Bear is helping me write this morning, which mostly entails her attacking my zero waste journal, taking swipes at the keyboard and being generally adorable. We all have our gifts.
Speaking of gifts (see what I did there?), it’s the holiday season! And that means baking tons of tasty treats for friends and family because obviously no one should be expected to get through December without riding a constant sugar high. (Trust me, it helps.)
Two key ingredients in all that baking: brown sugar and powdered sugar. And this girl can’t get either in bulk. I started researching homemade options.
It was easy to find “recipes” for each of these things, and neither looked very hard. Eh, what could happen?
(SOURCE: Huffingtonpost.com, “Yes, You Can Make Brown Sugar”)
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
Mix together by hand or with an electric mixer until incorporated. Can be used right away or stored for later.
PLOT TWIST: So I decided to just see what other brown sugar recipes were out there, and found THIS ONE from Allrecipes.com that was all, use 1 tablespoon molasses in the ingredient list, but use two tablespoons of molasses for every cup of sugar in the directions. I was all, huh, I wonder if that makes dark brown sugar? So I tried that too.
TRISHA TRIES IT: I think this story is best suited for pictures.
Well, that was fun. And it tasted pretty good. What would happen with 2 tablespoons of molasses to a cup of sugar?
I did a taste test (with coffee as my pallet cleanser, totally recommend that) and decided the light was too light and the dark was too dark. So I mixed the two. And decided … that it’s still kind of potent, but better (also: I’m used to packaged. This is not packaged). So my advice is to use 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of molasses to each cup of cane sugar. Start small and then taste test. The thing that really got me excited, though, was that it looks just like packaged brown sugar!
That was not the conclusion I came to with the powdered sugar experiment.
(SOURCE: Cookie + Kate, “How to Make Powdered Sugar”)
Use: cane sugar, turbinado sugar, or coconut sugar for best results, but you can even use brown sugar or sucanat sugar (according to rumor).
Measure approximately half as much sugar as you need powdered sugar. Place in blender or food processor and blend until fine and fluffy. The more refined the sugar, the fluffier the powdered sugar (apparently).
Can be used right away or stored for later. You may need to sift the finished powdered sugar to remove clumps and to further fluff that stuff up.
TRISHA TRIES IT: I have both cane and turbinado sugars, so I decided we were going to test out both. I tried the turbinado first.
I tried sifting it to see if that made it more powdery, but I couldn’t see a difference. So I shrugged my shoulders and tried the cane sugar.
I sifted this too, and again, it didn’t seem to make much difference. And neither seemed very powdery, even with extensive running time.
What would happen if I did this in the blender?
So THEN, just for kicks and because we’d come this far, I decided to try the rest of my turbinado in the blender. It was much, much faster to do it this way — only took a couple of minutes — and I was surprised that I could see the sugar “rising” up the sides of the thing as it “got powdered sugar-ed.”
My advice: Whatever you use, toss that junk in the blender. It’s faster and makes a better product. Incidentally, I can kind of see why they add cornstarch to packaged powdered sugar now — I’ll just bet THAT is what makes it nice and fluffy.
Regardless of my powdered sugar not being an exact replica, I called the whole ordeal a success. And now I have two totally zero waste sugars in my cupboard!
Ah, but how did they hold up in actual baking action? That, my Simple Year friends, is a question for Wednesday.