Sugar is the “white gold” that makes the world a little sweeter… just don’t eat too much of it. Crave explains why.
Text by Wenna Pang, photos by Samantha Sin
Special thanks to GREAT food hall
Treacle is uncrystallised syrup produced during the process of refining sugar. The most common forms are golden syrup (an essential ingredient in treacle tarts and puddings) and dark treacle, which has a rich, deep colour. Dark treacle has a distinct, strong and slightly bitter flavour and is mainly used as a sweetener and condiment.
Red sugar is a type of sugar made from sugarcane juice that has molasses left in it when dried and has a silky texture. It’s suitable for use in Asian desserts such as tofu pudding, red bean paste and fig fillings, and is typically found in Asian supermarkets. It can also be used to replace white sugar in baking dark cakes.
The common name for refined sugar, white sugar is the familiar sweetener for everyday use. Depending on how it’s produced, white sugar can be milled and screened into other types of sugars, such as caster, icing and brown sugar. It is used widely in desserts, saturated in water to produce candy and heated to produce caramel.
Raw cane sugar
Sugar in its most natural and raw form, comes from sugarcane which grows in the tropical regions of South Asia and produces 80% of the world’s sugar. After sugarcane is processed, cane sugar is produced which is used for various culinary purposes. Besides making molasses and rock candy and cocktails, sugarcane can also be chewed raw to extract the juice.
Produced from cane sugar, coffee sugar crystals are coated in a thin layer of syrup, designed to prolong the flavour and sweetness of coffee. It has a uniquely delicious yet subtly sweet flavour and with its rocky texture is sometimes used as a crunchy topping for desserts and ice cream.
Brown sugar gets its colour from its molasses content and can either be refined or unrefined (muscovado). It can be differentiated into light, regular or dark, and is often used in desserts to add a strong flavour or a caramel taste. It has slightly less calories than white sugar because it contains more water.
Also known as Barbados sugar, muscovado is unrefined brown sugar and slightly more nutritional than most sugars. It is dark brown and slightly coarser and stickier than refined brown sugar, with a rich molasses flavour. It’s often used in baking, for making rum or as a replacement for brown sugar in recipes.
Pandan paste is formed from sugar derived from the pandan plant, an herbaceous tropical plant commonly found in Southeast Asia. Pandan has a naturally sweet taste and is typically used in cakes and desserts. Possessing a bright green colour, pandan cake is a familiar sweet treat to those in Hong Kong.
Also known as confectioners’ or powdered sugar, icing sugar is a delicate, fine sugar. It dissolves rapidly in liquid and is used mainly in icing or frosting for cake decorations. Icing sugar is also often sieved onto baked goods to add a subtle sweetness and for a touch of light decoration.
Coconut flower sugar
Produced from the sap of cut flower buds of coconut palms, coconut flower sugar is traditionally used in South and Southeast Asia. It has a subtle sweet taste with a hint of caramel and is usually used as a substitute sweetener as it’s considered healthier than white or brown sugar.
Chinese rock sugar
Rock sugar is a crystallised form of sugarcane, commonly used in Chinese or Asian desserts. Named for its texture, rock sugar has a naturally sweet taste and is
often used in sweet soups and puddings, such as red bean soup, and can be found in Asian supermarkets.
Beet sugar is produced from the tuber, or root, of the sugar beet plant, a relative of the beetroot. The beets are cooked and juiced to produce thick, dark unrefined syrup that has a texture similar to honey. It is typically used in Germany and elsewhere in Europe as sandwich spreads and as a sweetening sauce for cakes and desserts.