It’s frustrating when you want to make cookies and your brown sugar is hard as rock. It’s enough to kill the whole cookie-making mood.
Don’t worry. All is not lost. It’s not necessary to pack up the kids and head for the nearest market for a fresh bag. (If the Damsel had to do that, she’d be hard pressed not to just buy cookies already made and save herself the trouble, as long as she was at the market.)
The Damsel recognizes that mood is important in cookie baking.
Grandma’s favorite trick was to put a piece of bread in the brown sugar container, make sure it was closed tightly, and come back the next day. “Tomorrow” is always a good day for making cookies.
Or, you could use slices of apple. Or a piece of lettuce. Or you could even soak a shard from a broken clay pot, and close that up with the boulder-o-brown-sugar. You can see a pattern begin to emerge–add moisture to the sugar in a controlled fashion. The Damsel testifies that this works, and the brown sugar is in “like-new” condition after a day or two.
But what if you need brown sugar NOW? The Damsel admits, there are times when your back is against the wall when it comes to cookies. Sometimes there’s just no waiting till tomorrow.
You can put the lump in the blender/food processor, if your machine is up to it. After a few ear-splitting minutes, you’ll have brown sugar powder, which can then be measured as usual.
Or, even easier, just nuke the thing. Put the sugar into an open container. Set a bowl of water beside it, and microwave for a minute. Check it…if it’s still not quite soft, you can go again, but just make sure you stop before it melts. That would be considerably worse than having it hard.
Or go old school, and heat it in a 250F degree oven. Check every few minutes until it’s soft enough to measure.
Here’s a brown sugar measuring shortcut: The Damsel does not do that thing where you pack the sugar into a measuring cup with a spoon. Just stick the measuring cup right inside the plastic brown sugar bag, and press the sugar into the measuring cup with your fingers–pressing from the outside of the plastic bag. Does that make sense?
Someone, please tell the Damsel she makes sense. Just once in her life.