We already know that the use of brown sugar does not make sweets healthier. It is still sugar. Rather, its use depends on the specific result that we want to obtain in each recipe. However, brown sugar tends to harden, sometimes being as hard as stone. How can we easily soften brown sugar?
It gives me a lot of anger to start preparing any recipe, preparing all the ingredients and utensils, to find a pot of brown sugar with a stone that is impossible to incorporate into the dough. Chopping it with a knife is usually not a good idea, since in addition to being dangerous it could leave very hard pieces that will spoil the result – and could break a tooth. Luckily, there are some tricks we can apply to fix it.
If you have used brown sugar to cook, you should already know that it tends to harden, sometimes being as hard as a stone.
But why does brown sugar get hard?
We can find sugars with different levels of refining, from white sugar to muscovado. The brown sugar preserves traces of molasses on its surface, which gives it a darker color, a very particular aroma, and flavor, as well as moisture.
When we open a package we leave the sugar crystals exposed to the air. In their coolest state, these crystals are covered with molasses; the higher the purity, the softer, wetter, and more malleable it is to the touch. But as time goes by, the sugar dries up, the moisture in the molasses evaporates, and the crystals stick to each other.
How to soften brown sugar?
Our favorite trick is the simplest
You just have to add to the container where you have the brown sugar a slice of bread, preferably soft or mold, or a few slices of apple. The container must be well closed and you must wait at least 24 hours. After that time, the bread or fruit will have released their own moisture, which the sugar absorbs, regaining its soft texture.
If what you need is for the same day, there are several express methods that will get you out of trouble:
– Place the brown sugar you need in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with a damp cloth, without dripping, and heat for about 15-20 seconds at maximum power. Check that it has been moistened by removing the crystals.
– In the most difficult cases it will be necessary to work in several batches, breaking up the solid lumps little by little with a fork.
– Spray the sugar with a very thin layer of water, making sure that it comes out almost like a transparent and homogeneous curtain. Heat in the microwave for about 15 seconds, stir, and repeat if necessary.
– Heat the sugar in the oven to about 100-120ºC, taking advantage of the fact that you will probably need to bake. Check every couple of minutes if it can be stirred with a fork.
– It is also possible to grate it when small quantities are needed.
To preserve it correctly and avoid hardening, the ideal is to use an airtight container, better if it allows the extraction of air creating a vacuum effect.
How to soften brown sugar in a microwave
You can use the microwave as a quick way to soften brown sugar. Just follow these tips:
- Place the brown sugar in a microwave safe container.
- Place a couple of wet paper towels on top of the brown sugar.
- Cover the container well.
- Heat the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds. If it has not yet softened, continue heating for 10 second intervals. Sprinkle the sugar with a fork and use immediately.
How to soften brown sugar overnight
If you need to use brown sugar the next day, try this method:
- Follow the first three steps listed above, place the hardened sugar in a microwaveable container, cover with damp paper towels, and then seal the container.
- Leave the sealed container on the kitchen counter overnight. The next day, the sugar will soften. Can be used immediately or stored in the refrigerator.