Different Types of Sugar

by Karen Bates
(last updated February 9, 2015)

When it's time for dessert, many people reach for a sugary treat to satisfy a sweet tooth. Sugar is enjoyable in many different types of foods, and to satisfy a craving for sweets without the sugar there are even artificial and low-sugar sweetening options.

Although when you hear the word sugar you might automatically think of the white crystals you buy in a large paper bag, there are actually many different types of sugar. Some kinds of sugar are better than others for specific uses and recipes, and they all have their own unique tastes, textures and other characteristics.

Here are some of the different kinds of sugar you may see in recipes or in desserts you eat. It is especially helpful to know about these varieties in case you run across them in a recipe:

  • Granulated Sugar. This is the most common type of sugar. It has many uses, and is made up of small white granules. It is popular in many recipes and can also be found sold as cubes.
  • Powdered Sugar. This sugar, which has been ground down into a very fine powder and mixed with a small amount of corn starch, is often used for frosting and icing recipes.
  • Raw Sugar. Raw sugar is less processed than other kinds of sugar. It still contains molasses because it has not reached the point where it would have been removed to create other sugars, like granulated sugar.
  • Brown Sugar. Although it has several varieties, in general brown sugar is a dark tan color and is moister than other types of sugar. This sugar gets its brown color from molasses, and can be either light or dark depending on the amount used in the sugar. Brown sugar can dry out and become hard, so special measures might need to be taken to prevent or reduce dryness.
  • Coarse Sugar. This variety of sugar is known for its larger granule size and round shape. It is often used for decorating.
  • Superfine Sugar. Superfine sugar has extra-small crystals, but is in every other way like granulated sugar. This type of sugar is quick to dissolve.
  • Artificial/Reduced Sugar Sweeteners. Many kinds of sugar substitutes and "low sugar" sugars exist and can be used in various ways. Aspartame, sucralose, saccharin sugar alcohol and Stevia are a few examples of these sweeteners. For many, these substitutes are great alternatives to sugar, but be sure to do research on these products before using: they can have varying effects on different people.

When you are aware of the different forms that sugar can be found in, you will be ready when you find them listed in a recipe.

Author Bio

Karen Bates

An English student who enjoys writing and art, Karen has had her poetry published in her university's literary journal and has several novels in the works. ...

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