Brown sugar is well-known for its full-bodied, caramel-like flavor and a soft moist texture, which turns hard when moisture in it evaporates. It is white sugar combined with molasses, which gives it a dark color and strong taste. It is commonly used in preparing many dessert recipes, especially baked items, for giving a creamy and nutty flavor. Also due to the moisture in it, brown sugar helps produce moist, chewy, and delicious baked goods.
However, quite often we all must have experienced that as we reach in the kitchen cabinet for brown sugar, and find that it has turned into a hard, useless mass. The sight can be extremely annoying especially when one is in the middle of a recipe.
Methods to Soften Brown Sugar
There are a number of things one can do to soften and refresh it even after storing for months. One of the most common methods to keep it from hardening, is to store it in an air tight container and keep it in a cool dry place. But very often despite our efforts, it tends to lump and become hard after a few months. Therefore, here are some easy tips to soften it.
- Keep the brown sugar in an airtight glass or plastic container with a slice of fresh bread placed on top and leave overnight. By morning it will be soft and fresh again, if not, keep it as it is for a day or so. Likewise, you can also keep a piece of apple in a sealed bag or container having hardened brown sugar for a few days.
- Sprinkle a few drops of water over the chunk of hardened brown sugar in a plastic bag or keep it in an open container, covering the top with a moistened cloth or towel for a couple of days.
- Another easy option is to transfer chunks of it in a food processor or a blender and pulse until it is back to usable consistency. Or you can grate it with a hand grater into small granules.
- For instant use, the most convenient method for softening is microwave. All you need to do is to put the sugar in a container and keep it in the microwave with a small bowl full of water besides it. Then microwave for a minute or so and check. If it is still hard, microwave for another 30 minutes.
- Similarly place the chunk of hardened sugar in a microwave safe plastic bag with a moist paper towel in it and seal. Microwave for about 20 seconds and if still not soft, continue for a few more seconds but ensure that you don't melt it.
- Another way is to bake the hardened sugar in a baking pan by setting the oven temperature at about 250°F. Check after 5 minutes and if still not soft, keep baking while checking every few minutes until it is of usable consistency.
- A clay disc can also be used to soften it. Here all you need to do is soak the clay disc in water for 30 minutes, dry so that it isn't dripping wet and then place in the sugar container and seal. This method is highly effective in keeping it soft for months.
The aforementioned method is not only effective but simple too. Pick any one of these methods and I am sure next time while making your favorite dessert, you will be happy to find soft and fresh brown sugar in your kitchen cabinet.