How To Soften Brown Sugar Without Any Appliances, If You Have The Time

We love brown sugar for its deep flavor, color, and the way it gives desserts like our over-the-top cookie cake and miso chocolate lava cake a hint of molasses flavor. What we don't love about brown sugar? How it can get as hard as a rock when the moisture evaporates, which can start happening as soon as you open the package. There are a few different ways to prevent this from happening, but if you don't want to get any extra dishes dirty, you can accomplish this goal with a slice of bread.

Here's what to do: Pour your brown sugar into a zip-top bag or other air-tight container, then add in a slice of bread. Let it sit overnight, and the moisture in the bread will permeate into the sugar, softening up those hard blocks. Of course, this method doesn't work if you need your sweetener ASAP, but as long as you can wait one day, you'll get loose sugar crystals with hardly any effort.

Bread adds moisture to brown sugar

You'll want to place the slice of bread over the top of the brown sugar, not under it, so moisture can seep down into your sweetener. And keep in mind that while this is an effective, hands-free softening method, the bread will absorb a little of the sugar's molasses as well, which can alter the flavor. It should only affect the top layer, however, so if this bothers you, simply scrape it off and use the good stuff underneath.

If you don't happen to have bread around, you can use apples to the same effect. Simply place a couple of apple slices in an air-tight container over your brown sugar, let it sit overnight, and it should soften right up. This may make your crystals taste a little apple-y as they absorb some of the fruit's juices. You may not want this for every recipe, but it works perfectly for fall desserts (or even these apple chutney-stuffed pork chops).

But if you're in a time crunch and want to add a little moisture to your sugar, you can also use the bread slice trick in the microwave. Just pour your sugar into a bowl, add a slice of bread, and secure everything together with plastic wrap. After up to 20 seconds in the microwave, it should be good to go. But if you're not in a rush, save yourself the extra step and let it sit overnight.