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Back to Basic: Culinary Fundamentals (Brown Sugar)

This week has been hectic with the bad weather and the not having a car to be able to escape from the house. We only bought winter tires for one vehicle, being the stringent adherers to a budget that we are. Alas it makes for some pretty boring days trapped in the house with two kids and only so many rounds of puzzles, books, fort building and baking.

What I did earn was a break. And I got it this weekend when Mr. Guilty himself booked me a lovely surprise haircut (complete with relaxing neck and scalp massage) in the big city. We traipsed the two kids and a set of grandparents for help all the way (45 minutes) into the city so I could have that glorious 45 minutes of time to myself. And oh what glorious minutes they were.

There was another surprise though, this:

Is that not the biggest light bulb you’ve ever seen??!

Goodbye horrible night shots with crappy 100W CFL bulbs. Hello brighter than the sun 500W CFL bulb. This thing is amazing! I am now setting up my own studio and hope to get some serious practice in the next months with artificial lighting and photography, not my strongest suit, but I will persevere!

So let’s get to the recipe shall we?

This is more of a culinary tip than a full blown recipe, what with only two ingredients, but I guarantee you’ll use it at some point in your baking life.

In my neck of the woods, finding organic ingredients is tough, especially “specialty” organic ingredients like brown sugar. It’s just not something a lot of people are looking for and so the stores don’t stock it. At all. All I can get close to is demerera sugar which is similar but not the same:

From Wikipedia:

“Natural brown sugar is brown sugar made by partially refining sugar cane extract, whereas most brown sugar is made by adding molasses to fully refined sugar.

Golden coloured natural brown sugar is produced by extracting the juice from sugar cane, heating it to evaporate water and crystallise the sugar, then spinning in a centrifuge to remove some impurities and further dry the sugar. It is commonly used in baking and to sweeten beverages such as coffee and tea.”

Demerera or turbinado sugars are dry and do not exchange well in recipes that call for lots of brown sugar. They change the moisture content too much.

There is an alternative though:

Muscavado sugar definition from Wikipedia:

“Also known as “Barbados sugar” or “moist sugar”, muscovado is very dark brown and slightly coarser and stickier than most brown sugars. Muscovado takes its flavor and color from its source,sugarcane juice. It offers good resistance to high temperatures and has a reasonably long shelf life. It is commonly used in baking recipes and making rum. Muscovado sugar can be used in most recipes where brown sugar is called for, by slightly reducing the liquid content of the recipe.[1]

Also not the same as comercially available brown sugar as it is even more moist. And all of this leaves me very sad, because I am obsessed with brown sugar. I love the flavour so much I often exchange it in recipes for white sugar where it won’t affect the recipe too much. It’s in almost every baked good recipe on my site. Need I say more?

So where does that leave us then? Well, luckily, making your own brown sugar is so easy a toddler could do it. Honestly. The next time you find yourself out of brown sugar or looking for an organic variety, here’s what you do:

One Year Ago: Making Sushi at Home

How to Make Brown Sugar

1 cup organic cane sugar
1 Tbsp organic unsulphured molasses

1. Blend both ingredients together with a fork until well mixed.
2. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

Recipes to use your delicious brown sugar in:

Brown Butter Roasted Banana Bread on Guilty Kitchen
Pumpkin Carrot Bread on Guilty Kitchen
Brown Butter Apple Spice Cookies on Guilty Kitchen
Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies on Guilty Kitchen
A Better Carrot Cake on Guilty Kitchen

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