The trick to keeping brown sugar soft

It's happened to you before. You've stumbled across an amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe. You scroll the ingredient list and see that it calls for brown sugar. You know it's in the cupboard somewhere, and after a few minutes of searching, there it is. There's only one problem. It's been awhile since you've used it and it's hard as a rock. Good thing we've rounded up a few surefire ways to keep brown sugar soft so that you'll never have to put your baking on hold again. 

When brown sugar is exposed to air, the molasses in it quickly loses moisture. This is what causes the sugar crystals to stick to each other and harden (via Taste of Home). To keep this from happening, all you need are a few simple ingredients. You most likely have at least one of them already in your kitchen.

Food52 recommends putting a slice of bread in with your brown sugar after opening it. Brown sugar isn't picky either. You can use anything from a pre-sliced supermarket loaf, to a slice of homemade bread, to a fancy chunk of French bread. The brown sugar will pull the moisture from the bread to keep it soft. The same goes for marshmallows and apple slices, which will actually soften hardened sugar after a day or two (via Epicurious).

If the idea of placing food in with your brown sugar isn't your first choice, you may want to opt for an adorable teddy bear made from terra-cotta. Simply soak your terra-cotta bear in water for half an hour and then place it in with the brown sugar, where it can lend its moisture to the sugar. This method will keep things fresh and soft for up to six months. After that, all you have to do is put the bear back in water and repeat the process again (via Curbly).

Perhaps the simplest way to keep brown sugar soft, though, is making sure it's stored the right way. Since air is what causes brown sugar to harden, Serious Eats says that all you need is an airtight container — no bread slices or clay bears required. They recommend a container that is designed for canning because the top is lined with a rubber gasket that will ensure the most airtight and long-lasting seal for your brown sugar.

Now you won't have to be disappointed the next time you're ready to bake something sweet that calls for brown sugar. Put any of these tips to the test and no matter how long between baking you go, your brown sugar should be soft and ready to use.