With the fall and winter holidays coming up, you may be reaching for your baking supplies for the first time in a while. If you haven't opened your jar of brown sugar in a while, it most likely looks like a rock-hard block. So what should you do? While hard brown sugar is safe to use in baking, it isn’t exactly the easiest thing to use. Luckily, you can soften the sugar in no time with these tricks - no fancy ingredients or kitchen supplies are needed.
In order to understand how to soften brown sugar, we must first figure out why it goes hard, to begin with. Brown sugar is made up of two ingredients: granulated sugar and molasses. As the natural moisture of the molasses evaporates, brown sugar hardens into a solid block. Improper storage speeds up the hardening process even more, which is why you should always store brown sugar in an airtight container in a dry place like the pantry.
In order to soften up your brick of brown sugar, you’ll need to rehydrate the sugar. Here are 3 tried and true methods that will accomplish that goal.
This may not be the fastest way to soften up brown sugar, but it’s certainly an effortless one. All you have to do is to put a slice of either a fresh apple or bread in a closed container with brown sugar. Wait for about a day, and the sugar will absorb just enough moisture to become soft again. Needless to say, discard the bread or apple slice once the sugar reaches your desired consistency.
The oven method is much faster, but it takes a bit more work. You can use high temperatures to rehydrate the sugar. Preheat the oven to 250°F (120°C). Spread the hardened sugar on a baking sheet or oven-safe container and let the sugar warm up in the oven. Check every 2-3 minutes by carefully piercing the sugar clumps with a fork. When it’s soft and crumbly again, carefully take it out of the oven and let it cool completely.
This last trick may be the fastest way to soften brown sugar yet! All you need is a microwave, a damp paper towel, and a microwave-safe container. This method combines heat and high moisture, so it’s extra effective too. Just place the clumpy sugar into the container, cover it with the paper towel, and heat it up for 20 seconds.
Then carefully remove the towel (it will be hot) and see if you can squish the sugar with a fork. If not, repeat for another 20 seconds until the sugar becomes completely soft. Don’t keep it in the microwave for too long, or else the sugar can melt. Once you’ve reached the desired consistency, let the sugar cool down and use it in your recipe.
Share these tips with those who enjoy baking!