When I reorganized my baking pantry, I made a vital mistake: I stored my brown sugar in a container with a broken latch. It wasn’t airtight, and brown sugar loses moisture quickly, so I was soon left with a dry, hard, packed mass of brown sugar. This isn’t exactly conducive to baking, but I didn’t want to toss the entire container out. Luckily, hardened brown sugar is easy to remedy!
Here’s the best way to soften brown sugar:
Transfer the brown sugar to an airtight container. Cover it with a layer of plastic wrap, pressing it down against the top surface of the sugar, and top the plastic wrap with a damp paper towel. Seal the container and allow the brown sugar to sit for a day or two. At the end, the brown sugar will be soft again, and it will stay that way. Seal it up…airtight this time! It should stay soft.
But if you are in a pinch and need soft brown sugar ASAP, try this:
Microwave the brown sugar in a bowl covered with a damp paper towel for 15 second intervals until soft. As the brown sugar cools, it will harden again, but this will make it soft enough to measure out and work with.
To avoid hardened brown sugar altogether:
Store it in an airtight (truly airtight– no cracks in the lid like I accidentally did!) container. Store in a cool, dark place.