What is black sugar and how do you use it?

Black sugar might not be in your pantry but maybe it should be.

As foodies look for interesting flavors and food trends, black sugar might be the next food on the list. After Shake Shack added a Black Sugar shake to its new menu, it begs the question what is black sugar and why are people craving a taste?

Most people are familiar with a variety of sugar options. Traditional white sugar is the option that generally comes to mind. The simple sweetener is put in recipes, beverages and sometimes even a spoonful can help the medicine go down a la Mary Poppins.

In addition to white sugar, many people use brown sugar or powdered sugar for baking. From topping that creme brulee to making a simple whipped cream, those two sugar options are equally as well known.

Even though these sugar options are common, the types of sugar are many. Many cultures have their preferred sugar. In many cases, those sugars are a version of unrefined brown sugar.

Black Sugar is one of those types of sugars. Used in Asian cultures, this sugar hasn’t had the molasses removed from it. The flavor tends to have more caramel notes and can be a touch smoky.

The Japanese are highly touted for this type of sugar. There is even a particular season for making the special sugar. The Korean culture often uses the syrup in the popular whipped coffees or even Boba teas. It is one of the reasons why it is highlighted in the new Shake Shack menu.

Although it is often used in drinks, more bakers are discovering its use in dessert. Given the difference in flavor, it can bring nuance to many recipes. Whether used as the sugar itself or the syrup, it can have quite a difference in flavor.

As cooks and bakers are looking to evolve recipes, changing the sugar has a big impact. Just like some bakers turn to turbinado for certain recipes, black sugar can bring a different flavor and texture to many dishes.

Also, some people feel that this type of sugar is a better nutritional choice. Molasses is considered by some to be better choice. While all sugar needs to be used in moderation, sometimes the less processed option is their preference.

If you are looking for a new flavor experience, consider trying black sugar.