt get great outcomes when they tried them. We also prefer to go with something thats handy, clean, and wouldnt affect the taste or odour of the sugar.
So go with a piece of soft bread.
Step 2: The Secret Is in the Container, Get a Good One
Brown sugar hardens whenever its exposed to air. The secret then is to put in a container where this moisture wouldnt escape. Airtight containers are absolutely essential for that.
You could also use the package that the manufacturer wraps the sugar in, as its already airtight. But make sure that you give it an extra wrapping in another impervious bag. Thats to make sure that the newly created moisture stays inside.
Step 3: Place the Bread beside the Sugar
A single slice of bread is often enough to re-vitalise the hardened brown sugar. If its too dry, or you have a large quantity of sugar in the pack, add more. Feel free to put in 2-5 slices of bread as needed.
Step 4: Wait for a Few Days
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