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Save Money with Delicious Homemade Sugars

Frugal Parenting (featured column)
by Rachel Keller

The cool crisp days of autumn are the perfect time for baking homemade goodies. Instead of running out to the store to purchase specialty items, take stock of what you have at home and try making your own brown sugars, powdered sugar, flavored sugars, colored sugars, and sweetened condensed milk.

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Powdered sugar and brown sugar are often more expensive than granulated sugar. While sugar is best avoided, birthday cakes and treats are great for special occasions. Do you know that you don’t have to buy brown sugar or powdered sugar? And have you ever tried making your own flavored sugar?

By making your own sugars, you won’t have to store several different types of sugar. Using granulated sugar, you can make the other sugars as needed. To make powdered sugar, place granulated sugar into a blender and process on a very high speed until the sugar gets powdery.

Brown sugar is very simple to make. Combine molasses with granulated sugar. The more molasses you use (or if you use black strap molasses) your brown sugar will be darker. Just use a fork to blend the two together until you have no lumps.

Homemade brown sugar looks and tastes better than store-bought brown sugar.

Flavored sugar is also easy to make. For about a pound of lemon sugar, remove the zest from 3 lemons. (You can use a citrus zester, a vegetable peeler, or a paring knife to remove the zest.) Place the zest and 1 cup of sugar in a food processor or blender. Pulse about 3 minutes until zest is finely ground. Remove the mixture and combine it with the remaining cup of sugar, tossing until evenly mixed. Then you will need to spread the lemon sugar on a pan to dry. (This usually takes about an hour at room temperature.)

Now, that you’ve sampled lemon sugar, why not try lime or orange sugar? Any of these sugars look great on top of sugar cookies.

Holiday-shaped cookies (whether for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, or any other holiday) always look pretty with colored sprinkled sugar on top. Don’t pay the exorbitant prices for those little bottles of colored sugar, when you can make your own for far less. Just take some granulated sugar and add a drop or two or the desired color. Mix together and voila! Your own colored sugar! If you have the bottles from store-bought containers, just refill those, or you can use small glass or plastic jars.

Get free cookie recipes at AllHomemadeCookies.com and CookieClubRecipes.com.

You can also make your own glaze for cinnamon rolls, cakes, sweet breads, etc. Just mix a little milk with some powdered sugar until you have the consistency you desire. Add just a little bit or your glaze will be too runny. You can always add more powdered sugar if the glaze gets too runny. Other options include adding a little vanilla or other flavorings and even food coloring to tint to desired color.

Do you need a can of sweetened condensed milk for a recipe? Make your own by combining a ½ cup of cold water, 1 1/3 powdered milk, ¾ cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir the milk into the water. Heat on the stove until steaming or microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute, then stir in the sugar and vanilla. The consistency will be thin. Cool in the refrigerator before using. This makes the equivalent of one can.

Have a homemade sugar you like to make? Contact us, we'd love to hear from you!

Do something special this holiday season by creating some of your own sugars. Happy baking!

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Copyright © 2011 by Rachel Keller. All rights reserved.

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