• Demystify

    Demystifying The Basics of Sugar

  • –  Travel Food & Wine 

    Even using an ingredient as simple as sugar can make or break your dish if you don’t know the right type and way to use it.

    Indians are as oriented to spices as they are to sugars. We’re a land of a variety of sweets from all across the world. The baaju wala neighbor coming to your house for a bowl of shakkar is a well-accepted idea for us. There are so many misconceptions when it comes to the types of sugars. When you think about sugar, the first thing that probably comes to mind is sweetness. And while it does sweeten, the uses for sugar are many. Sugar can add flavor, texture, and decoration. It also works to make dough tender, provide stability for egg whites when making meringues and pavlovas, and help baked goods achieve a nice golden-brown color. But it all depends on which one you use. So from cane sugar to demera to brown sugar, there are different varieties of sugar you all should definitely know of.

    Caster Sugar is finely granulated white sugar. Since, it is so finely chopped, it dissolves quicker and hence preferred for making syrups and meringues.

    Pearl Sugar is hard texture and an opaque colour. It’s shape doesn’t get disrupted even in high temperatures and hence is used for cake and cookie decorations.

    Sanding Sugar can be in a variety of colour and is used mainly for decorating purposes. They help give an extra crunch to cookies.

    Cane Sugar is unrefined sugar granules made solely by sugarcane. It’s used the same way normal granulated sugar is used but is considered to be less processed and hence more healthy.

    Demerara Sugar has large grains with an amber color and a natural, subtle molasses flavor. Use it to sweeten coffee or tea, or as a topping on baked goods, like muffins, scones, cookies, and cakes.

    Muscovado Sugar is a variety of sugar in which the molasses isn’t removed. It has a wet, sandy texture with a flavor that is complex. While muscovado sugar can be used as a substitute for brown sugar, its flavor is much stronger. It’s especially wonderful in barbecue sauce, marinades, and savory dishes.

    Brown Sugar also has a wet sandy texture but is less stickier than muscovado sugar. It has a caramel flavour to it and is used it for making any baked goods, as well in savoury dishes.

    Just like with infused salts, infused sugars are also becoming a thing. By adding herbs and fruit rinds to sugar, you can give an exciting pop of flavour. Infused sugars can be used in a variety of ways from adding an unexpected flavours to cocktails and baked goods. Infused sugars are used more as an addition to flavour than just for sweetening.

    Vanilla Sugar 

    It can be added to coffee or milk to give a vibrant flavour of vanilla in your everyday drink.

    You will need 

    • 6 cups granulated white sugar
    • 1 vanilla bean

    Instructions

    • Add the sugar to a glass jar or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.
    • Slice the vanilla bean length-wise, piercing only the top layer of the skin. Press the back of the knife against the bean and up lengthwise, squeezing the oily, miniscule black seeds out.
    • Add the seeds and the bean to the sugar. Place the lid on the container and shake it up.
    • Store for a week, until the vanilla infuses the sugar. Use in place of regular sugar wherever you desire.
    • Whenever you use a vanilla bean in a recipe, just add the seeded or discarded bean to the sugar.

    Cinnamon Sugar
    It acts as a good rub for meat or as an addition to brownies.

    You will need

    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon

    Instructions

    • Combine 1/2 cup sugar with 2 tbsp ground cinnamon.
    • Use true (soft-stick) cinnamon for mild, aromatic flavor; use cassia cinnamon for bolder, spicier flavor.
    • Crush 1 cinnamon stick and grind in a spice grinder with 1/4 cup sugar until a fine powder is formed, then mix in 1/4 cup more sugar.

    Lavender Sugar

    It could be used to add to ice-cream or custard for a twist in flavour. It is also a brilliant addition to any cake recipe.

    You will need

    • 4 tbsp dried lavender flowers
    • 3 cups sugar

    Instructions

    • Place lavender and sugar in a food processor. Pulse to mix evenly, and until you see flecks of lavender evenly distributed throughout the sugar. Divide evenly and package in decorative containers for gift giving.

    Cardamom Sugar 
    It’s perfect addition to marshmallows to make smores. It is a way to add for anything apple-flavoured.

    You will need

    • 20 pods cardamom, or more to taste
    • 3/4 cup white sugar

    Instructions

    • Crack cardamom pods open to remove seeds. Discard husks.
    • Combine cardamom seeds and 2 tbsp sugar in a spice grinder; grind until fine and evenly textured. Combine with remaining 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar. Transfer to a glass container; seal.

    Ginger Sugar 
    It could be mixed with cocktails, cookies or served with tea.

    You will need 

    • 1⁄4 cup demera sugar
    • 1 tbsp fresh finely grated gingeroot

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
    • Mix sugar and ginger together in a bowl, and spread out in a baking dish to a layer about 1/4 inch thick.
    • Heat in oven for only about 5 minutes, just long enough for the ginger and sugar to begin to melt together but not long enough for it to become a total liquid.
    • Remove from oven and stir well to mix. Leave out to cool and dry, it will take about 24 to 48 hours for it to dry completely.
    • Stir occasionally to assist in the drying process.
    • Once totally dry and crunchy, grind it to the desired texture using a mortal and pestle or even just the back of a fork.