"Discover Cooking, Discuss Life."

Go Back   Discuss Cooking - Cooking Forums > General Cooking Information > Cooking Resources > Substitutions
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 01-23-2008, 03:46 PM   #1
Senior Cook
 
seans_potato_business's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Posts: 261
Size of sugar grain (powder vs granulated): does it really matter?

I'm going to follow this funky recipe: http://www.discusscooking.com/forums...ies-39478.html

I note that it calls for granulated sugar and I want to suggest the idea that substituting all granulated sugar for any powdered sugar should make no difference. My suggestion is, if it's the same stuff, it's all gonna dissolve in exactly the same way, except that the granulated might take a little longer and a bit more stirring. I wanted to see if someone could explain why recipes call for powdered sugar if it's going to be dissolved?


Also, I don't have vanilla, so that's not going in, and I don't have an oven so I'm going to grill them :)

seans_potato_business is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2008, 03:50 PM   #2
Everymom
 
Alix's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Posts: 23,276
Think about the size of the crystal or grain. If you pack smaller molecules together you will get more in a cup than you would of larger sized molecules. Make sense?
__________________
You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. Robin Williams
Alix
Alix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2008, 03:55 PM   #3
Senior Cook
 
seans_potato_business's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Posts: 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alix View Post
Think about the size of the crystal or grain. If you pack smaller molecules together you will get more in a cup than you would of larger sized molecules. Make sense?
Is that the only relevance? If the ingredients were listed in grams, they'd be easily substitutable. I don't think the outcome of the recipe will be too different for want of a few grams of sugar... especially given all the other variability.
seans_potato_business is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2008, 04:07 PM   #4
Everymom
 
Alix's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Posts: 23,276
You aren't melting the sugar. You are creaming it into the mixture. So 1 cup of powdered sugar will make things vastly sweeter than 1 cup of granulated. If you have a food processor, toss some granulated sugar in there and buzz it til you have a cup.
__________________
You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. Robin Williams
Alix
Alix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2008, 04:09 PM   #5
Certified Pretend Chef
 
Andy M.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 48,212
Also, confectioner's (powdered) sugar contains cornstarch (cornflour). So if you could eliminate the cornstarch and measure by weight, it would be OK, except for the fact that the grain size of the granulated sugar is key to the creaming process in the first step.

The lack of vanilla will have a major impact on the flavor of the cookie and they very well may burn in the grill.

Overall, sounds like a great project.
__________________
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
Andy M. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2008, 04:13 PM   #6
Executive Chef
 
redkitty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 3,200
Peanut Butter cookies without vanilla?!?!?!?
__________________
Accentuate the positives, medicate the negatives ~ Amy Sedaris
redkitty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2008, 05:17 PM   #7
Head Chef
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Bloomington, IN
Posts: 1,129
Send a message via AIM to college_cook
Quote:
Originally Posted by seans_potato_business View Post
Is that the only relevance? If the ingredients were listed in grams, they'd be easily substitutable. I don't think the outcome of the recipe will be too different for want of a few grams of sugar... especially given all the other variability.


Baking is way different than cooking. A few grams can, and sometimes WILL make the difference between success and failure in a recipe. If you're baking, my advice is to follow the recipe as precisely as possible. Cookies aren't an incredibly complex baking undertaking, however changing the ingredients can easily affect the cookies flavor texture, cooking time, how far they spread out on your baking sheet, etc.

Also, as stated, powdered sugar also contains corn starch, and is not simply powdered granulated sugar.
college_cook is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2008, 05:25 PM   #8
Everymom
 
Alix's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Posts: 23,276
There is only about 1 tbsp of cornstarch in 1 cup of powdered sugar. So, just add that in accordingly if you wish. I have never done that when I had to buzz up some granulated sugar to sub in though.
__________________
You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. Robin Williams
Alix
Alix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2008, 06:53 PM   #9
Head Chef
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Illinois/USA
Posts: 1,343
Quote:
Originally Posted by seans_potato_business View Post
I'm going to follow this funky recipe: http://www.discusscooking.com/forums...ies-39478.html

I note that it calls for granulated sugar and I want to suggest the idea that substituting all granulated sugar for any powdered sugar should make no difference. My suggestion is, if it's the same stuff, it's all gonna dissolve in exactly the same way, except that the granulated might take a little longer and a bit more stirring. I wanted to see if someone could explain why recipes call for powdered sugar if it's going to be dissolved?


Also, I don't have vanilla, so that's not going in, and I don't have an oven so I'm going to grill them :)
What type of grill are you going to use? I have used honey roasted PB for these cookies so you can add some honey if you don't have vanilla. If you have cereal like cinnamon crunch or even frosted cornflakes you can crush them and add it as though it were nuts or raisins. World Famous Cookie Recipe calls for crushed plain cornflakes.
__________________
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." --- Thomas Edison
StirBlue is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2008, 06:59 PM   #10
Senior Cook
 
seans_potato_business's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Posts: 261
Thanks for the replies, everyone.

The grill is electric. You set it to a certain temperature. It's integrated into the microwave and I suspect but don't know for certain, that the microwave is employed as well... Anyway, I could set it slightly lower to prevent burning.
seans_potato_business is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2008, 07:13 PM   #11
Head Chef
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Illinois/USA
Posts: 1,343
I have made cookies & biscuits on my pizza oven and it works okay.

I have made cookies in the microwave but it is just a plain microwave and you have to adjust the fat in the recipes. (I don't use my stove oven at all during the summer)

Let us know how they turn out. My DS has made a few thousand smores on the GF Grill.
__________________
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." --- Thomas Edison
StirBlue is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2008, 09:50 PM   #12
Master Chef
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Cicero, IL
Posts: 5,093
We make these peanut butter cookies all the time and they are great:

Three ingredient peanut butter cookies:
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the peanut butter, white sugar and egg. Mix until smooth.
  3. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 6 to 8 minutes. Do not overbake! These cookies are best when they are still soft and just barely brown on the bottoms.
I have no idea of what will happen if you throw them on a grill....
Maverick2272 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2008, 09:54 AM   #13
Senior Cook
 
seans_potato_business's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Posts: 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick2272 View Post
I have no idea of what will happen if you throw them on a grill....
Nothing good! I don't know if it's the peanut butter used (they're bound to vary) or the cooking method but whatever I made, I wouldn't call it 'cookies'! When I took it from the microwave oven/grill, the oil was bubbling and I was actually able to drain a few mls of oil away. Thanks for the suggestion anyway. I'm gonna give the original recipe a try next (sans the lah-de-dah powdered sugar and vanilla). :)

Edit: by the way, a grill might be something else in American English; in English you'd say "throw it under the grill", since the heat comes from above. I think you guys call it a 'broiler' which IMO sounds too close to 'boiler'...
__________________
We don't inherit the Earth from our parents; we borrow it from our children.
seans_potato_business is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2008, 07:55 PM   #14
Master Chef
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Cicero, IL
Posts: 5,093
Oh thats a big difference! I imagine the heat must have gotten too high. I wonder if you can keep it turned down some or leave it open so the heat leaks out. Might help, but I honestly don't know.
Sounds like a lot of fun to find out! LOL.
Maverick2272 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2008, 08:48 PM   #15
Senior Cook
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 337
Hi Sean,
The answer lies in the physics and chemistry of food. The larger the grain of sugar, for example granulated (large), caster(smaller) and icing(tiny) (or powdered)? (after all, I am based in the UK) the longer it will take to melt and combine with other ingredients in a recipe to produce the results that you want. At the same time, the flour in a mixture must be cooked to ensure an edible product at the end of the cooking time. Thus, I would suggest that adding powdered sugar will result in a crisp product whilst granulated sugar will result in a chewy product. Now - which do you want?

Cakes, cookie/biscuits fall into the category of "fat, flour and sugar" mixtures and one changes the relationship between the ingredients used, especially the sugar, at your peril. There are a number of ways of incorporating sugar into a fat/flour mixture, namely creaming, whisking, rubbing in, melted method and kneading which is the traditional method for creating Scottish Shortbread. You might be able to substitute caster sugar for a soft brown sugar in a recipe but not soft brown for granulated due to the points that I have made above, nor indeed substuting icing sugar for granulated sugar in a recipe for a Viennesse Whirl/Princess biscuit (which is piped into shape prior to baking) and uses icing sugar.

The long and the short of it is that the size of grain, that is the size of the SUGAR grain does matter, and it matters enormously.

I hope this helps - if you have any questions - get back to me.

All the best,
Archiduc
archiduc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2008, 08:52 PM   #16
Senior Cook
 
seans_potato_business's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Posts: 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by archiduc View Post
Hi Sean,
The answer lies in the physics and chemistry of food. The larger the grain of sugar, for example granulated (large), caster(smaller) and icing(tiny) (or powdered)? (after all, I am based in the UK) the longer it will take to melt and combine with other ingredients in a recipe to produce the results that you want. At the same time, the flour in a mixture must be cooked to ensure an edible product at the end of the cooking time. Thus, I would suggest that adding powdered sugar will result in a crisp product whilst granulated sugar will result in a chewy product. Now - which do you want?

You mean to say that the sugar has not dissolved by the time it gets to the oven?
__________________
We don't inherit the Earth from our parents; we borrow it from our children.
seans_potato_business is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2008, 08:59 PM   #17
Senior Cook
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 337
Hi Sean,
No, I have said nothing about the sugar prior to it reaching the oven.
Archiduc
archiduc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2008, 09:18 PM   #18
Senior Cook
 
seans_potato_business's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Posts: 261
But if the sugar dissolves first, then the mixture should be exactly the same and therefore produce the same results, right?

Of course if not, then I guess melting comes into play. Anyway, I'd never considered melting or anything, and always assumed it was being completely dissolved so I guess that was my mistake. Thanks.
__________________
We don't inherit the Earth from our parents; we borrow it from our children.
seans_potato_business is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-03-2008, 07:27 PM   #19
Everymom
 
Alix's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Posts: 23,276
Um sean? How would the sugar melt in the recipe you have there? Just creaming it with the marg/butter wouldn't do that.

Just to reiterate, the difference is in the sweetness. If you have 1 cup of powdered sugar there are more sugar molecules in that cup because the grains are so small. You need to account for some wasted space in a cup of granulated sugar because of the grain size. Does that make sense?

And I'm not really clear here on your experiment. Are you trying to change the recipe to accomodate what you have in your kitchen or are you trying to bake them in a BBQ or both?
__________________
You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. Robin Williams
Alix
Alix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-03-2008, 07:53 PM   #20
Senior Cook
 
seans_potato_business's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Posts: 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alix View Post
Um sean? How would the sugar melt in the recipe you have there? Just creaming it with the marg/butter wouldn't do that.

Just to reiterate, the difference is in the sweetness. If you have 1 cup of powdered sugar there are more sugar molecules in that cup because the grains are so small. You need to account for some wasted space in a cup of granulated sugar because of the grain size. Does that make sense?

And I'm not really clear here on your experiment. Are you trying to change the recipe to accomodate what you have in your kitchen or are you trying to bake them in a BBQ or both?

The amount of space taken up the cup is a really poor justification for the use of a more expensive sugar... simply increase the amount of sugar used (i.e. more than "one cup"), or specify grams instead of cups?

The previous poster suggested that the purpose of using smaller sugar grains is for the difference created in melting--the larger grain providing a chewier cookie--and I suppose the melting occurs in the oven, given that the melting temperature of sugar is 146 C.

I'm not trying to cook them on a BBQ; in England, a 'grill' often means a "broiler" (a word I've never heard in England). Besides, my microwave oven might also be an oven. I don't know because there's no manual; it belongs to the landlord. I set the temperature, the light comes on and the platform rotates and a fan switches on and off intermittently. I've no idea what the fan is ventilating. Maybe it's circulating air inside the microwave, maybe it's cooling the magnetron.
__________________
We don't inherit the Earth from our parents; we borrow it from our children.
seans_potato_business is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:54 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.