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Mar 18, 2008 03:24 PM

is it possible to make caramel with raw sugar?

i'm trying to switch to healthier alternatives to sugar and was wondering if anyone has tried making caramel with turbinado sugar or other forms.

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  1. Why do you think "raw" sugar would be healthier? As I understand it, it just has a larger crystal and a bit of molasses for color.
    I think organic sugar would work ok for caramel but it does act differently in some recipes, you have to experiment.
    There really aren't very many sweeteners that are any healthier than sugar, or not healthier enough to be worth worrying about. Maple syrup and honey are a bit less refined, but your body processes them the same way.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Chowpatty

      I agree. Sugar is sugar. It is a natural product. Live a little!

      1. re: sarah galvin

        I agree -- you might as well use regular cane.

        I do like raw sugar if I'm putting it on oatmeal or something, though.

      2. re: Chowpatty

        actually, raw sugar is different than the processed sugar we buy. in fact, REAL raw sugar is not sold in the u.s. that "sugar in the raw", ie turbinado sugar, etc, is not true raw sugar - that is the stuff with molasses added. :)

        Raw sugar is a tan to brown, coarse granulated solid obtained on evaporation of clarified sugar cane juice. Raw sugar is processed from the cane at a sugar mill and then shipped to a refinery. It is about 98% sucrose. Raw sugar is not sold to consumers. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration notes raw sugar is "unfit for direct use as food or as a food ingredient because of the impurities it ordinarily contains."

        Raw Sugar is what is left after processing the sugar cane to remove the molasses and refine the white sugar. In North America raw sugar is actually not "raw" as it has been partially refined to remove any contaminants.

        contaminants such as plant bits, bug bodies, mouse poop... which is a shame... we could all use the extra protein. ;)

        1. re: mrsjenpeters

          You can get something close to this in the Mexican food section - look for dark brown cones (1-3" tall) called 'piloncillo'.

          1. re: mrsjenpeters

            Exactly and white sugar, brown sugar, and confectioners sugar is refined with ground animal bones. The bones are used to absorb the natural colors to give it a pure white color.

        2. In a less didactic vein, while I haven't tried making caramel with raw-type sugars, I say go for it. I think they're yummier than typical table sugar.

          1. Well, I had to try it and see what happened. I carmelized demerrara sugar. It does melt but it never seemed to melt enough to be completely clear, like white sugar does. I kept it over the heat for as long as I dare without smoking because I was going to make some peanut brittle. It would have been interesting if I had cream in the house and try making caramel. I think it would be ok for caramel but I wouldn't use it for something like creme caramel where you want a more delicate syrup. It tastes good - richer than white sugar. I think I prefer it with the peanut brittle. It is a bit chewy rather than being brittle.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sarah galvin

              I frequently make toffee and brittle, and I too have found that using organic sugar, which is somewhat less refined (though not raw) and not white (why does sugar have to be white?), gives richer, more flavorful results. I do find that I have to be a bit more careful while the sugar/butter is bubbling its way to the right temperature- it tends to want to brown the edges of the pan a bit more than does white sugar.

            2. Heya! I know that this reply is long in coming, but I was just wondering about this myself, and that's how I found your post. I was looking on Sugar in the Raw's website (one of the major distributors of turbinado sugar in the US), and I found this recipe :

              It's for Macadamia Tartlets with Coconut Cookie Crust, and the filling is caramel made with turbinado sugar. So, yup, you can make caramel with turbinado sugar. That recipe sure looks good. I'm gonna give it a try some day soon. ^_^