Grinding Sugar Crystals!

Why do I need to grind sugar crystal where it is readily dissolves in most applications. The likes of sweetening coffee, juices, tea and the likes. There are tons of water molecules to suspend the sugar apart. Sweet taste perceived by tongue less the grainy undesirable texture.

Well, there times when we want sugar to be there but never want to feel it. And there are times when we want both. If someone is fond of eating plain sugar, then he wants both feel and taste. The same is true for empanada where sugar crystals are sprinkled on top.

Sometimes the sugar never melts that easily as expected. The case where the mixture is relatively dry. No enough water molecules to suspend the sugar crystals apart. The solution in hand is use a pre-pulverized sugar like confectioner and caster sugar.

Where am I using powdered sugar for? If you have read my previous articles, then you might have a pretty good by now. I am using it for 70% bean-to-bar chocolate. Chocolate of only two ingredients, cocoa liquor and sugar.

In this specific case, I am using white crystallized sugar. Grinding it together with cocoa nibs to get acceptable particle size. Although cocoa while being ground is in liquid state, it is pretty much dry. The thing that is making it liquid is the average 50% butter. Grinding the two ingredients together is the only way to reduce particle size and make the mixture homogeneous. I tried mechanical mixing, without physical grinding, and it just don’t work.

My method works just fine. However, it puts a great burden to grinder. The cocoa liquor is becoming thick, acting like a glue, holding the two burrs together, slowing the grinder to the point it stops. I have to pour it as slow as possible to reduce burden and prevent grinder stops. A very slow process, but, subsequent re-runs are breeze.

I am convinced I need to do something about the sugar before mixing with the pre-ground liquid. Pulverized it before adding to liquid would be nice. It will surely make grinding faster and easier.

I thought of using confectioner’s sugar. It is sure fine enough. But, before I can do a trial I found out it contains cornstarch. I never know the percentage. Maybe a little or more. I never dared trying once I found this out. Why would I want corn starch in my chocolate. I never want the two ingredient recipe to become three. Second, it is a thickening agent. It is like solving one problem and replacing it with another.

And then came the “caster sugar”. A customer suggested it to me. I searched for it immediately and found out it is rather expensive. I guess it is not an option when it comes to cost reduction scheme. I am still considering it and will decide when I see its actual price. That concerned customer said it is available in SM Hypermart Stores.

Then next option is pulverizing the sugar crystal myself. The suggested method was the very last I had in mind, using a blender. I tried a few tablespoons and the result was very acceptable. It was about as fine as confectioner’s. It took me a while to pulverized enough for my next batch though. The blender I used for the trial was a very light type. It cannot handle too much heat of operation. I had to stop every now and then to cool it down a bit.

powdered sugar in blender

The pulverized sugar is ready. I am waiting for the next batch to try it. If it went well, then I am going to save for a more powerful blender.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

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