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How To Soften Brown Sugar

October 23rd, 2008 · 9 Comments

This past weekend I made Apple Crisp.  Most times when I am preparing a recipe that calls for brown sugar, I pull it out and find that my brown sugar is as hard as a rock!  I seal it in plastic zipper bags and refrigerate it, but still,  it always seems to harden up right after it’s first use.  Here is the method I use to soften it so that it is usable.

First, if it is hardened into one solid mass, I put it in a plastic bag and start hammering it!

Once it is broken into manageable sized chunks, I take a guess at how much looks to be the right amount for the recipe.

I place that amount into a microwave safe ceramic container.

Cover the container with a very damp paper towel and on top of the towel place a piece of plastic wrap.

Put this into the microwave along with one cup of water in a separate microwave safe cup.

Microwave and check it at one minute intervals for softness by trying to break it up with a fork.  This was about 3/4 cup brown sugar and it took three minutes to soften.  (Note: I have an old 500 watt microwave, so if your microwave has a higher wattage, it won’t take as long for you. Check it more frequently!)

Remove from microwave very carefully!  It is hot! (Maybe three minutes was a little too much!)

Here it is softened and ready to use in my Apple Crisp recipe!

Do you have any kitchen tips you can pass along?  Maybe you can tell me how to keep my brown sugar from hardening in the first place!

I’m adding this to Tasty Tuesday over at Forever Wherever.  Go on over and check out the links to some great stuff!

Tags: Cooking

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Kath // Oct 24, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    If you have time to wait for the brown sugar to soften (a couple of days), cut an apple in half, core it and put the apple in the container with the brown sugar. The apple will dehydrate and the sugar will rehydrate. Take the apple out when the sugar has softened. This works, I’ve tried it.
    (compliments of my 90 year old mother who knows all this stuff and also claims a slice of white bread will do the same trick!)

  • 2 Gayle // Oct 24, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    Hi Kath!

    Thank you for the tip! This will be very helpful during the times of year when I’m doing a lot of holiday baking over several days. Please pass the thanks on to your mom!

  • 3 jan // Nov 8, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    You were a life saver!!!! In the middle of making a special apple streudle desert and had already gone to the store TWICE. You saved the day. Desert is now baking!!!!!

  • 4 Gayle // Nov 8, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    Hi jan!

    I’m so glad the softening technique helped you out!

  • 5 Jerri // Mar 3, 2009 at 4:18 am

    Great tip. Thanks for sharing!

    Jerri’s last blog post..Recipe of the Week: Chicken Cordon Bleu

  • 6 Kim@ForeverWherever // Mar 3, 2009 at 7:37 am

    That is such a great tip! I always end up buying more because of all the chunky pieces. I never thought about this. Thanks for sharing your food tip with us on Tasty Tuesday!

  • 7 Suzanne // Mar 6, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    I keep my brown sugar in a plastic shoe box. It fits two 2-lb bags quite nicely. I found that if I fold up a paper towel into a small square and get it quite damp and put it in the box (opposite end as the opening in the bag) it will soften hard brown sugar and will keep it soft too.

  • 8 Pencil Writer // Dec 10, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Thank you for your wonderful plan. I just discovered a 7 lb ziplock bag of brown sugar in dire straits, open–and dry as a rock, as you said. And I don’t plan to throw it away, so I will definitely try your plan to “soften” it up.

    Thanks, again!

  • 9 Jessica // May 12, 2012 at 12:49 am

    If you need to use the brown sugar later that day or the next day instead of immediatly, you can use bread slices to soften it. Simply place the hardened sugar in a dish of some sort and place a piece of bread on top of it. The sugar will absorb the moisture from the bread and will soften right up, the more bread the faster it softens. Covering the dish with plastic wrap helps sugar absorb moisture even quicker.

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