The Non-Melting Sugar You Should Have In Your Pantry

No powdered donut, freshly made beignet, or batch of French toast is complete without a light dusting of powdered sugar. Not only does the ingredient give pastries and baked goods a beautiful finishing touch, it also contributes the perfect amount of extra sweetness in every bite. But put powdered sugar on something that's too hot or too moist and it'll eventually dissolve and disappear. Sure, you could continue piling on the powdered sugar when this happens, but you may risk an overly sweet outcome.

You know how powdered sugar melts in your mouth as soon as it touches your tongue? Well, the same effect occurs whenever it's exposed to any sort of moisture or heat because it's made up of refined sugar crystals. According to The Kitchn, an easy way to prevent your powdered sugar from doing this, or at least slow down the melting process, is to add cornstarch. 

A much easier and less chalky solution, meanwhile, is to use a completely different variety of powdered sugar.

Look for non-melting confectioner's sugar

If you're a home baker, you know that there are plenty of options when it comes to sugar. There's granulated, cane, brown, turbinado – the list goes on. But aside from these, the only finely ground sugars you may know of are powdered sugar and caster sugar. These options are great for frostings, creams, and custards, but if you're using it as a coating over a finished dessert, a similar processed sugar called non-melting confectioner's sugar is the best option.

While caster sugar and confectioner's sugar are both made with granulated sugar (one ground into fine crystals, and the other ground into fine powder, per Sugar Salt Magic), non-melting confectioner's sugar is instead made with dextrose and either fat or oil. As Cook's Illustrated explains, the added fat or oil both minimizes clumping and protects the dextrose from moisture, which means that when you dust it over baked goods with just the slightest bit of moisture, it won't dissolve. 

Non-melting confectioner's sugar, also called snow sugar or donut sugar, unfortunately isn't quite as sweet as powdered sugar, so it isn't a perfect substitute, but at least you're pretty pastries won't have a time limit.