Where There's a Whisk... | Types of Sugar
This week’s “Where There’s a Whisk…” is about the number one, most important ingredient in baking: sugar.
Sugar, synonymous for sweetness, is obviously used to add that saccharine taste we all love to baked goods, savory dishes, and drinks. But it has so many other uses, too! It can add flavor, texture, and decoration. It makes dough tender, stabilizes your egg whites, and helps baked goods achieve a nice golden-brown color. Basically, it's the Beyoncé of baking—and all hail the queen.
This is the most popular type of sugar used in baking (and probably in cooking in general). If your recipe just says "sugar," this is what it means. Highly-refined, multi-purpose, sometimes called table, or white sugar. Not often used for decorating, just to satisfy a sweet-tooth.
Light brown sugar is basic granulated sugar with a little bit of molasses added in, giving it a delicate caramel flavor. Dark brown sugar is also basic granulated sugar with molasses added in--but like, a lot more. And like Tupac said, "Darker the berry, the stronger, more intense flavor of your sugar."* Light and dark brown sugar can be used interchangeably, depending on your taste-buds!
Confectioner's Sugar/Powdered Sugar
You know when you get an elephant ear/funnel cake from the fair? This is the sugar sprinkled on top of it. This is white sugar that has been ground into a fine powder, and to prevent clumping, a small amount of cornstarch is typically blended in. It's ideal for making icing and frosting, as well as decorating baked goods. Now I want funnel cake.
Caster sugar is superfine granulated white sugar. It dissolves much quicker than standard granulated white sugar, and it used often for making meringues, syrups, and cocktails. In a pinch and with a decent sifter, you can make this with the regular sugar you have on hand.
Sanding sugar has large crystals, which resist heat better than in other sugars. It comes in hella colors, making it perfect for decorating. And because the crystals are so big, it adds texture and crunch to your noms.
There's so many types of sugars out there, but those are the ones I find myself using the most often. What about you?
*TuPac didn't really say that.