Produced from sugarcane, demerara sugar consists of large granules that provide a wonderful, crunchy texture in baking. The small amount of molasses naturally present gives it a light brown color and rich, caramel flavor. While most commercially available demerara sugar presently comes from Mauritius in Africa, the product originates from Guyana in South America, which was originally the port of Demerara in British Guyana.
Demerara sugar is made by first pressing sugarcane to extract sugarcane juice, then it is boiled and eventually thickens into a syrup. Once the water evaporates, the sugar cools and hardens. While white sugar undergoes more significant processing, demerara sugar undergoes just one cycle and as a result, it retains some trace amounts of vitamins and minerals. The retained minerals like chromium, cobalt, manganese, magnesium, and zinc are used by the body to digest sugars but are removed from white sugars during the refining process. The resulting demerara sugar crystals remain sticky to the touch and are slightly larger than white granulated sugar crystals.
Demerara sugar is used behind the bar in various syrups, used as sprinkles to decorate cakes, muffins, and other pastries. It is also added to hot beverages like coffee and tea, and its unique flavor elevates any recipe. Demerara sugar is widely available, but if necessary coconut, dark brown, light brown, maple, and turbinado sugars are all used as substitutes. Turbinado is preferred as its coarse texture is a close match to demerara’s texture and it possesses a subtle molasses flavor like demerara. If you must use granulated sugar as a substitute, add one tablespoon of molasses to each cup of granulated sugar called for in your recipe.« Back to Glossary Index