Saturday, December 15, 2012

White or Brown Sugar?

Go to full-size imageI shy from both, health being the reason.  But when it needs to be used....

" There's also a difference between brown and white sugar even though they have roughly the same texture/consistency. Cookies will be chewier if you use more brown sugar...

Because brown sugar, honey, molasses, and corn syrup are all very hygroscopic (have ability to pull moisture from their surrounding atmosphere), they are often used when a softer chewier outcome is desired. Cookies made with all brown sugar will soften upon sitting a day or two from absorbing atmospheric moisture. White sugar crystallizes upon cooling and will produce a crisp texture. As far as white and brown sugars go, you can substitute one for the other, measure for measure...

Sugar is often used as a "wet" ingredient in baking. That means it needs to be dissolved in the water in order to prevent too much gluten from being produced (making the result fluffy/flaky, and not chewy). Different sugars hold different amounts of moisture (for example, brown sugar holds more than white) and using sugar with crystals that are too large (or too small) will make the texture come out completely wrong. Too small and your cake will be rubber; too large and your biscuit will fall apart.
Also, if you're using the sugar for creaming (with fat), you generally need to use a coarser sugar. Superfine sugar will dissolve too quickly and won't allow enough air to be incorporated. Confectioner's sugar is good for creaming but has completely different properties from crystal sugar - it's been "processed" and has cornstarch added, so you can't just substitute in equal quantities.
Of course, it goes without saying that the taste is different as well. But even more important than the taste are the solubility characteristics which, as explained above, will have noticeable effects on other parts of the recipe.
It does depend what you're baking; if the sugar is being used purely for flavouring, then you can use whatever sugar you like. Much of the time in baking though, sugar is used for more than just sweetening, and it's important to be aware of that. If the sugar is being creamed or dissolved, don't substitute unless you're sure you know what you're doing."

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Thanks so much! I greatly value thoughtful comments!! ~ Gabriela