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tan319

Cassonade

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I have a new French pastry book where this product is all over the place.

A French friend of mine says " it's KIND of like brown sugar...

Can anybody elaborate?

Any info sincerely appreciated!

Thank you.


Edited by tan319 (log)

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kind of like a white sugar with a little impurities in it (mainly molasses). it's not like our brown sugar, as it's much more free flowing.

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I can't answer from a French point of view... but from a french-canadian point of view, brown sugar and cassonade are virtualy the same thing.

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Much of the brown sugar sold in the US is not true 'brown sugar' but is white refined sugar that has a bit of raw sugar syrup added back, then centrifuged (or spun) to attach it uniformily to the crystals. That action fluffs up the crystals, which is why most often you need to pack it into a measuring cup, as indicated in recipes. Sometimes you can even rub the grains between your fingers and the brown coating comes off. During the 60's, often people advocating eating brown sugar instead of white sugar, believing it was better for you, when in fact it has marginally more nutritional value. C and H brand is a true brown sugar. Much of the sugar produced in the US, and in France, in beet sugar. In France, although a great deal of sugar beets are raised, cane sugar is more prized and packaging, such as yogurt, will often promote itself as containing 'cane' sugar.

True brown sugar (such as turbinado, demerara, and cassonade) are the unrefined grains/crystals of sugar, ie crystallized syrup from sugar cane.

The softer brands of cassonade (like Daddy) are not dried out like the more free-flowing brands, like Saint-Louis. (some US manufacturers have tried introducing 'free-flowing' brown sugar, which is dried to be free flowing and to prevent it from clumping together).

You can use cassonade like brown sugar in any recipe. The Daddy brand of soft, moist dark cassonade sugar is sublime, but for some reason, a bit more difficult to find. Auchan carries it.


Edited by David Lebovitz (log)

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Thanks for your replies, for some reason notices aren't getting emailed to me even though I'm tracking the subject.

Anyways, what do you think are the chances of me finding it in the US?

Just for jollys?

Is there a shop in NYC for French food like, say. Myers of Kiswick is for UK foods?

Thanks for any info.

T

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Thanks for your replies, for some reason notices aren't getting emailed to me even though I'm tracking the subject.

Anyways, what do you think are the chances of me finding it in the US?

Just for jollys?

Is there a shop in NYC for French food like, say. Myers of Kiswick is for UK foods?

Thanks for any info.

T

You can find turbinado sugar in the bulk section or baking section of most co-ops in the U.S. It's definately at Whole Foods. At coffee shops, you see it in those little brown packets called "Raw Sugar."

Good luck!

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Welcome to the forum, mzimbeck!

I thought turbinado was *unprocessed* sugar?


Edited by Susan G (log)

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Welcome to the forum, mzimbeck!

I thought turbinado was *unprocessed* sugar?

Thanks!

I suppose it's all processed, since it doesn't drift off the cane in granular form. But I think turbinado is from the "first pressing," before they remove the molasses that, as David Lebovitz says in his posting, is subsequently put back in to make what Americans know as "brown sugar." Cassonade in France, as far as I can tell, is no different from the turbinado or "Raw Sugar" that I used in the States.

I've never substituted cassonade/turbinado in recipes that call for US-style brown sugar (like for the oatmeal brown sugar cookies I adore), but someone on this thread said it's fine so I'll give it a try.

Meg


Edited by mzimbeck (log)

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A complex question.

This is what I understand of the French unrefined sugar situation:

CANE SUGAR

Cassonade: partially refined cane sugar, medium-sized powder, more or less free-flowing according to the brands. Not a totally appropriate name though: it seems that cassonade, originally, is dried raw cane sugar. This one is lighter-colored. Turbinado sugar is rather close to cassonade. Color: light brown.

Sucre roux: similar to cassonade. May be free-flowing or pressed into rectangular rocks (or into squarish, irregular rocks, i.e. La Perruche sugar rocks).

Sucre brun: the name is not commonly used. Should be used though for raw cane sugar (sucre brut).

Sucre brut, sucre muscovado, sucre mélasse, sucre brun, vergeoise de canne: THAT is the real sucre brun, and sometimes it is called "cassonade". Identical to piloncillo, panela, cane jaggery. It is the raw cane sugar, i.e. evaporated cane juice, containing the molasses. Color: from medium brown to dark brown. Comes as as granulated mass, more or less moist. May be pressed into cakes.

The best qualities of sucres roux, bruns or cassonades may be found in health food stores and "épiceries fines". Sometimes Demerara sugar may also be found there.

BEET SUGAR

I won't mention the white refined versions, only the two local, interesting varieties:

Vergeoise blonde: raw powdered sugar, fine-textured and moist, not free-flowing, obtained from beets. Much used in the North of France and Belgium. Color: light brown.

Vergeoise brune: absolutely the same, only dark brown. Often, it is simply called "vergeoise".

To make things more complicated, brown cane sugar may sometimes be called "vergeoise de canne".

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I phoned a friend who is from France who does a lot of baking and asked her what she uses as a substitute for cassonade. She says the brown sugar we get here is not the same. She will use turbinado in a pinch, but prefers to get a "cone" of jaggery and grates it off the cone with a fine wood rasp to get the granular structure that is her preference, i.e. uneven granules.

She buys the jaggery at an Indian market. She says it has a lot of flavor, not just the sweetness and contains a lot of minerals that contribute to the "wholeness" of it.

She says that cassonade in a recipe is intended to add texture and subtle flavor, not just sweeten it.

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