Turbinado sugar is not a common household ingredient, yet some cooks might encounter it in a recipe. It is a large-grain sugar that is naturally light brown in colour. Sometimes called raw sugar, it can be found in most supermarkets and can add a pleasing texture to baked goods.
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Turbinado grains are approximately the same size as kosher salt grains. It is marketed as Sugar in the Raw or as demerara sugar. Some believe turbinado is healthier than white sugar because it is not bleached.
It is not as heavily processed as granulated white sugar and retains a very subtle molasses-like flavour. Heavier than granulated sugar, turbinado has fewer calories and more moisture than its white cousin. Like brown sugar, turbinado can clump if exposed to humidity or moisture.
Turbinado is a byproduct of the sugar refinement process. Sugar cane is crushed into juice and left to evaporate, leaving behind large crystals of turbinado sugar. It can be further refined and processed to create granulated white sugar. More of the sugar cane flavour is present in turbinado than the more refined sugar.
Uses and Substitutions
Enjoy turbinado in place of granulated sugar in hot coffee or tea. Don't use it in iced beverages because the crystals will not melt readily. It can substitute for brown sugar in any cookie recipe and can substitute for white sugar in cases where the moisture content does not affect a recipe, such as muffins, sauces and most cake batters.
Turbinado sugar melts well when heated and can replace white sugar in caramels or creme brulees. Rolling gingersnap or sugar cookies in turbinado before baking gives the cookie edges a pleasing crunch.
Turbinado sugar should not substitute for confectioner's sugar, also known as icing sugar.
Try breaking up clumps with your hands. Pebble-sized clumps can be used to sweeten beverages, or anything where the weight or quantity of sugar doesn't need to be precise.
Another method for breaking up clumps is to microwave the sugar in five-second increments. Take care not to overheat or it will be begin to melt. The manufacturers of Sugar in the Raw suggest spreading the sugar on a baking tray and baking it in a 150-degree oven for 15 to 30 minutes; again, taking care not to overheat.
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