Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Dec 19, 2007 05:57 PM

Using Sugar in the Raw for Baking

Has anyone used sugar in the raw for baking? Do I use the same quantities as granualted sugar?

I'm making some chocolate chip cookies and thought I'd try it out.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. one time i used sugar in the raw- for a batch of chocolate chip cookies. forgive me- i was going through a "natural food phase". I gave one to a co-worker and he actually spat it out into a trash can in front of me and said it was like eating sand. so if you do it, make sure its the small granulated kind, not the stuff like in starbucks packets.

    1 Reply
    1. re: carolinevalentine


      You made my up mind of for me. Once I read your post, I reached for the C&H.
      Your story was a good one, but not one I wanted to experience myself. :-)

      Thank you!

    2. I assume you mean "Sugar in the Raw" a trademarked product. It's a larger crystal form of unrefined sugar similar to demerara or turbinado sugars.
      You can't measure it one for one with granulated sugar because of the difference in the crystal sizes. You'd have do the amounts by weight. It also doesn't dissolve in the same way so there are problems with creaming it into fats or with it dissolving into cold liquids. It leaves either "sandy" chunks or holes in many baked goods depending on the recipe.
      These products are similar to light brown sugar. They still have molasses in them so they'll change the flavor of your cookies. If you want an unrefined sugar that will come closer to working like granulated sugar, you might try Florida Crystals, Dixie Crystals or Evaporated Cane Juice. You should measure by weight rather than volume.

      1. I used it in brownies once and it all just sank to the bottom. I've considered disolving it, but that's too much liquid...possibly grinding it more?

        1 Reply
        1. re: TSQ75

          When you grind it more, you will end up with some of it as powder so it will measure differently. Make sure you use a scale to weigh it rather than using a measuring cup.

          I've used demerara in pecan pie but that's also with a good bit of liquid, including Karo, and it bakes for close to an hour, so it dissolves better than in other baked goods.
          This is just a switch that's hard to make and requires a lot of experimentation. Sugar is more complicated than it seems.

        2. I use it a lot, actually. Just dissolve it. Lends a nice flavor - subtley different. All you have to do is beat your eggs with the sugar and then walk away for a while. You can add in your vanilla or any other liquids too and just let it sit on the counter for 15 minutes or more. I think using turbinado (the sugar of which you speak) is great. And I disagree with makingsense - yes there are probably weight differences but it's insignificant enough that for something like cookies or brownies, I use it one for one. I really enjoy it particularly in cookies and have made it dozens of times without weighing or too much fuss. I've been using 'alternate' sugars for years in my baked goods.

          16 Replies
          1. re: krissywats


            Do you use it in all of your baked goods? Or do you find some are better served without it?

            1. re: krissywats

              I suspect that the worse kind of cookie for a coarse sugar is the classic sugar cookie, where butter is creamed with sugar, and we expect a smooth texture. It would work better in an oatmeal cookie, or one that uses melted butter.


                1. re: paulj

                  I've honestly not tried it in a sugar cookie but have done so in many batches of chocolate chip. I creamed the butter and sugar and added the eggs and then let it sit and melt. Worked great.

                  kkad97 - if it's what I have it's what I use. If it answers your question, I rarely use white sugar. In fact, I have no white sugar in the house. I do have different grades of turbinado and sucanat and demerera - but I use them all in cooking. Certainly turbinado is the 'most difficult' in terms of letting it melt, but it's not that much of a hardship.

                  I also make my own brown sugar with sucanat and molasses. I love that deep molasses flavor, though and I use these in all of my baked goods, even breads that call for a bit of sugar.

                  1. re: krissywats

                    We are making an effort to remove white sugar from our house as well. I enjoy baking, but have never used anyting other than white sugar. So this will take some adjustment and training on my part.

                    I agree with paulj, that a sugar cookie probably really needs white sugar.

                    I'll try a few experiments in the next couple of weeks. I'll more than likely have some other questions.

                    Thank you for your input.

                    1. re: kkak97

                      I don't know exactly what you are trying to achieve by eliminating white sugar, but if you want to compensate for the nutrients that are removed from cane syrup in the process of refining, you could use recipes that call for molasses. For example the gingerbread cookie recipe on Grandma's molasses calls for 1/2c of molasses and 1/2 c of sugar (for 2 of flour). Another recipe calls for 1/3 c of molasses, 1c of sugar, 3c of flour (and a lot more ginger).

                      In these recipes the butter, sugar, molasses and egg are mixed together. There is enough liquid to dissolve larger crystals of sugar. But, I suspect that the extra nutrients in sugar-in-raw are minor compared to those in molasses. A 1/2c of molasses (according to the label) provides 32% of daily value each for calcium and iron. But I'm not recommending gingerbread cookies as a significant source of minerals.


                      1. re: paulj

                        some persons are trying to remove refined sugars from their diets for varying personal reasons.

                        its not directed at you, per se, but dang, why does everyone have to criticize people for choosing to do things like this as is they're crazy or something?

                        1. re: TSQ75

                          So what is the point(s) to substituting Sugar in the Raw (brand name of Cumberland Packing) for more refined sugars? According to their package (and all other turbinado sugar packages), the mineral content is negligible (iron, calcium etc all are 0% per 1 tsp serving).

                          I don't have problems with people choosing to use alternatives to white refined sugars. I use several myself (molasses, moscovado, piloncillo). But I am concerned that some people are making these choices in the mistaken belief that they are replacing 'evil empty calories' with something that is full of valuable minerals and vitamins.


                          1. re: TSQ75

                            I'm with paulj -- I'm all for people making choices, but there's a lot of bad/misleading nutritional information out there, and some people are making those choices based on information that in many cases is no better than propaganda (unfortunately, due to the abysmal level of science education in this country, most people don't have the ability to evaluate the validity of many nutritional claims), so it's worth asking them why to determine if that's the case. "Suger in the raw" and other alternative sugars are a lot more expensive than refined white sugar, and if people are going to go to the trouble and expense of using white sugar alternatives, then they should be doing so based on full understanding of the pros and cons of their choice.

                            I'll add that alternative sugars often have a much higher moisture content than refined white sugar, and although that won't make much difference in something like cookies, it can make difference in other, more delicate foods, so substitutions should be made carefully on a case-by-case basis.

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                              like i said, it wasnt directly meant, but it echoed much of the "bleh! why would you want to use anything but?!" reaction i see around reaction gets another.

                              personally, unrefined, or turbinado sugar tastes better to me, and isnt super refined by artificial processes and chemicals and additives...i dont buy "Sugar in the Raw" myself, i buy bulk turbinado sugar for much less money--but my body personally prefers raw sugar, is all...i just need to find a way to bake with it.

                              much like vegans finding ways to work without dairy.

                              1. re: TSQ75

                                As I said, your choice. You might want to think generally about what exactly what you mean by "artificial process" (aren't all processes "artificial"?) "[artificial] chemicals" (every substance is a chemical, and even chemicals that are found in nature are often produced in factories and laboratories for use in various forms of production) and "additives" (especially since you don't seem to know exactly what goes on in the sugar refining process). Those are all "buzz words" -- they sound bad, but are often meanlingless or even misleading. For example, the promoters of the alternative sweetener "xylitol" were promoting it as "natural," "not chemical" and even calling it "birch sugar" (sounds like maple syrup, right?) even though most of the commerically available xylitol is derived from processing wood waste from lumber mills.

                                1. re: TSQ75

                                  Turbinado sugar is just a little less processed than white sugar. I'm not even sure it's any less processed - I think what they actually do is take white sugar and add molasses back in. This ensures a consistent product.

                                  Extracting sugar from their host plants is an involved, complicated process.

                      2. re: paulj

                        I use it in sugar cookies all the time and I've actually built up a HUGE following with those very cookies! They aren't your typical "sugar cookies" (I also use whole wheat flour rather than all purpose), but they are much tastier. I sold numerous dozens for people to gift at Christmas. The raw sugar lends more moisture, which gave them a chewy consistency. If you want crispy sugar cookies, maybe not for you. But the taste is phenomenal!

                        1. re: NatureMom

                          Hi NatureMom! Do you share this sugar cookie recipe? I would love to try it. :)

                      3. re: krissywats

                        What stores do you find it?
                        Thank you!

                        1. re: Parker28

                          I've purchased it in Safeway, Target, Trader Joes and Whole Foods.

                      4. The original comment has been removed