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Using granulated sugar instead of confectioner's?

What if I don't have confectioner's sugar in the house? Can I still make a decent icing? Can I put regular sugar in the food processor to make the grains smaller?

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  1. I wouldn't try it with buttercream but you could do something like a boiled frosting (or a 7 minute frosting idea):

    http://southernfood.about.com/od/icin...

    1. No, there's really no recipe that would call for confectioners' sugar in the first place, that this could work in. You just cannot get the powdered texture even in a blender let alone a food processor. (You can make a passable superfine sugar, but that's very coarse compared to confectioners'.) If you had the arm-strength, the patience, a good mortar & pestle and a very fine sieve, you could get something useable at home. ;)

      1. Ditto. I've done it but there is absolutely no way to get it non-gritty. But something with a cooked custard base would work. Can't think of recipes offhand but there are many. Or, as chowser suggests, a 7-minute frosting.

        1. Whiz it up in the processor with some cornstarch (you'll have to look up the exact proportions). It won't be quite the same fineness but it is the same ingredients.

          3 Replies
          1. re: rockycat

            I wish it were that simple. No matter how much I whizzed, it never turned into icing sugar. I know this because I was trying to make a cake and there was no icing sugar available - period. So I processed granulated and it just never gets completely powdery. And the icing ended up gritty and sugary which, under the circumstances, was better than no icing at all but was definitely not creamy and fabulous.

            1. re: Nyleve

              Try Googling under "Passover confectioners' sugar." All those recipes will use potato starch rather than cornstarch since you can't use corn starch on Passover. But the theory is still the same.

              <shrug> Works for me.

              1. re: rockycat

                Hahaha. Actually, that's exactly when I tried to make icing sugar - for Passover. Couldn't find commercial icing sugar and attempted to make my own - yes, with a bit of potato starch, as you said. But it really didn't work. Maybe it's my blender.

          2. Yes, I would skip trying to make powdered sugar at home and just search online for a frosting recipe that calls for granulated sugar. Recipes that say to add granulated it into eggwhite while whipping to stiff peaks, or (one that I've tried) boiling sugar and water until the "soft crack" stage and adding that to beatened egg whites then adding butter & flavorings. This kind of frosting turned out great, but it used a lot of butter.

            1. you can't make regular sugar into confectioner's sugar at home. you need to try a different recipe.

              2 Replies
              1. re: hotoynoodle

                has anyone tried using a coffee grinder to do this? Only reason I ask is I once made the mistake of adding turbinado (demera) sugar to a coffee grinder when making a BBQ rub. What was left was the finest sugar powder possible. I couldn't use it in a rub - it was way too powdery.

                I have no idea if it would really do the trick to make it as consistently fine as confectioners, but just wondering if anyone has tried. It certainly broke it up WAY more than a blender or food processor ever could have.

                1. re: adamclyde

                  I have tried putting it in the coffee grinder and it works. Usually I would only do this when I needed just a little bit for something like cookie icing. But it makes very little powdered sugar and it takes a while. PLus, you really need the cornstarch that's in confectioner's. So while coffee grinder works beautifully, with less effort, you could go buy the real thing.

              2. Yes, we have done this in the restaurant where I work and it works fine. I was not able to tell the difference, in taste and texture, between what we made from granulated sugar and the commercial icing sugar we normally use. We have a really good industrial blender though; I don't know if I would try it with a home blender.

                1. Hi guys,

                  What if it's for a recipe like these Earl Grey cookies:

                  1 cup all purpose flour
                  1/4 cup sugar
                  1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
                  1 tablespoon Earl Grey tea leaves*
                  1/4 teaspoon salt
                  1/2 teaspoon vanilla
                  1 teaspoon water
                  1/2 cup unsalted butter

                  Can I substitute regular sugar for the confectioner's sugar? Maybe 2 tablespoons for the 1/4 cup?

                  Thank you!

                  1. I tried the blender thing and it worked. The comment from the restaurant employee helped when they wrote they used an industrial strength blender. We have a Blendtec and it worked great.