The sugar spectrum:
Amber sugar crystals (Zabar's; 800-697-6301) and sugarcane swizzle sticks (Frieda's; 800-241-1771) are for hot drinks, not recipes. Demerara tastes of raw cane; muscovado has a strong molasses flavor (La Cuisine; 800-521-1176). Chunky cubes of French cane sugar are milled in Swaziland and the Congo (Dean & DeLuca; 800-221-7714). Conical Mexican piloncillo can substitute for brown sugar in cakes and cookies (Frieda's). Glazing sugar--confectioners' sugar without the cornstarch--gives icings a smooth texture (King Arthur Flour; 800-827-6836).
Each American eats an average of more than 67 pounds of sugar a year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an amount that has jumped 27 percent since 1970. Fat-free foods that rely on extra sugar for flavor are partly the cause. So are foods like the following, which have surprising amounts of added sugar:
11 ounces of blackberry Clearly Canadian soda: 8 teaspoons 8 ounces of cranapple juice: 7 1/4 teaspoons 8 ounces of low-fat, fruit-flavored yogurt: 7 teaspoons8 ounces of frozen yogurt: 6 teaspoons 8 ounces of chocolate milk: 3 teaspoons1 Fig Newton cookie: 3 teaspoons
The Sugar Superstars
Move over, Domino: A variety of unusual sugars, especially less-processed brown ones, are finding a place on the shelf. Here are some of the latest, from light to dark: