What You May Not Know About Golden Caster Sugar
If you, like most people, have not heard about or used golden caster sugar, you are literally in for a real treat. Ideal for use in baking as well as bartending, this delicate sugar blend may very well become your favorite sweetener.
What Is Golden Caster Sugar?
Most people know that sugar is made from processing either sugar cane or sugar beets, although they may not fully understand how the process takes place. Each is grown in totally different climates; sugar cane is grown in tropical to sub-tropical regions while sugar beets are grown in more temperate areas. Despite this difference, extraction of the sugar for each is rather similar. Juice is extracted and then heated to remove as much water as possible, leaving a thick syrupy mass. This syrup is further heated until crystals form which are removed from the syrup using a centrifuge device. The crystals are called raw sugar, which is dark in color.
Raw sugar must be refined using chemicals and filtered before it becomes pure white sugar that is usable. Not all sugar is refined to such a point that it appears white, however. Some sugar is allowed to keep some of the dark syrupy liquid, resulting in a product that all cooks know to be brown sugar. Dark brown sugar has a heavier coating of the dark colored syrup while light brown sugar has a more moderate covering. In some cases, molasses is added to refined white sugar in order to make brown sugar.
Sometimes, sugar is processed further to provide a very fine texture, called caster or superfine sugar. Unrefined, or brown superfine sugar results in a product called golden caster sugar. This type of sweetener falls somewhere between the quality of refined white sugar and confectioner’s (also called 10x) sugar.
How To Use Golden Caster Sugar
Superfine sugars, because of the fine crystals they possess, dissolve quickly and easily. This makes the product ideal in a number of preparations.
- Cocktails and beverages. Making a sweetened beverage involves combining the liquid with flavoring and sugar. Adding regular sugar to a drink will result in some of the crystals dissolving right away and the rest to sink to the bottom of the drink container until, eventually, they dissolve. If you wish to drink the beverage immediately, the flavor will be unbalanced by the undissolved crystals at the bottom; the liquid at the top of the container may be sour or tasteless while the liquid at the bottom will end up being sickeningly sweet. Golden caster sugar, which dissolves easily and quickly, will provide a uniform flavor from the rim of the container to the last drop. Other delicious liquid recipes for which golden caster sugar is perfectly suited are fruit soups or fruit ices.
- Baking. There are a variety of recipes that require certain ingredients to be “creamed” together. This is generally the complete blending of fats and sugars. When using refined white sugar with its defined crystals, the blending often ends up being incomplete since the crystals and the fat never fully blend to become one element. On the other hand, superfine sugar such as golden caster sugar melts in the fat, whether it is butter, lard or shortening, to produce a fully melded product. This complete blending will result in a more successful baked product. Cookies, cakes and meringues will have a fluffier texture and deeper flavor through its use.
Cooking. There are many main dishes that, while savory, require just a pinch of sugar to take the acidity from the dish. Often, tomato based sauces will include this bit of sugar to take away the bite of the acidity commonly found in tomatoes. A quick recipe for baked beans is also a great example, with the sweet flavor in the traditional recipe provided by molasses or brown sugar. Using golden caster sugar for this purpose will ensure a quick blending and a warm, delicious flavor to tomato sauces and the mixture of canned pork and beans, ketchup and sugar that brings baked beans to the table in a greatly reduced timeframe perfect for impromptu barbeques.
- Dusting. Many desserts are given a delicious and sweeter ending by dusting them with sugar. Doughnuts, muffins and candies can be given a step up in the flavor department by dusting them with the superfine texture and warm, deep flavor of golden caster sugar. The golden cast that the sparkling sugar provides serves to make them more visually appealing as well. If you wish to keep the baked goods for yourself, however, you may not want to make them more appealing to others!
Some people try to make their own superfine sugar by placing a measure of refined white sugar in a blender and then pureeing. A cloud of white dust will be produced by this method, so it is wise to “let the dust settle” before removing the lid of the blender. The ending product will be much finer, but not really an adequate substitute for the golden sweetener.
Many people are unfamiliar with the term golden caster sugar as well as its uses. Once used, however, you will likely wonder how you did without this superfine sugar that goes so well in beverages, baked goods and more.