Muscovado Sugar

Muscovado sugar is another so-called “raw” sugar that’s made not at a refinery but the original sugar mill. As opposed to lighter “turbinado” and Demerara sugar, muscovado has quite small crystals. It’s a product of later crystallizations — the second or even the third — which means the molasses that coats it is much thicker and darker. It’s also usually air-dried instead of being spun in a centrifuge.

In many ways muscovado is similar to a refinery brown sugar (though the muscovado pictured above isn’t especially dark as these sugars go). It’s soft and strong tasting with all the deep caramel, mineral and acetic acid vinegar-like notes. However like other raw sugars it retains some of the brighter vegetable or grass-like flavors that refinery brown sugars don’t have. It can be used in any application that calls for brown sugar.

Oh, and the name comes from an arcane Spanish word meaning “separated out” or “reduced” (makes sense when you consider how crystal sugar is made). Muscovado also goes by the name of “Barbados” sugar (where a similar product was originally made) and also “moist” or “molasses” sugar.

11 thoughts on “Muscovado Sugar”

  1. Interesting to note that I had never seen muscovado sugar until after I had moved to Sweden. After I moved here I mistook it for what I wanted, and when I finally came to that conclusion, I stuck with it. I chose it cuz the stuff here was the closest I could find to the states, whats labeled brown sugar isnt and wasnt nearly what I was used to, I do remember buying a few and poking and tasting. haha.
    the brown –
    and the muscovado

    Yes its the UK site, same company, I figured you would want the english version.
    I have wondered which syrup of theirs is what I need for a corn syrup replacement
    Any idea?

    1. As Mr. Spock would say: fascinating. The light syrup is the best of these choices as a corn syrup replacement. It’s a first strike cane molasses by the look of it (I’ll explain what that means next week). The dark syrup looks more like a black strap (stroop) molasses, and could be either a cane or beet molasses.

      The white syrup is probably a simple syrup of some sort, and the light + dark is a malt syrup that you can use for bagels and such. Not a bad selection, really. I think you’ll do well with your baking there!

      – Joe

      1. The dark which I thought might be a good replacement for molasses is way too liquidy for what I think of as molasses…about as viscous as all the other syrups. and not opaque enough. In the UK you can actually buy molasses (treacle?)
        I do plan on visiting sometime so I’ll probably get some then, or make someone send me some. 🙂

      2. I checked those bottles I have at home, and none of them is malt syrup – I think all Dansukker syrups are from caramelized sugar or, in best case, cane molasses. That makes hard to find substitute for corn syrup, because, as you explained to my question regarding replacement in pie recipe, corn syrup is less sweet than sugar syrup.

        Big thanks for this sugar series, finally I know what is what – and can find appropriate products here; Demerara and Muscovado are somehow more popular and available in stores (maybe because we never had any “wet” sugars among household products and don’t know what to do with them), but in few places brown sugars in American sense can be found too.

  2. Just had a thought. How about Asian sugars? Palm sugar and all the other cake-like ones you can get at Asian shops? The labels are less than informative to a monolingual English speaker.

    I would suggest liquid glucose as a substitute for corn syrup. You can get it at home-brew supply places and supermarkets here. Cake decorating places should have it too. Often it IS corn syrup, but can be made from other stuff.

    1. Hey Bronwyn!

      I have a few more up my sleeve. Some of the real exotics (palm for example) I may not be able to source here in Kentucky but I can always add them later as I find them! Also I’ll add some syrup s next week. I think I still have some glucose around…


      – Joe

      1. Have you tried a Whole Foods Market? That’s where I got palm sugar when a recipe called for it.

        Alternatively, I could probably send you the rest of the package as I don’t know when or how I’d use up the rest.

        1. I checked the one here in town yesterday just to see, but they didn’t have any. Honestly I’m not sure what I’d use it for, but I’ll keep and eye out and publish a picture…eventually! 😉

          – Joe

  3. Are there no Asian markets in Kentucky?

    That’s where I get mine. I’ve always found it pressed into hard disks, about 4 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick. I am not certain that it tastes much different from other less refined sugars.

    If you find yourself in the mood to do any more exploring, I’d love to know more about pilancillos (mmmmm, my fav) and jaggery.

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