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Refined sugar is any type of sugar product that has gone through a process to enhance or refine the raw sugars obtained from sugarcane and other foods. While many people consider it to be nothing more than simple granulated table sugar, the fact is that this term includes several different types of sugar.
Granulated sugar is the most commonly used type of refined sugar and the type that most people are likely to consume on a daily basis. Ideal for use around the home, this type of white sugar dissolves quickly in hot beverages, making it ideal for use in hot coffee and tea. Many recipes call for the use of granulated white sugar, including those for baked goods such a cakes, pies, and breads. Granulated sugar also is often used to make glazes for many baked sweets.
Sanding sugar is another example of refined sugar designed for specific applications. With a coarser grain than granulated sugar, sanding sugar is often ideal for use in decorating cookies with frosting that will dry to a solid texture and remain in place on the cookie without running or smudging. This type of sugar also works well with cold desserts as it helps to sweeten the dessert while retaining an additional texture to the presentation.
Caster and super-refined sugars are two examples of products that are employed in the production of commercial food products. Super-refined sugar is often used in the creation of soft drink products, such as dry drink mixes and sodas. This same type of sweetener will also work better in creating meringues for pies than the standard table sugar.
Powdered sugar, also known as confectioner’s sugar, is used when a smooth texture is important to the final product. This type of sugar is ideal for creating cake icing and similar toppings, as it mixes well with other ingredients to make a smooth product that can easily be spread over the surface of the cake layers.
Unlike unrefined sugar, any refined product has been dried and processed to prevent too much clumping. This helps the sugar to maintain the proper consistency, something that may or may not be true with various types of organic sugar, such as pure cane sugar.