Soften Hardened Brown Sugar With A Kitchen Product You Already Have

Have you ever gone into your cabinet, grabbed the brown sugar, and opened it, only to realize it's been months since your last batch of chocolate chip cookies, and the once soft sugar has now hardened into a solid brick? If you've kept brown sugar in your pantry in any capacity, you know how easily it can go from crumbly and delicious to unbreakable and hard as a rock. Luckily, there are super simple ways to transform your brown sugar back into its original form, and you probably have everything you need on hand in your kitchen already.

The key to reviving your brown sugar is simple: paper towels. It seems too good to be true, but placing a damp paper towel over your bag or bowl of brown sugar for a few hours will easily take it from solid to soft again. Just make sure that the paper towel isn't too damp and doesn't touch the sugar — you want your sugar softened, not dissolved.

Why does this work, and are there any other ways to soften the sugar?

Brown sugar hardens after you open it because it loses moisture as soon as it becomes unsealed. Once inside the package, air dries out the crystals and the molasses in the sugar, thus creating that brick of sugar you dread finding in the middle of a baking session. This hardening doesn't make the brown sugar bad or unable to be used; you just need to inject moisture back into it, which the paper towel trick does perfectly.

So, what if you find yourself at a loss for paper towels or don't have a few hours to wait for the sugar to become usable? There are plenty of other ways to soften brown sugar. The Pioneer Woman recommends using the microwave — just place the hardened sugar in a microwave-safe bowl with a damp paper towel covering the top, and microwave for twenty seconds at a time. If you have more flexibility on your hands, place a piece of bread or apple slices in your brown sugar container and wait twelve hours; the moist bread or fruit will give new life to the sugar. You could also invest in a brown sugar bear made of terracotta to solve your problems. After wetting the bear and patting it dry, you only need to place it in with your sugar, which will keep it soft for months.