Muscovado sugar is a type of unrefined sugar made from sugar cane juice.
Like other types of refined sugars, it comes from crushing the sugar cane to extract out the sucrose (sugar).
With this process, you’ll lose out on the fiber and minerals that would otherwise be in the original sugar cane.
The result is a concentrated sweetener with a high molasses content.
The original name for Muscovado was “brown muscovado” because of its characteristic color and strong flavor.
The name came about during the British Empire when the sugar was exported to India, where the local population had traditionally used brown sugar but found the European version too sweet.
What is Muscovado sugar?
Muscovado sugar is a type of unrefined sugar, also known as raw sugar or demerara sugar, made from sugar cane juice.
In most cases, this means that it will have been processed through four steps: washing, milling, boiling, and drying.
During the first step, the sugar cane juice is washed, which removes excess nutrients and impurities.
Then it’s sent through a milling machine, which breaks apart large pieces into smaller ones.
This creates a particle size similar to what you’d get if you were to crush up a piece of raw sugar candy.
After the sugar cane juice is milled, it’s boiled until it reaches the right temperature (221°F/105°C) to break down any remaining starch molecules.
Finally, it’s dried at low temperatures to ensure that there are no moisture left behind.
This process takes more time and energy than refining sugar from cane using a simple mill, however it produces a higher quality product.
While white sugar is processed using heat, Muscovado sugar uses steam instead.
This makes the sugar less likely to burn while still retaining all of its vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
How is Muscovado sugar made?
There are several ways to make Muscovado sugar, but the best and most common method involves steaming sugar cane pulp to create a liquid called molasses.
Once the sugar cane juice is brought to a boil, the liquid starts to separate into solids and a clear liquid.
The solids are discarded after they fall away from the liquid, leaving you with a syrup-like substance called molasses.
Molasses is a byproduct of sugar cane cultivation, so there’s no need to add anything else to it to bring out its full flavor.
Once the syrup is strained, it’s then heated with water and sugar until it reaches 221 degrees Fahrenheit (105 degrees Celsius), which helps the sugar dissolve and crystallize into sugar crystals.
That crystalized sugar is then dried, just like regular sugar crystals, at low temperatures.
What are the benefits of Muscovado sugar?
Muscovado sugar has many benefits over refined sugar.
It retains more nutrients than refined sugar, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which can help boost your immune system and reduce inflammation.
Because of the natural molasses flavor it contains, Muscovado sugar is great for baking.
It adds depth to recipes without making them overly sweet.
You can even use Muscovado sugar interchangeably with white sugar when baking, though it might take longer for the recipe to bake properly.
If you’re looking to add some extra flavor to your food, Muscovado sugar can do the trick.
Add a little bit to coffee or tea to give it an interesting twist.
It’s also perfect for adding sweetness to your homemade chocolate recipes.
Because of its dense texture, Muscovado sugar works well as a coating agent for nuts and fruit, giving them a unique crunchy texture.
What are the drawbacks of Muscovado sugar?
While Muscovado sugar has many benefits over refined sugar, it can have some drawbacks as well.
While it contains nutrients and antioxidants, it doesn’t contain the same amount of dietary fiber as refined sugar.
As such, people who are sensitive to wheat or gluten may want to avoid consuming it.
Another drawback is that Muscovado sugar isn’t always easy to find.
Most grocery stores sell refined sugar in their bakeries, but they don’t carry Muscovado sugar.
Instead, you’ll have to buy it online or visit specialty markets like Whole Foods.
What are some of the uses for Muscovado sugar?
Muscovado sugar is great for cooking.
Use it in place of white sugar when baking cakes, cookie dough, bread, and more.
If you’re making a dessert with a lot of buttercream frosting, try substituting Muscovado sugar for half of the sugar.
You should notice a difference in your cookies or cakes.
It will provide a deeper sweetness and a richer, nuttier flavor.
You can also use Muscovado sugar to coat nuts and fruits before baking.
Just mix a teaspoonful into a small amount of oil and brush it onto the surface of the item you’re coating.
This will prevent the coating from becoming soggy once baked, which will keep your fruit slices crisp.
Muscovado sugar is also great to sprinkle over ice cream, frozen yogurt, or sorbet.
A light dusting of powdered sugar will enhance the flavors of these desserts, creating a sweeter and more flavorful experience.
How does Muscovado sugar taste?
Muscovado sugar tastes almost exactly like white sugar.
However, it’s darker and slightly sweeter.
It has a deep, woodsy flavor that’s very similar to molasses.
This is thanks to its high molasses content, which makes it a good substitute for those who are allergic to the sweet, tangy flavor of pure molasses.
What are some of the health benefits of Muscovado sugar?
Muscovado sugar has many health benefits over refined sugar.
It provides more nutritional value than white sugar because it contains more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
These nutrients play an important role in our bodies, helping to fight against cancer, increase bone density, and improve heart health.
Muscovado sugar also contains a compound called phytates, which can bind to certain minerals in your body, preventing them from being absorbed.
Phytates are also responsible for causing indigestion in some people.
By avoiding refined sugar, you can avoid this problem and be sure that you’re getting the entire spectrum of nutrients that your body needs.
What are some of the possible side effects of Muscovado sugar?
Muscovado sugar has the potential to cause some minor digestion problems.
If you’re prone to gas, bloating, or reflux, you should stick to white sugar instead of Muscovado.
People with allergies to wheat, yeast, onions, milk, eggs, or dairy products should also stay away from Muscovado sugar, since it lacks the fiber that all of these ingredients contain.
Is Muscovado sugar safe for diabetics?
Muscovado sugar has been shown to be safe for diabetics, as long as you follow proper guidelines.
Make sure not to eat too much of it in one sitting, but instead spread it throughout the day so your blood sugar levels won’t spike too significantly.
Chewy Muscovado Sugar Cookies
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups muscovado sugar or dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg room temperature
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and beat well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat until everything is well incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again. Cover dough and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes until slightly firmer.
- Drop large teaspoonfuls of dough prepared cookie sheet, leaving about 2 inches of space between them. Bake until center is flat and edges are just beginning to darken, 8 to 10 minutes, or slightly longer if you prefer crispier cookies. Let cool then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days.