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Belgian Pearl Sugar (ounce)
Pearl sugar tastes very sweet! It has an interesting texture in the mouth as it is very compact sugar, so it’s not grainy but instead more powdery and smooth.
Pearl sugar is a very unique because it can withstand higher baking temperatures, and as such there is really no perfect substitute for it. This is especially true in traditional recipes, like the recipe for the liege waffle. Pearl sugar is most notable for its use in liege waffles, though it can be used in a variety of things. You can use pearl sugar like a garnish on muffins or cookies or even sweet breads. In Finland, a mildly sweet, cardamom flavored bread is made sweeter with pearl sugar. In Germany this sugar is called Hagelzuker and it’s used traditionally in Christmas cookie recipes and on rolls and cinnamon buns.
When included in doughs, the pearl sugar will form little pockets of sweetness. Some of the outer bits of the sugar may break down a bit, forming a syrupy pocket around the remaining solid pearl sugar bead and suspended within the baked good, so when you bite down you ideally get both that syrup in your mouth and the solid pearl sugar as well.
Pearl sugar is made from beet sugar. The sugar is made through a process involving thinly slicing the beets and adding them to water so the sugar can be extracted. The beets are added to a vat of water and the water is made sweeter by the juices of the sugar beets. Once the sugar beets have given as much sweetness to the water as possible, the solids are removed and then pressed to ensure maximum extraction. This sweetened water is purified and heated so it can reduce into a concentrated syrup. The concentrated syrup is then dehydrated and the sugar begins to crystalize. Once crystalized, the sugar is compressed and then sifted so the sugar pearls can be separated from any loose sugar crystals.