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Anything is good, in moderation. I cook because I love to and because I can share with those around me. I crochet for the same reason.

Do what you want to do, enjoy what you do and use it to touch those around you.

Jan 7, 2014

Things Your Recipe Never Told You - Sugar

Sugar:  Granulated Sugar, Light Brown Sugar, Dark Brown Sugar, Confectioner's Sugar, 10X Sugar, Powdered Sugar - we all grew up with these.  New to the mix:  Raw Sugar, Demerara Sugar, Turbinado Sugar, Superfine Sugar.  All this sugar, does it make a difference?

So, your recipe says Sugar, what does it mean?  If it just means sugar, it means the most common type, Granulated Sugar.  You use it in baking, coffee, tea, sauces, sometimes with cinnamon on toast. It works well for lots of things.

Brown Sugar comes in two forms:  Dark and Light.  Dark Brown Sugar has a higher molasses content.  What doesn't your recipe tell you?  Even if it is not stated, brown sugar should be packed.  On the rare occasion when it should not be packed, the recipe will state it outright.  So, what difference does it make?  In most cases, they are interchangeable, but the dark sugar may require an additional baking time.  For things such as baked beans, you should use the Dark Brown Sugar because it will be better with the higher molasses content.

1/2 Cup Not Packed:  76 Grams

1/2 Cup Packed:  109 grams

So, packing the brown sugar adds about 33 grams of weight.  This is a huge difference.

Confectioners (also known as Powdered Sugar or 10X Sugar) is a finely ground sugar.  It usually contains a small percentage of cornstarch to prevent caking.  This sugar is made from sugar beets.

Superfine Sugar is a finer grind of a Granulated Sugar.  If you cannot purchase it, you can process granulated sugar in a food processor until powdered.

The other sugars I have limited experience with, but there are several good sources to find additional information.

When baking cookies, you will often see both granulated sugar and brown sugar included.  What if you don't have one?  Can you substitute.  The answer is yes - but it will impact how your cookies flatten and brown.  I made the following Toffee Oatmeal Cookies three times, using three different sugar combinations.  First, I made the recipe as written.  Second, I used 1 cup of white sugar and no brown sugar.  Finally, I used all Brown Sugar.  (Pictured above from left to right)  The white sugar only spread the least on the pan and had the least browning.  The brown sugar only spread the most and had the darkest color.  They also had the best flavor, by just a bit, because they complimented the toffee flavor nicely.  They are all tasty, so it is up to you.  Try it, you'll like it.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with silicone mats or non stick foil, set aside.

1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Butter
1/2 Tsp Vanilla
1 Large Egg
1/4 Cup Shortening
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/4 Tsp Baking Powder
1/4 Tsp Salt
1 Cup Flour
1 1/2 Cup Old Fashioned Oatmeal
1 Cup Toffee Chips

Cream together sugars, butter and Shortening.  Add egg and vanilla, mix until combined well.  Add Soda, Baking Powder, Salt and Flour and mix until just combined.  Stir in Oatmeal and Toffee.  

Scoop onto pan about 1 inch apart.  I used a cookie scoop to ensure that the comparison would be valid.

Bake 10 minutes.  Cool about 5 minutes on sheet then remove to a cooling rack.

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