When Stella first wrote about toasted sugar, it changed everything. The process of making toasted sugar is as simple as very slowly baking white sugar until it takes on a darker hue and a nutty, caramelized richness. But the resulting flavor is anything but simple. If you don’t have time to make a full batch of toasted sugar—it’s not a fast process—you can make a quick version that doesn’t taste quite the same, but will certainly do the trick.
Incorporated into all sorts of desserts, toasted sugar adds a dimension of butterscotch-y sweetness. Here are our ten of our favorite ways to bump up desserts with toasted sugar. And if this isn’t enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, go crazy incorporating the nutty sugar into any of your favorite baked goods.
When we say this is the best hot chocolate, we mean it. Part of what makes this homemade hot chocolate mix so delicious is toasted sugar, which adds a richer flavor than regular sugar and is more soluble as well.
Toasting sugar is not a particularly fast process, so we developed a speedier technique for days when we really want that boost in flavor but don’t want to spend the time making another batch. That quickly made toasted sugar comes in handy for this stovetop butterscotch pudding, which gets much of its nutty flavor from the sugar and comes together in just 15 minutes.
Few other ingredients pair as well with toasted sugar as brown butter. Like toasted sugar, brown butter is a very simple ingredient treated with enough care to take it to new dimensions. Mixed into this cookie, the two sources of nutty, deep flavor come together to make a deceptively simple dessert taste richer than any other shortbread cookie.
One of the most magical things about toasted sugar is its almost savory character. While, of course, sugar will always be sweet, toasting brings out other flavors. That quality makes toasted sugar shine in this seven-minute frosting. The sugar is matched by the slight tartness of cream of tartar, and together the two ingredients create a frosting that is perfectly balanced and ready to spread on just about anything.
This isn’t the white cake you whip up (from a box) after remembering you promised to make someone’s birthday cake for a party later that day. It’s going to take some time to bring this one together, but ingredients like brown butter and toasted sugar result in a cake that is well worth every minute you spend on it.
Apart from the addition of toasted sugar, this is a pretty classic angel food cake. But the slight caramel edge the toasted sugar contributes to the iconic dessert takes it to a new level.
Toasted sugar finds its way into pretty much every component of these very sticky double-caramel sticky buns. The sugar is mixed into the filling, the dough, and the caramel topping, providing each tender roll with an extra kick of caramel flavor.
The flavor of almond works in perfect harmony with that of toasted sugar. Nutty sugar magnifies the subtle flavor of almond flour and works to bring out the powerful punches of almond and vanilla extract.
Sure, you can make this applesauce with regular sugar, but if you’re really invested, you’ll toast it. Toasted sugar brings out the floral flavor already present in cooked apples, which is further elevated with the addition of a few drops of rose water.
Ceylon cinnamon, ground cardamom, and plenty of other warm spices give these cookies their rich, aromatic character. The spice blend is met by deeply toasted sugar, which melds with the sharp and almost-savory flavor of the spices to create a cookie that is at once bold and comforting.
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