Please explain these sugars to me!

Are sanding sugar and pure cane sugar the same thing?
I've been on the hunt for sanding sugar and just gave up because I didn't want the colored kind. I resorted to purchasing pure cane sugar but didn't know if it was the same thing? I'd prefer to purchase the sugar in a store as opposed to online if possible.
(It's for cookies-to top them with).

  • Posted by: skittle
  • June 23, 2011


boulangere June 23, 2011
Demerara (sometimes called *raw* sugar, thought it truly isn't) would be a pretty good substitute if true sanding sugar were unavailable. It's kind of like sanding sugar's brown sugar cousin. Its brownish color from the molasses isn't always desirable on true white baked goods, and its granule is smaller than AA sugar.
susan G. June 23, 2011
How about using Demerara sugar, with coarse crystals? It costs more than white sugar, but less than this sanding specialty sugar. If it serves the purpose, I'd go for it.
Panfusine June 23, 2011
Wow... Thank you for the information about sugar boulangere.. Really informative for all foodpickle readers!
boulangere June 23, 2011
Great! You're on your way.
skittle June 23, 2011
Yes! I was looking for a decorative finish.
I had seen some in the craft store and the "vanilla" had sort of a dirty brown color.

So they are indeed different then.
I do appreciate the explanation.
boulangere June 23, 2011
Ok, it's not all as scary as you think it is. First, the easy one: pure cane sugar refers simply to sugar that has been refined from sugar cane, not sugar beets. I don't have a deep brand loyalty to buckets of products, but I do stand behind C&H Sugar, especially their brown sugar. It is milled with a portion of sugar cane's molasses still in it, whereas lesser brands of brown sugar are made with beet sugar to which molasses has been added, as beet sugar contains no molasses. Sanding sugar is also called AA (double-A) sugar. It's quite coarse, and is used as a decorative finish for many types of baked goods: think cookies, muffins, scones, for example. It's usually available in the cake decorating aisles of craft stores. You'll pay fortune for a small amount, so if you plan to use much, it might be worth going here and ordering a box of it for less than $20. Sanding sugar comes in different colors, but it sounds like you want the good old plain white. I hope this helps you.
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