Turbinado sugar is a sugar cane-based, minimally refined sugar. It is medium brown in color and has large crystals. It's often mistaken for traditional brown sugar because of its light brown color, but it's made in a different way. Many people consider it to be healthier than both white and brown sugars, since it is generally less processed and refined.
Uses and Storage
Recipes that call for turbinado sugar tend to use it as a replacement for traditional brown sugar. It contains more moisture than regular white or brown sugars, which can be beneficial in things like cookies or muffins. In contrast, one should not replace table sugar with turbinado in recipes that already have several ingredients providing moisture, to avoid making the end product soggy. It is sometimes possible to use turbinado sugar in recipes like these by reducing the amount of another moisturizing ingredient or using less sugar than is called for, but it may take some experimentation to get the final product to come out correctly.
Turbinado sugar is a popular topping for cinnamon cookies and toast, and is commonly used in graham cracker piecrusts. Chefs may also use it on creme caramel, since it melts and caramelizes well. Given its higher moisture content, it can harden if exposed to too much air. Manufacturers recommend storing it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
Some believe that turbinado sugar is a healthier alternative to other sweeteners because it undergoes less processing, and so retains more of the nutrients found in sugar cane juice. In addition, its method of production makes it suitable for vegans, since no animal byproducts are used. A teaspoon (about 4 grams) contains about a fair amount of calcium and potassium in addition to a negligible amount of iron. A cup (250 g) of this sweetener also contains magnesium, phosphorus, and sodium.