Saturday, August 23, 2014

Piloncillo As a Brown Sugar Replacement

Piloncillo after having been broken to small pieces with a mallet and then whirled in the food processor.

I wrote about making piloncillo syrup as a replacement for honey in baked goods and as a topping for breakfast foods such as pancakes and french toast. I used Penny from Penniless Parenting's method for making jaggery syrup, with a few changes.

To break up the piloncillo I placed it into a plastic bag and then pounded it with a mallet, breaking into small chunks. Then, because these small chunks weren't rock hard I took a chance at processing it in the small bowl of my food processor, and what I ended up with resembled brown sugar.

I don't use refined brown sugar in my kitchen; it is little more than white sugar that has had some molasses added back in. In some recipes sucanat makes a good replacement for refined brown sugar; I use it in my cinnamon roll filling and also in corn scones.

However, sucanat costs more per pound than piloncillo, and since when processed at home piloncillo resembles brown sugar I decided to give it a try in muffins. Piloncillo actually has much more moisture than sucanat does, more like refined brown sugar.

Later in my kitchen experiments I tried grating the piloncillo using a food processor doesn't work as well as breaking it up first and then using the food processor to quickly break down the smaller pieces. My strong Breville handled it just fine, but the heat generated softened the piloncillo to the point that it was in big clumps. So, I can't process several pounds of piloncillo for later use; it really is meant to be stored in the cone shape it comes in and then broken apart right before using.

So far l like piloncillo best as a brown sugar replacement in baked goods or toppings that are already meant to be moist. I also think it will work well as the sugar that the boys can put on porridge; I can process a small cone and use it for a few days.

Piloncillo is working for me as a honey replacement when made into syrup; I used it in cornbread and it was delicious, and we like it on french toast too. I've found that I don't love it as a honey replacement in bread; it makes the crust a little tough. Still, I will use piloncillo syrup on many applications and am glad to have discovered piloncillo as a replacement for brown sugar and honey!

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