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Recipe Fri Apr 06 2007
There’s not all that many culinary occasions that call for brown sugar, but when it’s needed, there’s just no substitute. So, we all keep that box of brown sugar hidden away somewhere in the pantry or the fridge and pull it out a few times a year just to carve a couple of chunks from the rock-hard mass. Then it’s promptly sent back to kitchen purgatory to await the next batch of cookies, sweet potatoes, or glazed ham.
Improvising a hammer and chisel just to free a few tablespoons of sugary goodness can be maddening if not downright dangerous business. And if you’re anything like me, it’s guaranteed to be a messy, sugar-strewn affair.
(Insert your TV infomercial battle cry, “There’s Gotta Be a Better Way!” here.)
Yes, there certainly is.
The preferred method in our kitchen is to put a damp—not dripping—cloth over the top of the sugar bowl, placing the lid on top (bowls and jars are far classier than that old beat-up cardboard box the sugar came in a few years ago, right?). Leave it be for a few hours and you’ll find the brown sugar far more agreeable than it’s been. Leave overnight and it’ll be as friendly as the day you took it home!
If you’re in a hurry you can always pop the bowl, cloth and lid in the microwave for a minute, but be sure to heat at short intervals and watch vigilantly as it is sugar, after all, and is more than happy to melt. And if you don’t have a cloth or towel handy, or just dislike trees, you can always use a few paper towels.