My brown sugar was a solid brick of sweetness, making it difficult for me to measure out two tablespoons. Not what I planned on, especially when trying to prepare a quick meal while my two beautiful children trashed the living room. Thankfully, my mom taught me a couple of tricks for softening brown sugar that are simple and low cost.
If you need brown sugar right away:
Put your brown sugar in a microwave-safe container. I recommend grabbing a few chunks that are about equivalent to the amount you will be using in your recipe. The more sugar you use, the longer this remedy takes. Then, fill up a coffee mug with water. Place side-by-side in your microwave, and cook on high for 60 seconds. Carefully check your brown sugar. It’s probably still hard, I know. Keep microwaving this combo in 30 second increments, carefully checking your brown sugar each time (don’t burn yourself!). Continue microwaving in 30 second increments until the sugar is soft enough to use. When I did this last night, it took about six or seven trips around the microwave until I could crumble the brown sugar in my hand.
If you have a few hours:
Put your brown sugar in an air-tight container. I used a Ziplock bag. Add in a slice of bread (I used one slice of wheat, torn in half). Seal your container up tight and leave overnight. I carefully sealed my Ziplock bag and then added a chip clip just to make sure it was closed nice and tight. A food storage container (think Tupperware) would also work well, but of course I didn’t have any clean at the time. In less than 12 hours, my brown sugar looked like it was fresh out of the bag. I’ve heard that apple slices will have the same effect, but I’ve never tested that remedy.
Hopefully this will save you some time and hassle if you get stuck with a brown sugar brick. If you have your own remedies for softening brown sugar, I’d love to hear them!
Image by Moe Rubenzahl (Moe Rubenzahl) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons