Demerara Sugar: The Crunchy, Caramel Sugar

Demerara sugar is a large, crisp, sugar, perfect for adding a shimmering sheen and crunchy finish to any baked good. Demerara is also a good substitute for both brown and white sugar. Because it has the looks and the taste, we always have a bag of demerara on hand. 

History of Demerara Sugar

The name Demerara derives from the Demerara region situated in Guyana where the sugar originated. Sugarcane was cultivated and harvested from the Demerara region and turned into highly coveted sugar, making it synonymous with the region. 

Large grains are extracted from the sugarcane which look similar to brown sugar. The first known instance of Demerara sugar extraction can be traced back to the mid-1600s when Guyana was still under the control of the Dutch. However, most Demerara sugar production now takes place in Mauritius off the coast of Madagascar. 

Image Credit: Gabriela Sanda from Pixabay 

Flavor of Demerara Sugar

The essential difference between Demerara and regular sugar is its size. Demerara sugar has a bigger crystal size than white sugar, and is brown in color. Because Demerara sugar is minimally processed, it retains its original form and flavor. 

Demerara sugar has a sweet, caramel flavor with notes of toffee and molasses. Demerara sugar has a crunchy texture and will retain its crispness even after exposure to heat. Many health advocates substitute Demerara for brown sugar because it is minimally processed, which means it contains high levels of vitamins and minerals compared to other types of sugar. 

Culinary Benefits of Demerara Sugar 

Considering demerara sugar is a substitute for white sugar, it can be used in multiple ways. Most commonly demerara sugar is used as a finishing sprinkle on muffins and cakes. The natural caramel flavor of the demerara sugar can be used on a number of desserts. 

A simple yet effective dessert in which you can use demerara sugar is Cinnamon Sugar Monkey Bread. This dessert is simple to make, yet yields absolutely delicious results. The best part about this dessert is that you only need 4 ingredients and you can use demerara sugar as a brown sugar for a crunchier finish It is a delicious pull-apart dessert with rich cinnamon flavor. 

The other recipe you can use demerara sugar as a substitute for sugar is Cherry Clafoutis. This beautiful French dessert, which is prepared with cherries and custard cream, is traditionally sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar to finish, but you can use Demerara sugar as a substitute to increase the caramel flavor and add some texture. 

One summer dessert that we recommend for a minimal, yet effective use of demerara sugar is Summer Berry Crumble – it is the perfect summer dessert! This dessert consists of a mix of berries along with cinnamon, cardamom, and vanilla ice cream. Instead of light brown sugar, you can use demerara sugar as a substitute and the caramel-flavored sugar will enhance the taste and aroma of the dish overall. 

Of course, in simpler ways, you can also use the demerara sugar or the powdered version of it on biscuits and pies as well. The crunchy texture goes well with a smooth dessert such as custards or ice creams. 

Ways to Store Demerara Sugar

It is highly imperative to store Demerara sugar in an air-tight container so as to not let humidity and moisture ruin the crunchy texture of the sugar. Every time you use demerara sugar, make sure you shut the container properly and do not let too much air into it. We like to store demerara sugar in a moisture-proof sealable plastic bag in a container.

Feature Image: Flickr user wuestenigel ( CC BY 2.0 )

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