Brown sugar is simply white sugar with molasses, but that molasses flavor gives extra depth to everything from luscious ice cream to summer fruit cobblers. I prefer to use it in desserts instead of all or part of the white sugar in recipes because I love its sweet and rich flavor, and also because I’ve found that it makes my cookies more moist.
Alas, the one downside to all that molasses is that no matter what I’ve tried, my brown sugar always eventually turns into a rock hard block of petrified sweetener in my pantry. Fortunately, my trick for softening brown sugar is simple. Using a knife, I cut away the box, place the sugar “brick” in aluminum foil, and then stick it in a 300-degree oven for 5 minutes.
Problem solved. The foil traps the moisture that the oven’s heat releases, softening the sugar once more. Then it’s go time to make my favorite brown sugar treats. Here are five simple and delicious recipes with brown sugar.
Brown Sugar Ice Cream with a Ginger-Caramel Swirl - “The simple combination of brown sugar, ginger, and caramel is all you need for an amazing explosion of flavor.”
Brown Sugar Berry Cobbler - "Mixing the brown sugar with regular granulated sugar makes it easier to sprinkle on top of the biscuit topping before the cobbler goes into the oven; when it comes out, the tender, featherlight biscuits will be crowned by golden crunch."
Brown Sugar Cookies - “Another great variation on the classic sugar cookie, this version is just a little deeper and richer than its inspiration.”
Almond Brown-Sugar Cookies - “The thinner you can slice the dough, the crisper the cookies will be, so we freeze the dough for a bit (after chilling it in the fridge) before slicing. Plus, it will be much easier to cut through the almonds and get nice, neat rounds.”
Brown-Sugar Pudding - “Brown sugar adds a distinctive and irresistible flavor to this silky pudding.”(recipe below)
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
- 1/4 cup chilled sour cream
Stir together half-and-half, brown sugar, and cornstarch in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan and heat over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and mixture is heated through (do not let boil).
Whisk together yolks and salt in a medium bowl until smooth, then add hot half-and-half mixture in a slow stream, whisking. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over moderate heat, whisking, until mixture just reaches a boil, then boil, whisking, 1 minute (mixture will thicken). Immediately pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl and stir in butter and vanilla until butter is incorporated. Set bowl in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and chill, stirring frequently, until pudding is cool, about 10 minutes.
Beat heavy cream with sour cream in a bowl with a whisk until mixture just holds stiff peaks.
Divide pudding among 6 small bowls, then top each serving with a generous dollop of cream.