I know some people think sugar is the work of the Devil , but some sort of sweetening is needed in most baking but i do agree, we eat far too much sugar. That is another topic for another day:)
Some of the sugars/ sweeteners will have different names where you live and if I know of other names, I will put them in brackets. The CS you see in brackets is not some secret code, its my referencing which credit is given, in full at the bottom of the page.
Caster Sugar :The fine, regular sugar crystals dissolve quickly and caramelise evenly, making Caster Sugar an essential ingredient for the perfect Pavlova, light sponge cakes and dressings. (CS)
Icing sugar (confectioners sugar): Icing Sugar is white sugar that has been ground in a mill to produce a fine powdered sugar. To keep it free-flowing and to prevent lumps forming, a small amount of gluten-free tapioca starch (3%) is added. Icing Sugar is used for lightly dusting cakes and sweets, for creating smooth icing and glazes, to sweeten cream fillings or anywhere a smooth, soft texture is required in baking. Here in NZ, we also have flavoured icing sugars, like chocolate, lemon and strawberry. (CS)
Normal sugar (does anyone use this??) :I don’t ever have this in my home, it’s too heavy.
Demerara sugar: Each crystal has a thin layer of molasses, giving a rich, distinctive flavour. The crystallisation process is done in open pans rather than the usual vacuum pans, this increases the amount of caramelisation which contributes to its flavour. It is regarded by coffee connoisseurs as one of the finest sugars to complement the flavour of coffee. The clear golden colour and crunch of these crystals creates tantalizing toppings for delicacies such as crème brulee, grilled fruit and can be used in selected baking recipes.(CS)
Dark cane sugar (similar to muscovado sugar, I think this is our version of it):Its fine crystal size, moist dark brown colour and rich molasses flavour, allows for easy dissolving, making Dark Cane Sugar ideal for sweetening fruits, winter puddings, gingerbread, chocolate cakes and brownies. Balance Dark Cane Sugar with spicy, hot and sour flavours of Indian curries and Asian dishes. (CS)
Muscovado sugar: Also known as “Barbados sugar”, muscovado is very dark brown and slightly coarser and stickier than most brown sugars. Muscovado takes its flavor and color from sugarcane juice. It offers good resistance to high temperatures and has a reasonably long shelf life. Muscovado sugar can be used in most recipes where brown sugar is called for, by slightly reducing the liquid content of the recipe.
Golden Syrup:is made using the sugar syrups removed during the refining process, which have a high mineral and colour content. The sugar in the syrup is semi-converted to glucose and fructose by the addition of enzymes. When the sugar in the syrup has reached the right ratio of sucrose to glucose/fructose, the process is stopped and the syrup filtered to remove all of the enzymes. To produce the rich golden colour and distinctive flavour, the syrup is partially decolored by passing it through carbon which also absorbs some of the flavour and colour.(CS)
Molasses: Molasses is a thick, dark substance made from cane or beet sugar. Some countries (UK) call this treacle but here BELIEVE ME, molasses and treacle are two different beasts. Our Molasses tastes very bitter than treacle. I shall investigate and ask my English friend to look into this for me. As I know the British make a molasses tart and if i think of using our molasses in a tart, ergh, I would rather eat boiled boots!! You would need to add a TON of sugar!!
Treacle: Treacle is prepared by the same process as Golden Syrup but is not decolored through carbon as Golden Syrup, leaving a darker colour and stronger, slightly bitter flavour. Treacle is used in baking and helps to increase the moisture content. (CS)
Brown sugar: is produced by blending the dark sugar syrups obtained during the refining process with Caster Sugar, resulting in a fine, soft, moist, texture. Its dark caramel colour and unique rich flavour make it suitable for both savoury and sweet recipes, particularly caramel, toppings, sauces and fudge.(CS)
Coffee crystals: The Italians use this but in thick white crystals to sprinkle over many desserts/ cakes/ sweet breads.The sugar crystals are grown for a longer period of time to form large crystals. The crystals are spun to remove any excess syrup, leaving behind a thin coating, which gives a golden brown appearance. The unique size and flavour make this sugar the perfect sweetener for coffee. The larger crystal dissolves slower, leaving behind a thin layer of syrup that enriches the coffee blend (CS)
Raw sugar: (Turbinado in US) Raw Sugar is granulated sugar with a syrup coating on the crystals, this gives a golden brown appearance. It is produced by dissolving, filtering and recrystallising the raw sugar received from the sugar mill. Raw sugar enhances the flavour of hot drinks and baking, or used as a topping it gives a golden crunch to cereals, muffins and fruit loaf (CS)
Palm sugar:(JAGGERY/ GUR) is sugar that is extracted from the sap of the palm tree.Very common is SE Asia. Varies in colour from light brown to deep dark brown. Generally not highly processed which makes it popular.
Coconut sugar:is a sugar produced from the sap of cut flower buds of the coconut palm. Like Palm sugar it is very popular in SE Asia. Similar to brown sugar but a more syrupy sweet taste.
Stevia :Touted as a healthy alternative to sugar. Coming from the plant Stevia rebaudiana, it is 300 times sweeter than sugar. Stevia has a negligible effect on glucose levels in the blood .
Reports of late are now disputing Stevia as being so healthy:
Banana juice: I have only seen this as a powder, which you add water too (www.mybreadmix.co.nz). It though available as a juice and it is said to be good for upset stomachs, providing soluble fiber and for athletes.
Strawberry juice: As with Banana juice, only seen as powdered from mybread mix. Add to juice, milk, yogurt, cereals, biscuits, sprinkle on toast or use as 100% natural flavour and colour in cakes & icing.
Honey: made from the nectar in flowers.The health benefits if honey is numerous.Honey gives products better browning ,has good binding qualities, helps retain moisture and is a natural preservative.
Maple Syrup: (the real stuff, not the fake)comes from the sap of the Sugar maple tree.It is very expensive here, it is about $30 for a 50mls!! 🙂 but lovely.
Corn syrup: I have never used this and i have never seen it. I have heard people call it the work of the devil!!
Liquid Glucose: similar to corn syrup but a ‘lighter’ version. I know you can buy it here in health shops and I have seen it at the supermarket. I can remember using it years ago fro cake icing and i have seen it in cake shops.
With thanks to Chelsea sugar (CS above) in NZ for marvellous info: http://www.chelsea.co.nz/content/about-sugar/Types-of-Sugar.aspx
and Greedybread knowledge and tasting experience of the sugars. It was hard but someone had to do it!! My kids were VERY keen, to taste the sugars!! As you can imagine…..