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  1. #1

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    Question How do I soften brown sugar?

    I will be baking sweet potatoes for Easter Sunday. My fairly new box of brown sugar is hard. How can I soften it so that I can use it? Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jkl View Post
    I will be baking sweet potatoes for Easter Sunday. My fairly new box of brown sugar is hard. How can I soften it so that I can use it? Thanks.
    Put it in a ziploc bag and microwave on the defrost cycle for about 3 minutes.
    "Youth and vigor is no match for age and deceit." -- Prancer

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    Check it frequently when microwaving though, to make sure it doesn't burn. I've burnt it almost any time I've microwaved it, and I've never found that microwaving it does the trick that well, but it might be my Very Old microwave.

    Here's an article with some other tips.

    If worse comes to worse, all brown sugar is is 1 tablespoon of molasses forked through 1 cup of sugar. You could just do that. Just pour the molasses on, and keep forking through and mixing around until all the sugar is brown. It's easy and way more flavorful than the store-bought stuff. I never buy brown sugar anymore.

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    I microwave mine in successive 15 second increments until it's soft.
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    I've sucessfully softened brown sugar by putting it and a piece of sandwich bread down in a ziploc bag overnight

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    When desperate, I break off a chunk and put it in the food processor.
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    Damp paper towel in the container with the sugar overnight.

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    Another thing you could do is chop off as much as you need. Then let the brown sugar soak in the liquids for the sweet potato dish, until it dissolves. If you can't exactly measure (since it's hard as a rock), recipes for this type of dish are approximate, if you have a little bit more or less sugar, it won't hurt anything. It's not like baking where measurement is crucial.

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    Put an apple slice in the bag.

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    I've always kept my brown sugar (in a ziplock) in the fruit drawer of my refrigerator. It's never gotten hard on me.

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    Amazing ideas. I think every post is a good one.

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    My mom always used bread. I have a ceramic disc that you soak in water and put in the container. Both work well.

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    I second Liljen's suggestion. A cut up apple in a bag with the sugar overnight always does the trick for me. The idea behind softening up the sugar is to introduce moisture in some way, but without soaking the sugar and making it a gloppy mess.

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    I keep mine in a tight Tupperware container with a slice of bread, usually the heel. When I finish a loaf of bread, I replace the heel in the brown sugar. It never gets hard.

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    I always was changing pieces of bread too, but found the ziploc bac did the trick without the bread if I remember to squeeze out most of the air.

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    Quote Originally Posted by michiruwater View Post
    If worse comes to worse, all brown sugar is is 1 tablespoon of molasses forked through 1 cup of sugar. You could just do that. Just pour the molasses on, and keep forking through and mixing around until all the sugar is brown. It's easy and way more flavorful than the store-bought stuff. I never buy brown sugar anymore.
    I had no idea! I'm going to try this.

    I just bust it up by hand if the brown sugar sets, but love the many suggestions!
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    I have a little clay teddy bear I soak in water overnight every 3-6 months and then put back in the sugar. Works great.

  18. #18
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    If I needed it right away I just pounded it with the flat side of my meat tenderizer. Hammer works, too.

    I don't have the problem any more since I now buy it in the smaller, vacuum packed containers or the granulated version.
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    Quote Originally Posted by milanessa View Post
    If I needed it right away I just pounded it with the flat side of my meat tenderizer. Hammer works, too.
    I've used that method too. I have never found an airtight container or bag that keeps it soft for very long.

    For those who use bread, doesn't the bread get moldy?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cachoo View Post
    Damp paper towel in the container with the sugar overnight.

    This one. Trust me.

    I've tried all the other methods. Microwaving it either burns it or turns it to mush. I finally resorted to the paper towel trick, not really expecting any results. I've trickled water directly into the sugar, still no results.

    I got a harder than brick box of brown sugar from the grocery store (it was a grocery delivery, if I had been there to pick it out myself, I would have never bought it). It was so hard, I couldn't even get it out of the box. I had to peel/tear the box away from it to get it out.


    So, I put it in a tupperware container, wet down a paper towel, put the lid on, and set the whole thing in the microwave for safe keeping (to keep it away from the dog, LOL). Left it there overnight, and I was flabbergasted at how soft, supple and easy to spoon/measure the sugar was the next morning.


    ETA: This was months ago, with the "new" box of brown sugar. I put the unused sugar in a plastic container (with a lid of course) and put it in the fridge. I just checked it and it's still soft enough to spoon/measure. Maybe not as soft as day 1, but still soft enough to use.
    Last edited by Flatfoote; 04-06-2012 at 10:40 PM.

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