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How do I soften brown sugar?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by jkl, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. jkl

    jkl Well-Known Member

    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.
  2. PRlady

    PRlady foot in both camps

    Put it in a ziploc bag and microwave on the defrost cycle for about 3 minutes.
  3. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

    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.
  4. BittyBug

    BittyBug And the band played on

    I microwave mine in successive 15 second increments until it's soft.
  5. aka_gerbil

    aka_gerbil Rooting for the Underdogs

    I've sucessfully softened brown sugar by putting it and a piece of sandwich bread down in a ziploc bag overnight
  6. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Hit ball, find ball, hit it again.

    When desperate, I break off a chunk and put it in the food processor.
  7. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

    Damp paper towel in the container with the sugar overnight.
    Sassafras and (deleted member) like this.
  8. cruisin

    cruisin Banned Member

    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.
  9. LilJen

    LilJen Reaching out with my hand sensitively

    Put an apple slice in the bag.
  10. AliasJohnDoe

    AliasJohnDoe Headcase Addict

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

    A.H.Black Well-Known Member

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

    Bailey_ Guest

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

    emason Well-Known Member

    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.
  14. taf2002

    taf2002 zexy demon

    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.
  15. Skate Talker

    Skate Talker Replaced the display under my name

    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.
  16. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member

    I had no idea! :eek: :shuffle: I'm going to try this.

    I just bust it up by hand if the brown sugar sets, but love the many suggestions!
  17. KikiSashaFan

    KikiSashaFan Well-Known Member

    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. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

    If I needed it right away I just pounded it with the flat side of my meat tenderizer. :lol: 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.
  19. cruisin

    cruisin Banned Member

    :lol: 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?
  20. Flatfoote

    Flatfoote Active Member


    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: Apr 6, 2012
  21. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

    If you want dark brown sugar instead of light, I've read that it should be bumped up to 2 TBS per 1 cup of sugar, but I prefer light brown so I always do that :) The best part is that you can vary it to your personal tastes and get the best brown sugar for you!
  22. RoseAugust

    RoseAugust Active Member

    I always throw it out and buy fresh stuff. But that is rare because if you buy the brown sugar in a plastic bag it stays soft.
  23. Sassafras

    Sassafras Well-Known Member

    I've used this method for years.
  24. jkl

    jkl Well-Known Member

    WOW I am so grateful to my FSU friends for your help on this:D
  25. Flatfoote

    Flatfoote Active Member

    You'll have to come back and tell us which method you ended up using!
  26. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

    Wow, who knew? I also use the hammer :shuffle: If I wasn't vegetarian, I'd probably use a meat tenderiser too, but I don't have one!

    The hammer is therapeutic...:shuffle:
  27. taf2002

    taf2002 zexy demon

    No, never. As the sugar softens the bread gets hard. That's when it's time to change the bread. I prefer keeping it soft rather than softening it over & over.
  28. LilJen

    LilJen Reaching out with my hand sensitively

    I was gonna say. . . if you've had a bad day, just find some dried up brown sugar to pound. . .
  29. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    I would probably just dissolve it in a bit of water. :slinkaway
  30. jkl

    jkl Well-Known Member

    Thanks again for all the tips. I put the brown sugar in the microwave on "soften" and it worked just fine. Now why didn't I think of that:lol:
    That's why I have my fsu friends to take care of me.