It’s a rock hard, brown lump in your cupboard. What is it? … brown sugar of course!
You can microwave it, you can put a slice of bread or apple in with it …. or you can just stop buying brown sugar and make your own! It’s cheaper, easy to do and you never have to worry about your brown sugar going hard. All you have to do is mix in about 1 tbsp of molasses for every 1 cup of white sugar. Sprinkle the molasses all over the sugar, mix well with a wooden spoon and then use your hands to just rub it all together if there’s spots not mixed in.
Depending on how dark you like your brown sugar you can add another tbsp of molasses. Personally, I use blackstrap molasses. It’s high in minerals (including iron) and it has a nice complex flavor. Well, I think so anyway, but it may be an acquired taste.
Molasses is what’s left over when the sugar crystals are extracted from sugar beet or sugar cane juice. The first extraction yields molasses which is still quite sweet and is called “first molasses.’’ Boiling molasses and crystallizing sugar out of it again leaves “second molasses’’ and if you do it again, it is called “third molasses,’’ or “blackstrap molasses.’’
Now the best part of this recipe is the broiled icing. It’s much easier than making traditional icing and you don’t have to let the loaf cool to ice it. This icing keeps the loaf so moist and adds a nice crunch. My cooking lab professor in university told be about this icing recipe in the Joy of Cooking two years ago and I have been wanting to make it every since. I’m so sad I waited so long! This icing is AMAZING. I’m going to try the coconut version of it on carrot cake next!
Feel free to play around with the spices in this loaf. I just guesstimated the spices I used the best I could. I brought the loaf — if I call it loaf and not cake that makes it better for me right? — into work the next day and all the dietitians were raving about it, demanding the recipe and left me none to take back home! How rude.
Applesauce Spice Loaf with Broiled Icing
adapted from all-recipies
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 egg
- 1 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/2 tsp (or up to 2, if you love it like me) ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- Optional: chopped nuts, raisins (I usually leave these out)
recipe from The Joy of Cooking
- 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 3 tbsp butter, melted
- 3 tbsp heavy cream (I just used milk since I had it)
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans, almonds or walnuts) and/or shredded sweetened coconut
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/8 tsp salt
Applesauce Spice Loaf
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 inch baking pan.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the butter, brown sugar and egg until smooth. Stir in applesauce. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and spices; stir into the applesauce mixture until well blended. Add some chopped nuts or raisins if you like! Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a tooth pick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
- Place your oven rack 5-8 inches or so below the element and turn the broiler on.
- Combine all icing ingredients and stir until smooth.
- Spread all of the icing on the loaf while still warm (make sure it doesn’t all go out to the sides)
- Broil until the icing is starting to brown and bubbling all over, the longer you broil it the crunchier the topping gets but be very careful not to burn it (watch it closely- it only takes a few minutes!) – you may have to shift the pan a few times to make it even
Completely cool the loaf in the pan on a wire rack (I let it sit out overnight). This loaf is the best a day or so after baking… it just keeps getting moister!