Wednesday, October 28, 2009

: : 1 cup [[ sugar ]] : :

[[ Sunshine , lollipops , and rainbows ... ]]

Okay, so as the above lyrics point out - sugar must be a good thing, right?

: : CORRECT : :

Sure, it may do the occasional rotting of teeth, but when it comes to baking...all such teeth, crazy children, the downfall of energy after its peak and diabetes are forgotten.

Many people believe that they are doing the right thing by using less sugar in their baking; though, from personal experience - when you're craving a muffin, a sugarless scone just won't cut it.

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Hm...I am currently contemplating whether or not to use the paragraphs I have prepared earlier to explain why sugar is mandatory...although I don't want to bore you all with my scientific explanations. After all; unless you are Ms Waite, you are choosing to read this blog and I'd rather keep it so that you don't choose not to read it.

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Okay then. Sugar, apart from adding sweetness (yes, I know, state the obvious!), also provides texture and controls various aspects that people (...well, me at least) overlook when wondering how their overflowed sticky mess doesn't look anything like the beautiful fluffy, "Picture Perfect" muffin in the cookbook (although, keep in mind that your particular cookbook may be written by Donna Hay).

Have no idea what I'm talking about? See below : :

[[ Remember: Practice Makes Perfect ]] : : AKA, "It's harder than you think" : :

There are numerous things that can go wrong when using sugar and you have about a 1/100 chance of getting it right when you are not all that experienced with baking. Pretty sad, eh?

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Okay, so here are some questions that may help you determine whether or not you are using enough sugar, or perhaps just too much!

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Note: You must have already baked your muffin/cake and you must have it ready for analysis

Is your cake/muffin dry?

Has your muffin/cake formed a hard crust?

Is the crust light in colour?

Does your muffin/cake feel heavy and compact?

Is the texture of your cake/muffin tough?

[[ If you answered yes to any of these questions - your cake/muffin is lacking sugar ]]

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Does your cake/muffin have a cracked crust?

Does your cake/muffin have a sticky coating?

Did your cake/muffin "fall" or collapse in the centre?

Did your cake/muffin fall or break apart when you removed (well, attempted to) from the tin/patty pan?

Does your cake/muffin have a sticky layer at the bottom?

[[ If you answered yes to any of these questions - your cake has too much of the sweet stuff ]]

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: : Substituting Sugar : :

As you can see above - there are many things that can go wrong when baking with sugar. This makes substituting sugar...potentially problematic.

You make be thinking, "meh, just use anything that is sweet"; however that is not the case. You may have realised that many cake/muffin recipes begin with something along the lines of:

: : Cream together the sugar and butter : :

Believe it or not, it is this step that determines the texture of your cake/muffins.


--- The sharp ganules of sugar cut through the butter and create air pockets which later become the little holes that make cakes and muffins nice and fluffy ---

Note: This is why, when you replace caster sugar for white or brown sugar, the texture is so different.

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So to be honest, there really isn't a substance that substitutes sugar other than...well sugar.

To achieve the best results, I recommend using 3/4 cup of brown sugar to replace 1 cup of white sugar or vice-versa.

However, not all of us own both brown and white sugar; so here's a list of other ingredient you can use to substitute1 cup of white sugar:

1 cup honey (decrease liquid in recipe by ¼ cup and mix honey with this liquid first to avoid the mixture becoming soggy) [[ in baking ]] add ½ baking soda and lower cooking temp. 5* approx

2 cups corn syrup

¾ cup maple syrup

¾ golden syrup

¾ 100s and 1000s

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