NEW! Google Custom Search

Loading

Powdered sugar/granulated sugar

Jan_L's picture

*
What texture differences are there in cookies made with powdered sugar versus granulated sugar? I just came across a recipe for a simple butter cookie that said to use either one.

CLS's picture

(post #58105, reply #2 of 67)

*
That's a very strange recipe. They make very different cookies. First, a cookie made with powdered (10X) will not spread as much. It will also be more crumbly, rather than crisp. And it won't brown as much. There are other differences as well, but I'm not at home to look at my notes - try a half batch of each, see how you like them.

A good example: compare a Mexican Wedding Cake/Russian Tea Cookie to a standard sugar cookie.

superpup's picture

(post #58105, reply #3 of 67)

*
I agree--I didn't think they should really be used interchangeably at all. The cornstarch in the powdered sugar would soften the cookie, quite a bit, right? Also, their weights must be very different (I think?), so I would be suspicious of something that just said a 1/2 c. of powdered sugar OR a 1/2 c. of reg. sugar. Or at least that's my guess.

CLS's picture

(post #58105, reply #4 of 67)

*
SP is right about the weights/measurements issue, too. 1/2 c. 10X sugar is not the same as 1/2 gran. sugar in sweetening power. Like I said, weird recipe...

CLS's picture

(post #58105, reply #5 of 67)

*
Okay, I'm home, looking at my notes. Basically, there are 7 types of granulated sugar. We won't bother with the rest at this time. Powdered sugar is sugar that has been ground to a powder and had 3% cornstarch added to prevent clumping. 2X which is gritty and used for dusting donuts, 6X, regular confectioners sugar, and 10X which is used for icing.

Now, I won't go into the other types of granulated sugars in detail, but they are: Castor, table, decorative, commercial, powdered, brown, invert, and hygroscopic. All are the same chemically, but the each react differently in recipes depending on the size of their crystalline structure. The larger the crystal, the more the sugar will melt and spread when heated.

Generally what you get at the market is Table sugar. It is a fine grade of sugar, and used by the general population as "granulated". Powdered sugar, however, has been ground to a powder, then had cornstarch added. Do you see where I'm going with this? 1/2 c. of granulated sugar does not equal 1/2 c. powdered sugar. At all. And it will not react the same when used in a dish.

I wish I had some formula for substituting one for the other, but I don't. And you can't get around the fact that a cookie with 10X is going to be compact and not spread out and be crumbly when a cookie made with granulated will spread out and be crisp.

I think, like I said earlier, you should make a 1/2 batch of the cookie recipe using each sugar. Then see for yourself what you think. I do believe, however, that the person who wrote the recipe made a mistake. Also, if you do, please post a message and let us know the results and what you thought. I love food science, and so do a lot of other people on this discussion group. Your observations will be interesting. :)

MEAN_CHEF's picture

(post #58105, reply #6 of 67)

*
Sorry to disagree, but I think that your notes are combining two different thing.

All sugar is hygroscopic.

Granulated sugar is not invert

I think that what you listed are not types of granulated sugars.

You may want to substitute the following

Granulated

There are many different types of granulated sugar. Most of these are used only by food processors and professional bakers and are not available in the supermarket. The types of granulated sugars differ in crystal size. Each crystal size provides unique functional characteristics that make the sugar appropriate for the food processor's special need.

"Regular" Sugar, Extra Fine or Fine Sugar:

"Regular" sugar, as it is known to consumers, is the sugar found in every home's sugar bowl and most commonly used in home food preparation. It is the white sugar called for in most cookbook recipes. The food processing industry describes "regular" sugar as extra fine or fine sugar. It is the sugar most used by food processors because of its fine crystals that are ideal for bulk handling and are not susceptible to caking.

Fruit Sugar:

Fruit sugar is slightly finer than "regular" sugar and is used in dry mixes such as gelatin desserts, pudding mixes and drink mixes. Fruit sugar has a more uniform crystal size than "regular" sugar. The uniformity of crystal size prevents separation or settling of smaller crystals to the bottom of the box, an important quality in dry mixes and drink mixes.

Bakers Special:

Bakers Specials' crystal size is even finer than that of fruit sugar. As its name suggests, it was developed specially for the baking industry. Bakers Special is used for sugaring doughnuts and cookies as well as in some commercial cakes to produce fine crumb texture.

Superfine, Ultrafine, or Bar Sugar:

This sugar's crystal size is the finest of all the types of granulated sugar. It is ideal for extra fine textured cakes and meringues, as well as for sweetening fruits and iced-drinks since it dissolves easily. In England, a sugar very similar to superfine sugar is known as caster or castor, named after the type of shaker in which it is often packaged.

Confectioners (or Powdered) Sugar:

This sugar is granulated sugar ground to a smooth powder and then sifted. It contains about 3% cornstarch to prevent caking. Confectioners sugar is available in three grades ground to different degrees of fineness. The confectioners sugar available in supermarkets is the finest of the three and is used in icings, confections and whipping cream. The other two types of powdered sugar are used by industrial bakers.

Coarse Sugar:

The crystal size of coarse sugar is larger than that of "regular" sugar. Coarse sugar is normally processed from the purest sugar liquor. This processing method makes coarse sugar highly resistant to color change or Inversion (natural breakdown to fructose and glucose) at high temperatures. These characteristics are important in making fondants, confections and liquors.

Sanding Sugar:

Another large crystal sugar, sanding sugar, is used mainly in the baking and confectionery industries to sprinkle on top of baked goods. The large crystals reflect light and give the product a sparkling appearance.

Brown Sugars

Turbinado Sugar:

This sugar is a raw sugar which has been partially processed, removing some of the surface molasses. It is a blond color with a mild brown sugar flavor and is often used in tea.

Brown Sugar (light and dark):

Brown sugar consists of sugar crystals coated in a molasses syrup with natural flavor and color. Many sugar refiners produce borwn sugar by boiling a special molasses syrup until brown sugar crystals form. A centrifuge spins the crystals dry. Some of the syrup remains giving the sugar its brown color and molasses flavor. Other manufacturers produce brown sugar by blending a special molasses syrup with white sugar crystals. Dark brown sugar has more color and a stronger molasses flavor than light brown sugar. Lighter types are generally used in baking and making butterscotch, condiments and glazes. Dark brown sugar has a rich flavor that is good for gingerbread, mincemeat, baked beans, plum pudding and other full flavored foods.

Muscovado or Barbados Sugar:

Muscovado sugar, a British specialty brown sugar, is very dark brown and has a particularly strong molasses flavor. The crystals are slightly coarser and stickier in texture than "regular" brown sugar.

Free Flowing Brown Sugars:

These sugars are fine, powder-like brown sugars that are less moist than "regular" brown sugar. Since it is less moist it does not lump and is free-flowing like granulated white sugar.

Demerara Sugar:

Popular in England, Demerara sugar is a light brown sugar with large golden crystals which are slightly sticky. It is often used in tea, coffee or on top of hot cereals

Liquid Sugars:

Liquid sugars were developed before today's methods of sugar processing made transport and handling granulated sugars practical. There are several types of liquid sugar. Liquid sucrose (sugar) is essentially liquid granulated sugar and can be used in products wherever dissolved granulated sugar might be used. Amber liquid sucrose (sugar) is darker in color and can be used where the cane sugar flavor is desirable and the non-sugars' are not a problem in the product.

Invert Sugar:

Inversion or chemical breakdown of sucrose results in invert sugar, an equal mixture of glucose and fructose. Available commercially only in liquid form, invert sugar is sweeter than granulated sugar. One form of liquid invert was specially developed for the carbonated beverage industry and can be used only in liquid products. This liquid sugar is actually part invert sugar combined with part dissolved granulated sugar. Another type, named total invert sugar syrup, is commercially processed and is almost completely invert sugar. It is used mainly in food products to retard crystallization of sugar and retain moisture.

CLS's picture

(post #58105, reply #7 of 67)

*
My notes say (and I didn't want to confuse this person, Mean, so I was trying to keep it simple! Don't mess with me when my pain killers havent' kicked in, one is making me nauseous and dizzy and I'm in a bad mood!) but since you insist...

Two basic types: Monosaccharides - simple sugars: fructose and glucose. Disaccharides: sucrose (granulated), lactose (dairy) and maltose (grains).

All sucrose is the same chemically
i (which I said),
but are classified according to crystal size. I won't recap what I said, but Invert sugars
b are
sucrose. They have been heated with an acid, which breaks them down into 2 simple sugars levulose and dextrose. This process causes the sugar to become liquid and has a very high moisture content. It is also 30% sweeter than other sugars. IT STARTED OUT AS SUCROSE, and is chemically the same.

Damn, and I was missing you, too...

MEAN_CHEF's picture

(post #58105, reply #8 of 67)

*
And honey??

CLS's picture

(post #58105, reply #10 of 67)

*
Monosaccharide...did you know, though, that honey has so many different chemical components in it that some are as yet unidentified? That's why unpasturized honey is not recommended to be fed to babies or people who are ill - there are lots of "living" things in it that we don't know how they will react. Honey in it's natural state is an amazing mixture, at least to chemists.

Sorry for snapping at you last night - I felt horrible to say the least and I was mad and frustrated and extremely irritable. Had to apologize to DH and the cats, too...my first week back at work isn't going as well as I'd hoped...

Jean_'s picture

(post #58105, reply #11 of 67)

*
And how far do you think all this sweet talk is going to get you??

CLS's picture

(post #58105, reply #12 of 67)

*
A personal tour of Pikes Place market if I ever get out there...but realistically, nowhere! (grinning). Doubt he responds to sweet talk anyway...

I really was a sincere apology, though...

Valerie_'s picture

(post #58105, reply #13 of 67)

*
Don't worry; if Mean's in a snit, I'd be glad to take you to the Market if you're in town...

MEAN_CHEF's picture

(post #58105, reply #14 of 67)

*
Honey - invert sugar -monosaccharide - not sucrose - oops.

rory's picture

(post #58105, reply #15 of 67)

*
Ok- Maybe I missed it but has anyone mentioned Super-Fine sugar? Just put together a batch of shortbread and that is what it called for. Actually it is only regular sugar that has been put through the food processor for a minute or so ( USE METAL BLADE) Shortbread dough comes out like silk!

CLS's picture

(post #58105, reply #1 of 67)

*
Yes, oops is right. I hope that was your version of an "Oops, Mean was wrong". Honey is a Monosaccharide, while sucrose and invert sugars are a disaccharide. Just because something is a liquid doesn't mean it's an invert sugar.

CLS's picture

(post #58105, reply #16 of 67)

*
Yup, you missed it but you are forgiven because it was lost in me and Mean sniping at each other.

Superfine sugar is known as Bartenders sugar or Caster Sugar (especially in the UK). And you are right. To make it, just whirr table sugar in the blender. No sense paying extra for it...

By the way, you wouldn't happen to want to post your shortbread recipe? I'm making many batches, comparing recipes, trying to find one that my DH will nod and say, "Yes, this is just like my Nanna's" (Canadian, Scotch descent). Thank you very much, Rory.

Haven't seen you before here. You another "lurker"?

rory's picture

(post #58105, reply #17 of 67)

*
Thank you CLS. I must be honest and tell you that the best recipe( there were too many) that I have ever used , and this IS the one you want to try for yourself, is right under your nose. Well, keys actually. It is a 4 page tour de force ( well worth the read, even if you know half of it) in Fine Cooking, April/May issue 1996 pages 46,47,48, and 49.Stores well too. I have posted a message for spritz cookies from a cookie gun and have not received any answers. Do you know where i can look? By the way, whats a lurker?

Gretchen_'s picture

(post #58105, reply #18 of 67)

*
Well, the question about the invert sugars seems to devolve to, in the immortal words of our president, "What do you mean by "is?" If an invert sugar "is" dextrose (the right handed sugar or also glucose and a monosaccharide), and the other invert sugar is fructose (or levulose, the left handed sugar and a monosaccharide), then they "is" not sucrose, even if that is what it started out to be. It has been split. By the way, Rory, besides welcome (a lurker is one who reads posts and reads but may not choose to post or maybe ever reveal oneself--it is an honorable "profession" but you must not cheat us out of your knowledge too), you may have missed the post about the superfine sugar because not all posts come up at once. See the little blue messages at the bottom of a thread.

ashleyd_'s picture

(post #58105, reply #19 of 67)

*
All this wisdom and information! All this sniping! What fun! And what is is all about? .......A cookie! A miserable basic cookie!! Who says you can't waste knowledge?

CLS's picture

(post #58105, reply #20 of 67)

*
Ashleyd, there is no such thing as wasted knowledge. If you share it with others, it is not wasted. If you keep it to yourself but it brings you enjoyment, fulfillment and enriches your life, it is not wasted. There is no such thing as wasted knowledge...

ashleyd_'s picture

(post #58105, reply #21 of 67)

*
Ooh, I'm in trouble again! It's this Brit sense of irony that something so mundane as a cookie could generate so much fascinating information, but you're right, it's never wasted.
I'll try and be good. I'll try not to let my sense of humor get in the way too much. Or whatever!

Ashley

CLS's picture

(post #58105, reply #22 of 67)

*
You are forgiven. No offense taken, anyway. That's the problem with e-mail - until you get to know someone well, you can't tell whether or not they are being sarcastic or mean or funny because the vocal inflections are missing.

I'm well acquainted with your "Brit sense of irony". It took me a while, but I learned while I was there. I actually miss it. I especially miss Rowen Atkins as the Black Adder. We get a little of his Mr. Bean act here, but the Black Adder is special - I used to just laugh my *** off at him - he is so gifted.

By the way, Welcome to the Board...

Sincerely, CLS (formerly a resident of Willsden Green, London)

superpup's picture

(post #58105, reply #23 of 67)

*
I made shortbread last night, but I took out half the butter and sugar and substituted white chocolate (yes, I'm obsessed, thank you). It was a very nice crumbly mess that I would not be able to roll out or pat into any kind of shape, so I threw on some more butter and tried to (very gently) mix that in. This got me to a point where I could at least squish it into a ball, which I wrapped up and put into the fridge. I don't know what I'll do with it; maybe bake it as a big pancake and then use it for crumbs or something. Basically, it was a way for me to avoid doing something else. But to circle back to the whole beginning of this subject...this recipe used confectioners sugar.

(By the way, my roommate has tapes of all the Black Adder episodes. She watches them over and over, laughing hysterically. I think she got them from a catalogue, Signals or Wireless, or something like that.)

Wolverine's picture

(post #58105, reply #24 of 67)

*

What's Black Adder??? I see by CLS's post Rowin Atkins show - about??
Can I get it via satelite? ( Channel ??)

Shortbread made with confectioner's - sandies.

CLS's picture

(post #58105, reply #26 of 67)

*
SUPERPUP - I will be forever very very happy if your roommate can tell me where I can get tapes of the Black Adder!!! I love that show! Soooooo funnnny! But I think you have to appreciate British humor. I got to like it when I lived in London - The Black Adder is a character done by Rowen Atkins, the actor who plays Mr. Bean, someone you might be familiar with - has a movie here in the States. I was very disappointed that we (the U.S.) chose to import Mr. Bean instead of the Black Adder, which is far superior in comic value. I guess you'd have to see a few episodes to see what I mean.

ashleyd_'s picture

(post #58105, reply #25 of 67)

*
Edmund Blackadder - gentleman. Four series each set in a different time from Elizabethan to WW1 featuring Rowan Atkinson as Edmund. Accompanied by his scruffy "servant" Baldrick - catchphrase "I have a cunning plan", which was rarely either cunning or a plan. Last series was several years ago but it is available on video. Very, very funny with occasional touches of pathos, but very British humour.

Wolverine's picture

(post #58105, reply #27 of 67)

*
That's okay, I like British humor. I'll check out Blockbuster and a few other video stores. ( BTW - The commercials shown in Britain are far superior to anything we get to see on normal broadcast channels )Thanks!

CLS's picture

(post #58105, reply #28 of 67)

*
(ROFL) I adore Baldrick - he has to be the dirtiest, nastiest, sorryiest looking character around, and for a long time after I returned to the States I would sometimes use the phrase "I have a cunning plan..." to begin something I thought was funny, but no one else caught on since they didn't watch the Black Adder, so I had to quit. Funny phrases aren't funny when no one around understands their origin...

My favorites, though, were the Elizabethan episodes.

superpup's picture

(post #58105, reply #29 of 67)

*
I'm pretty sure the name of the catalogue was either Signals or Wireless (did I say that already?). They usually have stuff related to PBS or NPR shows. My roommate is in London right now, lucky her. I've seen a few of the Black Adder episodes, but unfortunately DO NOT HAVE AS MUCH TIME AS SHE DOES TO WATCH THEM OVER AND OVER AND LAUGH HYSTERICALLY!!! By the way, we both spent our junior years of college at Bristol University, about 15 minutes from Bath, maybe two hours from London. The Southwest of England is truly lovely.

CLS's picture

(post #58105, reply #30 of 67)

*
I get both those magazines. I'll be on the lookout for them. They really are hysterical -

Cooking_Monster's picture

(post #58105, reply #31 of 67)

*
Maybe try adding an egg or an egg yolk? It ought to help with the crumblies. At any rate, no matter how the texture turns out it's bound to taste good.