BY Sheela Prakash, EPICURIOUS
How to keep your brown sugar soft and usable--and how to revive it when it's turned into a hard brick.
What's the fastest way to wipe all the fun out of baking? Opening your pantry to find brown sugar that's gone hard. But there are a few simple tricks to getting it soft again--and keeping it that way.
IF YOU NEED IT NOW
If you need soft brown sugar immediately, don't fret! Put the rock-hard sugar in a microwave-safe bowl, lay a moist paper towel on top, and microwave it for 20 seconds. If you find that the sugar still isn't soft after 20 seconds, feel free to give it another 20 seconds or so in the microwave, breaking up big pieces with a fork as you go.
IF YOU PLAN AHEAD
If you have the foresight to check your pantry a few days before you plan to bake and find that your brown sugar is hard, it's an easy, hands-off fix. Grab a slice of stale bread, a few apple slices, or a handful of marshmallows--all three help put moisture back into the sugar. Lay them on top of the hardened mass in a sealed plastic bag or airtight container and the sugar will be soft in a day or two.
HOW TO KEEP IT SOFT
The most efficient way to keep brown sugar soft is to keep it sealed in an airtight container. The trick is to limit the amount of air exposure as much as possible. Pack the sugar into the smallest container possible so that there is hardly any air space between the sugar and the lid. If you don't have an airtight container small enough, seal the sugar in an sealed plastic bag first (be sure to squeeze out all the air!) before storing it in the container.
Our restaurant editor, Matt Duckor, also tipped us off to the ingenious Brown Sugar Bear (pictured above, available on Amazon). Made of terra cotta, it keeps brown sugar soft for three to six months. Just soak it in warm water for 20 minutes then place it in the brown sugar in an airtight container.
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