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What does 10X mean? Is it just powdered sugar?
By Renee Shelton

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Powdered sugar is sugar ground to a powder and usually mixed with an anti-caking agent such as starch. The coarseness of the grind is given by the numbers, such as 10x for the finest, and 6x for standard. A brand of sugar when tested side by side with another may have a different coarseness to it, easily detectable by tasting and sometimes by touching. Powdered sugar also goes by the names 'confectioner's sugar' and 'icing sugar'. Powdered sugar is great for using in recipes where the sugar needs to be fully blended, like icings, frostings and the like, and for creating decorative marks on cakes and pastries.

Powdered Sugar Vs. Superfine Sugar

Because of the nature of powdered sugar having an anti-caking agent, it can't replace superfine sugar. Superfine sugar, also known as 'castor sugar' or 'caster sugar', is simply white sugar ground fine making it easy for blending and dissolving.

Research Notes: The name of the sugar may represent a product that differs from country to country. "Pure icing sugar" from Australia means just that, no added ingredients (such as starch mixed with it—just sugar ground to a fine powder). This is a preferred powdered sugar for some recipes but can be hard to find elsewhere. Icing sugar from the UK is powdered sugar similar to Australia, but may or may not contain cornstarch. Icing sugar from Canada is powdered sugar with cornstarch in it. Some links to read up on this sugar and powdered sugar in general are below.

Sugar Australia, supplier of Australian sugar products.

The Essential Ingredient store chain's info page on the different sugars available in Australia.

Powdered sugar is made from refined sugar. To make unrefined powdered sugar you must first start off with unrefined sugar. An Organic Wife makes her own unrefined powdered sugar by first beginning with an organic unrefined sugar like sucanat, rapadura, or coconut sugar.

Chocolate Espresso Snowball Cookies are a popular cookie using powdered sugar to coat them. Below are some 'sweet' recipes using powdered sugar.

Sweet Glaze for Coffee Cakes

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all together. Add in more milk if desired. Use to glaze quick and yeast coffee cakes.


Browned Butter Orange Frosting

1/2 cup whole butter, no substitutions
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/3 cup orange juice

In heavy bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, cook butter until golden brown. Pour this into a bowl and add powdered sugar and orange juice. Mix well. Add additional sifted powdered sugar if frosting to adjust to desired consistency.


Chocolate Thins

3/4 cup powdered sugar 2 tablespoons evaporated milk
1/2 cup flour 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted
1/3 cup oil 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped finely
1 egg  

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In mixing bowl, mix sugar, flour and salt. Make a well in center and add in the oil, egg, and vanilla. Stir and mix in the melted chocolate. Mix until the mixture is smooth. Spread this onto a lightly greased 15" by 10" baking pan with sides. Sprinkle evenly with the nuts. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until done. Remove from oven, let cool for about 5 minutes, and cut while warm into desired sized squares. Let cool completely, then remove from pan.


Peanut Butter Frosting

1/2 cup peanut butter, creamy style 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup butter 5 to 7 tablespoons milk
  1 teaspoon vanilla

In mixing bowl with electric mixer, beat peanut butter and butter until very light. Add in slowly, alternately, the powdered sugar and milk until the frosting is of desired consistency. Add in the vanilla.


References used:

Recipes from the files of Renee Shelton.

Casella, Dolores. A World of Breads. New York: David White, 1966.

Gisslen, Wayne. Professional Baking. New York: John Wiley, 1985.

Chocolate Thins recipe adapted from an old box of C&H Powdered Sugar.

Image courtesy morguefile.

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