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Thread: How to un-harden brown sugar

  1. #1
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    Question How to un-harden brown sugar

    That's about it - how do I turn my brick of sugar into something useable? I keep it in a ziplock, but clearly that didn't help.
    Any suggestions appreciated.

  2. #2
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    You can put it in the microwave for a SHORT amount of time. Watch it to make sure it doesn't melt!
    Elizabeth
    Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning Satan shudders and says...."Oh s***, she's awake!! "

  3. #3
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    Thanks ebobbit - but the whole box, or just the chunk of sugar? 10 seconds maybe?
    Any tricks for keeping it soft?

  4. #4
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    Hi Leanne,

    This doesn't help your current situation, but for the future: I keep one half of a saltine cracker in with my brown sugar- haven't had a "brick" since!
    If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a hoper, a prayer, a magic-bean-buyer. If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire, for we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in! Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends.

  5. #5
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    Keep it in a very air tight bag, away from moisture. Of course, that's a perfect world scenario, so .... you can buy one of those "brown sugar bears" that you stick in the sugar to keep it soft. I've also heard a slice of apple or bread works well. (I've never used either of those tricks.)
    --Mary Kate--

    "In all our woods there is not a tree so hard to kill as the buckeye. The deepest girdling does not deaden it, and even after it is cut down and worked up into the side of a cabin it will send out young branches, denoting to all the world that Buckeyes are not easily conquered, and could with difficulty be destroyed." - Daniel Drake, 1833

  6. #6
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    Leanne, since you need to watch it you probably don't want to put the box into the microwave (would the paper catch on fire?) because you couldn't see the sugar. I usually pull the chunk out of the box and put it in a bowl so I can see it. The bigger the chunk the longer it will take. Ten seconds is probably a good time to start with. AFter the micro goes off, press the sugar with your fingertips to see how soft it's become. You might have to do this a couple of times.
    Elizabeth
    Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning Satan shudders and says...."Oh s***, she's awake!! "

  7. #7
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    I do use the bread trick myself to keep the brown sugar soft. I replace the slice about once a week (once its hard). My DBF's family does the apple thing, but I will stick to the bread - it works and it uses up the squished or stale slices.
    "Just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them
    to, doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have."

  8. #8
    Another vote for an apple slice.........it works like a charm, just amazing.
    "When you are in love with someone you want to be near him all the time, except when you are out buying things and charging them to him." Miss Piggy

  9. #9
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    I also read on the Food Network site about the apple slice. Do you just store the apple slice in the bag of brown sugar?

  10. #10
    I keep my brown sugar in anything with a tight fitting lid (I put the whole bag inside a cannister or whatever) and toss a small apple slice in with it. I have softened even rock hard brown sugar by doing that. After awhile the apple slice with curl up and lose it's magic power but you just replace it. If your sugar is real hard it might take a day or two to completely soften but it WILL work.
    "When you are in love with someone you want to be near him all the time, except when you are out buying things and charging them to him." Miss Piggy

  11. #11
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    Gosh - I worked for 10 minutes (shocker, I know) & look how many responses I have! I'll try the bread thing (since I don't have any apples on hand).
    I'm guessing the microwave thing is the best way to soften.
    This all came up b/c of the blueberry crisp recipe that got posted - it looked so good I have to make it - which reminded me of my brick.

  12. #12
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    To actually soften a hard piece I just throw it in the microwave for a few seconds. It doesn't take long. But for the future... I have done the bread thing and find that if you are like me and don't remember to replace the bread every week or so then you still end up with hard sugar. But since I have started storing mine in a "rolled up" zip lock bag I have not found my sugar to be hard one time. I just work all the sugar to the bottom of the bag and roll it into a log shaped hunk and roll all the air out of the bag and zip it shut and never have a problem anymore.
    ~~~Diane~~~
    I lift up my eyes to the hills-
    where does my help come from?
    My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
    Psalms 121:1,2

  13. #13
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    I open the box of brown sugar and dump it into a PLASTIC RUBBER MADE CONTAINER. I keep all my baking supplies that way! I use the #9 size for assorted flours, mark the lids. Do the same thing with various sugars! Keep everything on a pull out shelf under the counter where I have the ka mixer and and cusinart in a garage. I also keep plastic scoops in each of the containers. Works for me, no clumping in either the brown or raw sugars!
    Curleytop

  14. #14
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    I always get the brown sugar that comes in a Ziploc bag, and it never hardens. That way, I never have to transfer it to a different container. I thought most brown sugar in the stores came packages in Ziploc baggies now.

  15. #15
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    I keep mine in a tupperware container, but it can still harden. I used to use the bread thing, until I bought the "clay bear". It works the best. You should rewet it every three months, but I find I don't need to. It's about $3 at kitchen stores.

  16. #16
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    I'm going looking for the bear - I can remember every 3 months to rewet, but probably not a slice of bread every week. (Although unitl I get the bear - I'll try the bread.) I'm beginning to think that the box of brown sugar that I have actually came from DH's place- maybe it's just really old b/c I've never had this problem before.

  17. #17
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    I also keep my brown sugar in a tupperware container instead of the original ziploc bag. It's easier to measure from without spilling sugar all over. When the sugar gets hard, I throw a piece of bread in. I only use the bread when it gets hard though, and take it out when the sugar has softened back up (a few hours?).

    I don't use brown sugar very often and the container seems to keep it soft most of the time. I wouldn't remember to put a piece of bread in every week either, but if the sugar gets hard I always have bread around, and it doesn't take very long to soften.
    Susan

    So many books--So little time.

  18. #18
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    I also keep my brown sugar in a tupperware container instead of the original ziploc bag. It's easier to measure from without spilling sugar all over. When the sugar gets hard, I throw a piece of bread in. I only use the bread when it gets hard though, and take it out when the sugar has softened back up (a few hours?).

    I don't use brown sugar very often and the container seems to keep it soft most of the time. I wouldn't remember to put a piece of bread in every week either, but if the sugar gets hard I always have bread around, and it doesn't take very long to soften.
    Susan

    So many books--So little time.

  19. #19
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    Sushibones - that's good to know too. You all are so full of info!

  20. #20
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    Originally posted by Leanne
    I'm going looking for the bear - I can remember every 3 months to rewet, but probably not a slice of bread every week. (Although unitl I get the bear - I'll try the bread.) I'm beginning to think that the box of brown sugar that I have actually came from DH's place- maybe it's just really old b/c I've never had this problem before.
    I ordered mine from King Arthur a couple of years ago because I couldn't find them anywhere! Now, they are everywhere - all kinds of shapes too. Funny thing, I ordered a couple extra to give to my sister in Canada - she had never seen them before. Well, they are MADE IN CANADA!!!! Go figure!

    Here's mine:


    You know how your brown sugar gets hard, and you add a slice of apple to soften it up, and then the apple gets all brown... Not a pretty sight. And how about those soft, chewy oatmeal cookies that get hard overnight? Soak our Brown Sugar/Cookie Softener -- a cute 2 1/2-inch terra cotta bear -- in water, then put it in your brown sugar container or cookie jar; sugar (or cookies) will stay nice and soft.

  21. #21
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    Cookies???!!! The bear works for cookies????? I must have one - DH loves soft cookies and hates when they turn hard. You all say they're available at most cooking stores? They're cute, too!

    Loren
    The term "working mother" is redundant.

  22. #22
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    This was the Q&A on foodtv.com today.

    Q: What exactly is brown sugar?

    A: Today's brown sugar is nothing more than white sugar combined with molasses, which gives it a soft texture. The two most commonly sold styles of brown sugar are light and dark.

    In general, the lighter brown sugar has a more delicate flavor and the very dark or "old-fashioned" brown sugar has a more intense molasses flavor. Brown sugar is usually sold in 1-pound boxes or plastic bags - the latter help the sugar retain moisture and keep it soft. Hardened brown sugar can be resoftened by placing it with an apple wedge in a plastic bag and sealing tightly for one to two days.

    Additionally, if you're measuring out brown sugar for a recipe and won't be using it immediately, put it in a bowl or airtight bag with a piece of plain white bread, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. This will keep the brown sugar from getting hard.
    "I never feel lonely in the kitchen. Food is very friendly." - Julia Child

  23. #23
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    I keep my brown sugar in a glass jar with a tight lid. Before that i had a lot of problems but you can put a sheet of wax paper in the box and add the slice of apple. It always worked for me. Also sometime I use the Brownulated box which pours like regular sugar. However I haven't baked with this, but put in on oatmeal or on toast.

    Sami

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