Sugar, as we all know is made from sugarcane and sugar beets. It is sweet to taste and primarily consists of sucrose. Refined sugar also known as granulated sugar is used in day-to-day cooking. However there are some other types of culinary sugar like brown sugar, muscovado sugar, light brown sugar, demerara sugar, caster sugar, icing sugar and turbinado sugar. Superfine sugar is nothing but caster sugar which is a very fine sugar that is used in many baked dishes. This makes it an ideal sugar to be used for making light pastries and meringues.
What is Superfine Sugar
The normal granulated sugar that we use at home has a crystalline structure with a grain size of roughly 0.55 mm. Superfine sugar or caster sugar, as it is popularly known has a grain size of around 0.35 mm. Caster sugar because of its fine grain size dissolves more quickly than granulated sugar. This property of caster sugar makes it useful for making various cocktail drinks as well as pastries and meringues. Many people think that superfine sugar is same as powdered sugar. But that is not true.
Powdered sugar is granulated sugar that has been crushed or ground mechanically to form very fine powder. Generally it has some cornstarch added to it to prevent the powdered sugar from clumping. However superfine sugar is fine granulated sugar where each sugar crystal size is about 0.35 mm, which is less than that of granulated sugar.
Superfine Sugar Explained
Some other names of superfine sugar is bar sugar and baking sugar. Superfine sugar is almost exclusively used in baking and for making many mixed drink. It provides lightness to cakes and pastries and it has a slightly crunchier texture than regular sugar. One of the most important properties of superfine sugar is that it dissolves very easily in cold liquid.
This makes it an excellent choice for use in making meringues, whipped cream and cake batters. If you are keen on making superfine sugar at home, then just blend regular granulated sugar in a food processor for a minute. Make sure that you do not over process it or it will turn into powdered sugar. You can also use a spice grinder to make superfine sugar at home.
If you do not have superfine sugar at home and your recipe calls for it, then you need a substitute for it. A good substitute would be powdered sugar or granulated sugar. However not all recipes will work with this food substitution. Say, you are making a mojito and you need a tablespoon of superfine sugar in it. If you use powdered sugar instead of superfine sugar, the drink will not remain clear after the sugar has been dissolved in it. Also in a meringue recipe, it makes sense to use only caster sugar as using granulated sugar might leave the meringue too soft and adding powdered sugar will not give you the same rise in the meringue.
Since superfine sugar dissolves quite easily in even cold liquid, it has many culinary uses. It can also be sprinkled over your breakfast cereal and muesli to add a bit of crunch and sweetness. In addition to cakes, pastries and meringues, you can use superfine sugar in making creme brulee and caramel custard. Now that you know the uses of this wonderful sugar why don't you stock it up in your pantry and use it for making wonderful desserts and beverages.