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Have you ever walked into a supermarket thinking to make a quick purchase of brown sugar only to meet an aisle-full of brown sugar varying by brands, shapes, sizes, and colour intensity? Well, you are not alone! The diversity in the types of brown sugar is overwhelming, and quite frankly, it is perplexing to know where to use what!
Fortunately, we are making this task easy with this round-up of different brown sugar varieties along with their uses. As always in the case of sugar, the best types of brown sugar is always the one that is organically and sustainably sourced. Considering that organic farming and processing make responsible use of resources, it is the best way to care for the planet!
In this post, we will cover a few unique types of brown sugar that you may not consider as “brown sugar” but we have shortlisted them primarily because, well, they are brown!
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the different types of brown sugar!
Following is a list of the various types of brown sugar:
Best for: Decoration
Sanding sugar has a defined crystal structure and is typically available in a pale shade of brown. However, given that it is used for decorative purposes, bakers often dye it in a rainbow of colours. It possesses a unique quality of retaining shape and texture even when it is subject to high heat. Hence, it lends texture and crunchiness to baked items.
Best for: Baking, Desserts, and Caramel sauce
As the name suggests, cane sugar is extracted from sugarcanes. Due to its relatively unrefined state, the presence of molasses imparts moisture and minerals to it. The fruity aroma and the sweet aftertaste of cane sugar make it a perfect ingredient to titillate your sweet tooth.
Best for: Traditional Bengali Desserts and Sweetening beverages
Also known as nolen gur or khajur gur, palm sugar (or gud/jaggery) is the go-to sweetener for traditional Indian desserts, especially in Bengal. It is derived from the sap present in date palm trees. Its caramelised flavour adds a richness in dishes such as payesh, sandesh, mishti doi, rashogulla, chom chom, and more.
Best for: Traditional South Indian/Asian Desserts and Sweetening beverages
Much like palm sugar, coconut sugar is prepared from the sap obtained from the buds of the coconut tree flowers. Apart from adding a touch of sweetness to desserts, like payasam and kozhukatta, it is one of the types of brown sugar that is used even for curries and other preparations.
Best for: Sweetening beverages and Garnishing baked goods
Demerara is one of the types of brown sugar that is minimally refined. For this reason, it has a bold, amber colour that grants it a rich appearance. The demerara sugar grains retain the subtle flavours of molasses, making it the perfect addition to your cup of tea or coffee. Sprinkle some demerara sugar atop baked goods, and you can have a nice, crunchy finish.
Best for: Baking and Sweetening beverages
Turbinado is yet another minimally-processed types of brown sugar. Due to its rich, brown colour, it is often mistaken for regular brown sugar. However, turbinado sugar possesses deeper caramelised notes in its flavour profile. Topping baked items with turbinado sugar grants a delightful crunch to it.
Best for: Barbeque sauces, Marinades, and Curries
Muscovado sugar, also known as Barbados sugar, are types of brown sugar where the molasses is not removed. As a result, it has a wet, sticky, and sand-like texture with a rich, earthy flavour. Its flavour complexity makes it an excellent sugar substitute for almost anything! However, they are best to oomph up savoury dishes.
Best for: Baking, Glaze, and Sauces
Light brown sugar is a combination of refined white sugar and a small amount (about 3.5-4%) of molasses. It is less sticky than Muscovado but has a comparable wet, sand-like texture. The caramelisation of light brown sugar makes it a popular baking ingredient. Thus, when recipes call for “brown sugar,” it generally stands for light brown sugar.
Best for: Baking with spices
Dark brown sugar, aka old-fashioned brown sugar, is essentially light brown sugar with a higher molasses content. Typically, dark brown sugar contains 6.5 to 8% molasses. Hence, it leaves behind a deep, rich toffee flavour from the molasses. It is ideal for baking items that require structural integrity and beautifully compliments spices. So if you’re thinking of gingerbread or all-spice cookies, dark brown sugar is the way to go.
Some of the brown sugar varieties are healthier than others. However, each of them has a specific purpose, which is a result of its nature. For enjoying your experience with brown sugar, choose organic as it allows you to get the best of flavours.
Now that you know about the different types of brown sugar, you can go ahead and add them to your pantry!
Try 24 Mantra Organics’s Brown sugar and enjoy the goodness of organic!
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