To ensure that it keeps well over time, brown sugar may be frozen. When you want to thaw it, the process is simple, but you have to pay close attention to what the sugar is doing as it thaws. You can choose the slow method or the quick method of thawing your brown sugar. The slow method is preferable. But if you have a baking emergency and need brown sugar right away, the quick method may come in handy.
Slow Method: Remove the brown sugar from the freezer. If you stored it in a container with solid sides, you won’t need a bowl. If you froze it in the bag in which it was sold, place the bag in a bowl. Do not attempt to remove the sugar from the bag. Let the brown sugar rest undisturbed on a counter, at room temperature, for 30 minutes. Begin breaking up the sugar with a spoon. If it’s still too hard, wait another 30 minutes and try again. Stir the brown sugar as it thaws. If the brown sugar has been in the freezer for a long time, it may have developed ice crystals. Stirring the brown sugar as it thaws helps to distribute the moisture evenly so the sugar doesn’t clump.
Quick Method: Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Place your frozen container or bag of brown sugar on a counter near the oven. Spread the brown sugar out on a sheet pan. You may have to wait until the oven has finished preheating before the brown sugar will have thawed enough to do this. Don’t worry if the sugar is chunky or clumpy, or even if it’s in a single big lump. Place the sheet pan in the oven once it has preheated. Set the timer for 5 minutes. Try to break up the sugar chunks with your spoon when 5 minutes have elapsed. Set the timer for another 5 minutes. Continue baking the brown sugar at 250 degrees, checking it every 5 minutes, and stirring and breaking up the sugar as it thaws. Remove the brown sugar from the sheet pan once it has thawed completely. Use immediately or allow to cool so you can store it in the pantry. Do not refreeze.
Brown Sugar Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar (any kind)
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp sugar, for topping
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla extract. Gradually blend in the flour mixture until dough comes together and no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Place sugar in a small bowl. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar before placing on baking sheet. Allow about 2-inches between cookies to allow for spread.
Bake for 11-14 minutes, until cookies are set and very lightly browned around the edges.
Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 3-4 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.