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Thread: Brown Sugar

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    Brown Sugar

    I'm sure that I'm not the only one who wants to know the answer to these two questions, re: Brown Sugar:

    1) Is there a way to soften that brown sugar "brick" that you pull out of the cupboard?
    2) What is the best way to store brown sugar so it doesn't petrify?

    Jeff
    Jeff
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    Re: Brown Sugar

    I learned an old trick from my mother to help with this phenomenon: stuff a slice of bread in the bag with it. The moisture in the bread helps soften the brick. It will soften it over a period of about 24 hours, and keep it that way - so long as you replace the bread slice, which becomes the brick. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>
    -Mark

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    Re: Brown Sugar

    Thanks.... I'll give that a try! <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>
    Jeff
    simul iustus et peccator

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    Re: Brown Sugar

    Mark,

    Just wanted to report back that your mother's trick of putting a slice of bread in the brown sugar bag works incredible well. <img src=/S/joy.gif border=0 alt=joy width=23 height=23> I never would have believed it unless I saw it with my own eyes <IMG SRC=http://www.threadsdev.com/forum/images/graemlins/shiftyeyes.gif>

    The bag I tried was absolutely SOLID, rock hard. Within a day or so, it was like it just came from the store!

    <IMG SRC=http://www.the-highway.com/Smileys/thanx.gif>
    Jeff
    simul iustus et peccator

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    Re: Brown Sugar

    Good stuff! I'll have to make sure I tell her that her trick works wonders!
    -Mark

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    Re: Brown Sugar

    My Mom put bread in the over crisp cookies to soften them. I'm glad to hear it works on brown sugar also.

    I will never forget the first time she put a piece of bread in the cookie jar. I heard her coming down the hall as I started to sneak <img src=/S/sneaky.gif border=0 alt=sneaky width=15 height=15> a cookie out of the jar so I quickly grabbed what was on top and ran. <img src=/S/flee.gif border=0 alt=flee width=25 height=25> I was quite disappointed <img src=/S/disappointed.gif border=0 alt=disappointed width=15 height=15> to find an old stale piece of bread in my hand when I got outside. <img src=/S/bummer.gif border=0 alt=bummer width=15 height=15>

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    Re: Brown Sugar

    Now that's a funny one! My mother also used the bread trick in the cookie jar, but I never had the misfortune to swipe the bread in lieu of a cookie.

    Makes me think about how I grew up, what with rice in the salt shakers and slices of bread in the sugar and cookie jars. Perfectly normal to me, but so many people ask questions when they encounter the same at my house...
    -Mark

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    Re: Brown Sugar

    Just caught up with this thread, so I'm a bit behind, but what I do to immediately soften brown sugar is to microwave it for short periods of time until it's soft. I do so while it's in a plastic bag.

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    Re: Brown Sugar

    Bread works, but every now and then you need to replace it. In some specialty cooking stores you can buy a small round disk that you can put in the brown sugar to keep it soft. I have one and it works fine. The disk is usually a terra cotta colour...not sure why it works..but it does.

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    Re: Brown Sugar

    Usually you soak the disk in water. That way it gradually gives up the moisture to the sugar.
    [b]Catharine Richardson (WebGenii)
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    Re: Brown Sugar

    > 1) Is there a way to soften that brown sugar "brick" that you pull out of the cupboard?

    Yes. I've read the replies to date, but no-one appears to have suggested placing a peeled apple in there overnight.

    In the morning, the brown sugar is soft, and the apple is sweet!

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    Re: Brown Sugar

    Bread, Apples, etc. will all work in the short run, but can have a downside. Protein+Carbohydrate+Time=Biomass, or if you prefer, Biomess. For a long term solution, go to a good Tobacco/Cigar Shop. They have various devices designed to keep humidors humid. My favorite is a small plastic vial that holds an ounce or so of water and has a felt wick on one end with a cap that controls exposure of the wick. Cheap, and Works well for a good long while. A really classy solution is to get a humidor, either new or at a garage sale, and keep the Brown Sugar in that. Beats putting it in a landfill.

    Better yet, Don't buy Brown Sugar. Make it fresh as you need it, the same way the sugar factory does. One of the by-products of sugar manufacture is "Pure Cane Syrup". Molasses is another, but we don't want that for this purpose. Pure Cane Syrup is probably not readily available outside areas that cultivate sugar cane and have a local syrup mill or sugar refiner, but it is worth looking for. My favorite is Steen's out of South Louisiana, USA. They have a website, and will ship, I think. When sugar is "bleached" to make it white and also free flowing in normal humidity, what they do is remove that which is later sold a pure cane syrup. It is this syrup that is the hygroscopic (attracts water from the air) element that solidifies the sugar cake. Until they figured out how to remove it, all sugar was brown, and sold in a solid, usually conical cakes. One scraped off what was needed - with a chisel. When the factory wants to make up a batch of brown sugar for sale they just go get a few tons of refined white sugar and a drum or two of Pure cane syrup which they recombine in a large mixer. You can do the same, though if it is going in a recipe that will get mixed there is not much point in mixing it up beforehand. Gives you the option of deciding how dark you want your brown sugar to be as well. Now you don't have to worry about keeping several kinds of brown sugar, nor of it getting caked.

    I like pure cane syrup for other uses as well. It is a perfect additive for baked beans or barbecue beans or making sweet barbecue sauce. It is also great on pancakes, biscuits, waffels, etc. I admit, that for the latter uses, it has a strong flavor that not everyone will like, unless you grew up with it. It is "an acquired taste" as they say. Watch out for forms of the product that adulterate the pure cane syrup with corn syrup, etc. What you want is the pure stuff. Hope you enjoy it.

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    Re: Brown Sugar

    Mmmm <img src=/S/yum.gif border=0 alt=yum width=15 height=15> Golden Syrup.
    I second the notion that cane and corn syrup have completely different tastes. While we lived in Ontario (Eastern Canada) we couldn't get the cane syrup we were used to - and corn syrup is a lousy substitute.

    must get a snack now <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>.
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    Re: Brown Sugar

    I was raised with cane syrup <img src=/S/yum.gif border=0 alt=yum width=15 height=15> and like you say it is an acquired taste. My husband likens it used motor oil and will not touch the stuff. <img src=/S/hushmouth.gif border=0 alt=hushmouth width=16 height=16> That OK, it leaves more for me. <img src=/S/evilgrin.gif border=0 alt=evilgrin width=15 height=15>

    My Dad, born and raised in Louisiana, would make a Christmas treat with cane syrup and pecans. Basically, he would cook <img src=/S/cauldron.gif border=0 alt=cauldron width=20 height=20> the syrup until it reached somewhere between the soft ball and firm ball stage. I remember helping him stir and drop the syrup in a glass of water so he <img src=/S/chef.gif border=0 alt=chef width=19 height=22> could test it. When it was finally <img src=/S/snail.gif border=0 alt=snail width=21 height=17> just right he would mix in a lot of chopped pecans.

    If you had fillings, braces, or dentures <img src=/S/blackteeth.gif border=0 alt=blackteeth width=20 height=20> you could not eat the stuff because it was so chewy and sticky but is was wonderful. <img src=/S/yum.gif border=0 alt=yum width=15 height=15> <img src=/S/yep.gif border=0 alt=yep width=15 height=15> <img src=/S/yum.gif border=0 alt=yum width=15 height=15>

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    Re: Brown Sugar

    We have in mind two entirely different products. The pure ribbon cane syrup I'm thinking of is more like "molasses light". The Steen' s <http://www.steensyrup.com/> that I love is "as black as the oil dripping off the hinges of Hades" as one friend of mine put it. It has a flavor all its own that only hints that with a bit more cooking it might become molasses. It has a quite a bit of Iron in it, which accounts for both a lot of the color and some of the flavor. Golden Syrup is made from much more highly refined sugar. It's like the difference between Vodka and uncut Single Malt Scotch. Both are basiclly alcohol, but part company quickly thereafter. As it happens, I like them both, and Maple Syrup as well, each in its own use and place.

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