Muscovado sugar production starts by extracting the juice of sugar cane, adding lime, and cooking the mix into a liquid and then cooling it to form sugar crystals. The molasses created during the cooking process remains in the final product, but some producers remove a portion of the molasses and manufacture a light variety. As a result, muscovado sugar is one of the least refined sugars available, resulting in a moist, dark brown sugar with a coarse texture. With the molasses present, it provides a complex, lingering flavor with hints of fruit and toffee and offers a mildly floral, yet bittersweet aftertaste that pairs pleasantly with other rich flavors. Its deep flavor shines in various confections like cakes, candies, and cookies, but also proves useful in a variety of robust dishes. Production ranges across the world from South America to Africa, and into Asia with India the dominant producer by country. Other names for muscovado sugar include Barbados sugar, dark brown molasses sugar, khand, or khandsari.
As production methods remain relatively free of technology and quite labor-intensive, marketers often present muscovado as an artisanal sugar. Muscovado sugar possesses the same number of calories as regular white sugar while providing trace amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium along with antioxidants including gallic acid and other polyphenols.
Using muscovado sugar in recipes calling for dark brown sugar brings added depth and richness to dishes. Resistance to high temperatures and impressive shelf life make it an ideal baking product. When substituting for brown sugar in recipes, many bakers advise to slightly reduce the liquid portion of the ingredients. Muscovado sugar brings life to rums and other alcoholic beverages, provides a nice smoky aftertaste in barbeque sauces, pairs nicely with chocolate, and some people stir it into coffee and tea. Finally, many interesting variations of the mojito use muscovado sugar as the sweetener.« Back to Glossary Index