Friday, September 9, 2011

Spice World: Muscovado Sugar

What’s not to like about a sugar that resembles chocolate? 

The Musc

I know, muscovado sugar is not technically a spice, but rum is made of it and I would not balk if someone stir fried it into my pad Thai or sprinkled it on top of salsa. Plus, it’s located in the Chef Tools spice department

Muscovado is the focus of this edition of Spice World because of its versatility and uniqueness among sugar. That is, muscovado is direct-to-you from the sugar cane, unrefined and unadulterated. Muscovado is dark – darker than brown sugar, which is white sugar mixed with molasses – and slightly wet, like beach sand near the tide.  

The flavor is, of course, sweet, but a little heavy, similar to molasses. In the brown sugar flavor hierarchy, muscovado is closest to molasses, while turbinado is close to caramel and demerara is close to toffee.  Can you remember the last time you ate a gingerbread cookie? It’s that kind of sweetness. Muscovado complements more savory-sweet items.

So, recipe suggestions: sprinkle it in any stir fry and discover how well soy sauce and sugar mix; sauté with carrots; use it in place of standard sugar in sugar cookies for darker, richer morsels; baked beans; mix it with salt, pepper, cayenne and garlic powder for a nice meat rub; but the best recipe I found from Yummly is to use it in ginger beer.

At any rate, keep a bag of muscovado in the pantry (long shelf life) for those occasions when brown sugar just isn’t sweet enough.
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