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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Making your own powdered sugar

by Lili Mounce

Have you ever been just a bit short on powdered sugar for a recipe you wanted to prepare? A couple of weeks ago I wanted to make some chocolate butter cream frosting, and found we didn't have enough powdered sugar. Here's the substitute I used.

I took my coffee grinder (hasn't seen coffee in years, but is used to make rice flour and grind spices), and filled 1/3 full with white granulated sugar. Whirred it for a minute or two and I had something very close to powdered sugar. It was fluffy and only had a bit of grain to it. I used it to make the butter cream frosting and we were all fairly satisfied. The frosting was only slightly grainy. (But no one complained, I'm just being totally honest in my assessment.)

But this week I found a better use for this homemade powdered sugar. I wanted to make lemon bars, but the recipe calls for powdered sugar in the cookie base and to top the finished bars. Again, I got out my coffee grinder and ground enough sugar for the recipe. Perfect! You'd never in your life guess that the lemon bars were made with homemade powdered sugar. I sprinkled the tops of the bars, as well.

I can see using this for sprinkling over brownies, cake, fruit, in iced tea, anything you might normally want commercial powdered sugar. I have a shortbread recipe that uses powdered sugar in place of granulated. Given the success of the cookie crust on these lemon bars, I feel confident that I'd be pleased with using homemade powdered sugar in that shortbread recipe. The price of a pound of commercial powdered sugar averages $1.50. I can sometimes find it on sale for $1/lb. The price of granulated sugar to make homemade powdered sugar averages about 75 cents/lb. That's half price!

If you already own a coffee grinder, and would like to give this a try, fill your grinder no more than 1/3 full. The sugar really fluffs up as it's being ground. Run the motor for a minute or two. Empty into a measuring cup or bowl, and process more, until you have enough for your recipe.

And if you're interested in making Lemon Bars, here's the recipe that I use.

Lemon Bars (from A Collection of the Very Finest Recipes ever assembled into one Cookbook)

1 cup (226.8 g) margarine
2 cups (240 g) flour
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) salt
1/2 cup (50 g) powdered (confectioner's) sugar (I use homemade powdered sugar)
4 eggs
6 tablespoons (90 mL) lemon juice (I use bottled)
6 tablespoons (45 g) flour
1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar

Mix margarine, flour, salt and powdered sugar, and pat into a 9 X 12 glass baking dish. Bake at 325 degrees F (162 C), for 20 minutes.
Mix eggs, lemon juice, flour and sugar; beat well. Pour on top of baked cookie crust. Bake 25 minutes more. Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar. Cut into bars.

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