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Difference Between Sugars and Confectioner’s Sugars

Difference Between Sugars and Confectioner’s Sugars

In your baking pantry, you may have a bag of white sugar and a bag of confectioner’s sugar. What’s the difference? And can you substitute one for the other? Let’s take a closer look.

What is Sugar?

Sugar is used to add sweetness to food and drink. It is also used in the manufacture of candy, ice cream, jams, and other sweet foods. Sugar is made from sugar cane or sugar beets. Sugar cane grows in warm climates such as South America, the Caribbean, and Africa. Sugar beets are grown in cooler climates such as Europe and the United States.

  • Sugar consists of sucrose molecules. These molecules are made up of glucose and fructose units. Sucrose is broken down into glucose and fructose when it is digested by the body. Glucose is the main source of energy for the body’s cells. Fructose is metabolized by the liver and turned into glycogen, which is stored in the liver and muscles for use as energy.
  • Sugar can also be made from corn syrup or from refined carbohydrates such as rice, wheat, or potatoes. Sugar has been used since ancient times. It was first extracted from sugar cane about 2,000 years ago. Sugar beet extract was first used in Europe during the 18th century.
  • Sugar has many uses besides its role as a food additive. It is used in the making of medicines, cosmetics, alcohol, and other products. Sugar can also be used as a fuel for rockets and airplanes. When burned, it produces carbon dioxide and water vapor, which are harmless to the environment. Sugar is a versatile substance with many uses.

What is Confectioner’s Sugar?

Confectioner’s sugar also called powdered sugar, icing sugar, and confectionery sugar is a finely ground sugar produced by milling granulated sugar into a powdered state. It usually contains between 2% and 5% of cornstarch or tricalcium phosphate to prevent caking. Confectioner’s sugar is often used to make frostings and other sweet toppings for cakes, cookies, and other desserts. It can also be dusted on top of baked goods to add a sweeter flavor and a touch of decoration.

  • Confectioner’s sugar is made by first grinding granulated sugar into a fine powder. The resulting powder is then passed through a sieve to remove any large pieces of sugar that were not ground up properly. After passing through the sieve, the powdered sugar is mixed with cornstarch or tricalcium phosphate (also known as calcium carbonate) to prevent caking.
  • The addition of cornstarch or tricalcium phosphate helps to absorb moisture from the air and prevents the formation of clumps in the powdered sugar. Without these ingredients, confectioner’s sugar would quickly become hard and difficult to use.
  • Cornstarch is the most common additive used in commercial confectioners’ sugars, but some brands may use tricalcium phosphate instead. Tricalcium phosphate is less effective at absorbing moisture than cornstarch, but it is cheaper and has a slightly higher calorie content.
  • While confectioner’s sugar is most commonly used in baking, it can also be used for other purposes such as dusting furniture or cleaning windows. It can even be used as a food coloring agent when combined with water. When used for cleaning or dusting, the confectioner’s sugar should be applied with a damp cloth to avoid making a mess.

Confectioner’s sugar is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many different ways. Whether you’re using it to bake a cake or clean your windows, it’s sure to come in handy.

Difference Between Sugars and Confectioner’s Sugars

Sugars and confectioners’ sugars are two types of granulated sweeteners used in baking. Though they may appear similar, there are some key differences between the two. Sugars are made from sugar cane or sugar beets and have a uniform particle size. Confectioner’s sugars, on the other hand, are made from granulated sugars that have been ground into a fine powder. As a result, confectioner’s sugar has a much lighter texture and dissolves more easily than regular sugar. When baking, confectioner’s sugar is often used in frostings and icings, while regular sugar is more commonly used in cakes and cookies.


The main difference between sugars and confectioner’s sugars is that the latter has a finer texture. This makes it an ideal choice for recipes that call for a delicate balance of sweetness and structure, such as meringue or angel food cake. Confectioner’s sugar can also be used as a dusting agent to add a bit of sweetness and sheen to finished desserts. If you are looking for sugar that will give your baked goods a bit more structure, confectioner’s sugar is the way to go.

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