The finest dark brown soft sugar - Unrefined Dark Muscovado is the world's finest dark brown soft sugar.
Its rich taste and natural colour adds depth to all your cooking and baking. Perfect for fruit and chocolate cakes, and adds extra depth to marinades, savoury sauces and chutneys.
A lovely box, bursting at the seams and a very tasty product. I love brown sugar, in fact my household does. White sugar gets used for the odd thing but is very much the second rate substitute. On opening this packet I was taken back to my childhood and memories of stealing spoonfuls of light and dark muscovado out of the baking cupboard. I like the taste of this product, even if it is slightly on the strange side compared to other sugars.
As I do lots of baking I decided to go for a savoury recipe to test the taste of this Billington's Unrefined Dark Muscovado Sugar and trawled through many BBQ sauce recipes and ended up making my own version. The sugar dissolved really well and didn't leave any grainy residue at all, it turned the sauce a nice deeper brown than would normally happen and added a sweet, rich taste to the sauce that held the other flavours really well. I was very impressed. The sauce recipe is here http://muffinmum.wordpress.com
I think that this sugar adds that bit extra to a sauce and I look forward to trying it in a sweet recipe. Something along the lines of an old fashioned fruit cake. I would certainly always make sure I have this in my baking cupboard.
I was chosen to review three of the Billingtons Natural Cane Sugars, and was really excited about it. I love experimenting and baking so could not wait for my parcel to arrive. It is always like Christmas receiving parcels from KIWIreviews and their suppliers, and this one was no exception.
Prior to arrival, I did a wee search online for recipes and things. I was already a fan of Billingtons facebook page so had a read through there too. I decided when my goodies arrived that I would have a go at making my first marinade and I would use the muscovado brown sugar in it.
The package arrived bright and early on a Saturday morning. A heavy package too. Upon opening I was very impressed with the Billingtons sugar packaging. I loved the simple yet classy look of the little boxes and how natural they looked. I was surprised at how heavy they were. They are small boxes jam packed with 500g of sugar, and I mean jam packed! None of this half filled packaging nonesence. This pleased me as I am not a fan of waste.
So as I already had the lamb racks out for Saturday nights dinner, I was quite excited about making my first marinade. I got the recipe out that I had found earlier in the week, and got everything together (the recipe called for brown sugar *muscovado was my choice*, whiskey *substitued for moonshine*, salt n pepper, garlic, etc). All to be popped in a bowl and combined.
Upon opening the muscovado I was blown away by the smell, very intense and to be honest not at all that nice. Another reviewer described it as similar to that of port royal tobacco and I would tend to agree. Smell aside it was a deep dark rich looking sugar. I measured the required amount and popped it in the bowl with everything else. I did find it did not dissolve and mix in as well as normal brown sugar would have, and a lot of it was still floating on top and settled at the bottom of the marinade when I went to pour it over the lamp racks, so the sugar kind of coated the racks. Later when it came to cooking, the racks cooked up fine. Te sugar that did not dissolve did not burn during the cooking procedure, in fact it formed a nice crusty coating on the racks which we all enjoyed.
All in all this went well in the marinade. I do not think I would use quite as much as is called for next time, as it is very very rich, and with the moonshine created quite a sweet taste. But we did like it, and I will definitely be using it as our sugar of choice for marinades in the future.
As an ex-smoker, I got a flush of nostalgia when I opened this pack... it smelled just like I remember a 50g pack of Port Royal did when first opened... and that actually put me off this a bit, I am sorry to say. However, for some, this won't be as big an issue as it is for others, so this was purely a personal impression.
As to the taste... RICH! Heavens it was full-on! I used it in a Mug Cake replacing regular sugar 1:1... it was too much. This is super sugar! I made another Mug Cake the next night and replaced the amount of sugar the recipe called for with HALF the amount of Dark Muscovado, and that was far better... so that's something worth keeping in mind. And, despite how much I was put off by the initial smell, the flavour enhanced the chocolate of the cake and imparted a slight tang to it.
I think this sugar would lend itself to smoky, musky or earthy flavours. Using it in a caramelised onion relish, to lend a slight lift to a creamy mushroom sauce, in a casserole, or as part of a marinade for BBQ or grilled beef would be astounding. I can easily see this as part of a smoky rib sauce, adding a depth and stickiness that would lift that sauce to something amazing.
Overall, this has somewhat less range of uses for me at this time of year, but I have vacuum-packed the box to keep it fresh and dry until closer to Summer, when I think I will need to buy another box or two in order to keep up with all of the amazing BBQ marinades I plan to make. For the Winter months it would be great to add a little to the liquid in the bottom of the roasting dishes, to help give a nice rich depth to the gravy.
This is the 2nd sugar I have used from Billington's, again I love the packets, they are simple and just easy to spot with a nice big B on the front and a small window on the side for checking the colour of the sugar. Now opening this up, I couldn't handle the smell as it smelled like a fresh new tobacco packet being opened which didn't go down too well for me.
I used this one in the caramel part of the buttercream icing to go on top of my cupcakes. Once I got through the smell, the taste was nice on its own but then hit me with a rich flavour, a bit too rich for my liking. But I carried on using it for my icing, it was easy to measure out and easy to mix together with the butter and cream in a pot, it melted down nice and quick and gave a nice texture and flavour to the caramel.
Once I had my caramel to room temp adding it to the buttercream was easy, it all mixed together and the sugar giving the icing a punch. I can describe it like a coffee flavour and gave the cupcakes a rich flavour. My kids loved the cupcakes with the sugars in it, and I liked it but can say I wont eat a lot of it. As much as I like that there is a nice refined dark sugar its not something I can personally handle but everyone else in my family seem to like it so will try it in some other things. It does make good flavours and a nice smooth texture finish too. its a good price and a good amount in there, in small amounts might be better for me, those that have a sweet tooth give it a go it will satisfied you
This was the first of the three Billington's sugars that I got that I tried. Have to say that I love the design on the packet, it's clear, not cluttered and yet looks stunning, I especially love the art in the big B.
I ended up making a batch of fudge in the microwave and decided that I would use this for it. My only problem was that I didn't think before I started to make it, so by the time I realised that my recipe called for nearly the entire packet it was too late to change or stop. The recipe that I used says that you add essence last but as I was tasting the mixture as I went (you know, chefs prerogative and all that) it tasted really good. In the end I added a little bit of whiskey but no essence as the sugar gave it a wonderful flavour without the need for the essence.
Due to using most of the sugar in one item, I didn't give myself much room to experiment, but, given how delish my fudge was (even though it never set fully) and that it didn't need any essence at all, I would happily buy this again.
Having made my biscuits using the Light Muscavado Sugar I then wondered what to make with this as it is a lot richer and moister than the Light Muscavado. I looked on the Baking Mad.com website to get some inspiration but there weren't really any recipes for the Dark sugars so I then looked on the Billington's UK website which I liked better as you can search for recipes applicable to each specific product. There seemed to be more recipes on here as well. I have taken note of some of the recipes and will get the ingredients so I can make some of them.
A lot of the recipes on the website required ingredients I didn't have so I decided to go with an adaptation of the Vanilla and chocolate angels and used the Dark Muscavado sugar in this. My kids are all about ginger bread shapes so I thought these would be a hit. But anyway, having exhausted myself a little with letting the kids help me with the biscuits, once we had made the dough I put it in the fridge and we decided to make the biscuits the next day when they got home from school.
The biscuits turned out a treat and all three kids had a lot of fun making their shapes and then eating them as soon as they had cooled down. The biscuits were not as crisp as normal and I think perhaps I should have used less golden syrup as the Dark sugar is a bit more syrupy so adds extra moisture perhaps? We took some into school for the teachers the next day and overall they were a hit. I would definitely make them again.
I really like this sugar and it does resemble golden syrup in taste. I have been having it on my porridge every morning and used it on pancakes as well. Although I would not use this quite as much in my baking as the Light I would use if for other things (ie porridge etc) or as a golden syrup substitute so would still look to have this in my pantry and I doubt it would get a chance to go out of date! Definitely worth trying and if you do like Dark sugars this is a must with such a great taste.
I love the colour of this Dark Muscovado, it's so dark and earthy. The texture is grainy, and slightly moist. It makes it easy to spoon out of the bag, which is good because the bag ripped poorly and I wasn't sure I could use it without making a huge mess.
This last week has been the birthday week. I had a one year old, a 6 year old and a 35 year old to cater for. So I set about making various different chocolate cakes for all of the celebrations. My favourite cake to make is a vegan chocolate cake. It stays moist for longer than my other chocolate cake recipe, which means I can make it slightly in advance of any celebration.
As I was making at least 6 batches of the cake mix, I experimented with varying levels of the Dark Muscovado ratio to white sugar. No matter what I did, the cakes came out delicious but I do think the Billington's gave the chocolate cake a fantastic flavour. I'm sitting here eating a left over cake and the after taste is that wonderful unrefined cane sugar taste.
Another thing I did was a chocolate pancake recipe. It was just like a chocolate cake recipe, but with eggs for pouring into a fry pan. I added some chocolate chips and made that as a special birthday breakfast one morning. My kids went nuts for them. I froze a portion of them and they did really well with that and defrosting. The flavour was excellent.
This was definitely my second favourite sugar. I would absolutely buy this again if I was planning on making more chocolate cake in future. A great addition and the foodie in me is just a little in love with the boxes as well. I love the art deco design.
When I opened the box of this the first thing that sprung to mind was licorice and I like licorice so was quite happy with that. It was darker than the light muscovado in colour and had a more intense scent so thought I would use it in some recipes that had a more deep flavour. The recipes I chose were a warm wild rice salad with soy sauce dressing and a batch of spice biscuits.
I had done a bit of research and found a lot of recipes using Muscovado sugar used spices so I decided to make spice biscuits with some mixed spice and ginger. When creaming the butter and sugar you would of thought I had stirred cocoa into the butter as it was such a dark brown colour. The resulting biscuits had a real golden brown colour and I thought the muscovado complimented the spices well giving the biscuits a rich flavour. My kids didn't like the biscuits though as they didn't think they tasted sweet enough as the Muscovado sugar I found doesn't make things as sweet as using refined white sugar.
I had seen that the Muscovado sugar also compliments coffee really well so decided to use some in my coffee. I really didn't like it very much though as it didn't give my coffee the same sweetness that my normal white sugar does and almost gave it a treacle taste. With some golden syrup and some of this sugar on porridge it is really nice, brown sugar and golden syrup are my favourite porridge topping and I really liked the difference the muscovado had. The sugar gave it a more treacle like flavour which was sweet but not sweet at the same time.
My favourite dish using this was the wild rice salad. The soy sauce dressing had olive oil, soy sauce, garlic, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of the muscovado sugar. The taste was amazing it was like a real sweet asian sauce which made such a great dressing for my rice salad. It worked really well with the soy sauce and made the dressing have such an aromatic flavour. I normally use light brown sugar so using this it was less sweet which is good in a savoury dish so would definitely use it again for this dish.
I have often seen muscovado sugar as an ingredient in recipes and thought I'll just use brown sugar because the only difference is the price. Today I cooked with Billington's Dark Muscovado Sugar and discovered that it tastes so different. The moment I opened the bag I could smell the difference. The preschoolers I was baking with all said "Yum" at the scent. It had more of a golden syrup smell and was a damper consistency too.
The first thing we made was the one egg chocolate cake from the Edmonds Cookbook. I substituted the golden syrup and sugar for the dark muscovado. I have made this recipe several times before and it is the one my Mum always uses but this was the best I have ever made. The sugar really conplemented the cocoa. The children all loved it. It is the only time I have seen a group of preschoolers all eat a cake without making a mess. Amazingly they didn't eat all the icing first either. I'll definitely be doing this one again.
Next I made some hokey pokey. I stupidly thought that I could substitute the sugar and golden syrup again. This didn't work as I needed some liquid to prevent the muscavado from burning so I added some golden syrup. The flavour of the muscavado was too strong and the children didn't like it. It was even too much for my sweet tooth.
The dark muscavado has a very deep colour and the children told me it looked like chocolate. I think they were right. My chocolate cake would have looked like a chocolate cake even without the cocoa. My baking today has shown me that this sugar is fabulous when used in the right recipe but be careful of it's strong flavour.
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