In the Land of Brown Sugar

A little brown bear—soft, furry, cuddly, and huggable. Wouldn’t you think those descriptors would be quite appropriate for the little four-legged creature, Dear Readers? I would, too!

However, my baking chat today grants to us the ability to meander hither and yon down a quite different bear trail into the land of brown sugar.

Please allow my curious nature to ask a question, Dear Readers. Does your brown sugar get rock hard before you even use the entire two-pound bag? Then a little brown bear can come to your rescue, acting like a humidifier while changing rock hard into pliable, soft, measurable, and manageable brown sugar.

This little brown sugar bear is definitely not of the soft and cuddly kind. It is made from specially fired bisque unglazed red clay much like a clay flower pot and is solid and porous. However, unlike a clay flower pot, this little brown sugar bear is food safe and reusable.

The Perfect Helper

When the small, bear-shaped kitchen helper soaks in water for about 15-20 minutes, is patted dry, and dropped into an air-tight container holding a mass of unyielding light brown or dark brown sugar, it goes to work and magically retros the rock-solid sugary substance into a usable condition for up to three months.

One might ask, Dear Readers, why does this drying component happen to brown sugar? It’s all about time and the components that go into making brown sugar in the first place.

Brown sugar is refined white sugar with anywhere from 3.5 to 6.5 percent molasses syrup added. When a package is opened and exposed to air, over time, its moisture will evaporate, and the sugar will harden, forming dense clusters.

But as good fortune would have it, that moisture can be put back into the caramelly tasting sugar to make it usable again. Yeah Hooray! The brown sugar bear disc gradually goes to work, slowly releasing the “holding tank” of moisture into the sugar. After approximately three months, it can be resoaked and reused for another round of brown sugar humidification.

A Good Buy

The little brown sugar bear doesn’t cost an arm and a leg–about $3.00-$4.00– and can be purchased at many hardware stores, big box stores, and online at

Oh, Dear Readers, the voice of my frugal mom whispers into my ear. “Dear Daughter, why should I spend money for this kitchen gadget when I can add apple slices or a slice of bread to the hard sugar and achieve the same results?”

I have no quarrel with that, Mom. Those usually-have-in-the-kitchen foods can perform the same brown-sugar-softening task. However, one must remember to remove them from the air-tight canister of brown sugar within a few days.

Little brown bears can be soft and cuddly. Or they can be hard and porous. When it comes to kitchen help, Miss NiNi will wholeheartedly take the second choice. In the land of brown sugar, it’s the only way to go!