5.2 Introduction to Carbohydrates – Sugar

Objectives and Laboratory Problems

  • To determine the effect of dry heat on sugar.
  • To describe sensory properties of the sugars and syrups.

Describe the major differences in sensory properties between the following types of sugars and syrups:

Type Characteristics Sensory Properties
Granulated Sugar crystalline sucrose
Commercial Raw Sugar semi-refined granulated sugar
Powdered or Confectioners Sugar finely pulverized white sugar with 3% corn starch added to prevent lumping
Molasses by-product of producing refined white sugar from cane.  Contains sucrose, other sugars, organic acids and minerals
Light Molasses syrup produced from first boiling of sugarcane juice
Dark Molasses syrup produced from second boiling of sugarcane juice; less sweet and more flavorful than light molasses
Light Brown Sugar sugar less refined than granulated sugar, coated with molasses
Dark Brown Sugar sugar even less refined than light brown sugar, coated with molasses
Light Corn Syrup clear syrup made from hydrolyzed cornstarch, containing glucose, maltose and dextrin’s.  May have added high-fructose corn syrup and/or added flavorings:  vanilla, salt.
High Fructose Corn Syrup corn syrup in which some of the glucose has been enzymatically converted to fructose, a sweeter sugar than sucrose
Dark Corn Syrup mixture of light corn syrup and refiners’ syrup
Honey plant nectar which has been concentrated by bees.  The major sugars are fructose and glucose
Sorghum concentrated sap of sorghum cane
Maple Syrup concentrated sap of maple trees
Imitation Maple Syrup or Pancake Syrup blend of syrups, often including imitation or natural maple syrup, intended for use on pancakes.

Effect of dry heat on sugar:

  1. Spread ½ cup sugar evenly in iron skillet.
  2. Heat slowly until sugar is completely melted.
  3. Pour half of melted sugar onto greased, warm plate.
  4. Add ⅛ tsp. soda to remaining sugar, stir rapidly to blend, and pour onto greased, warm plate.
  5. Record observations.

Diagram of chemical compounds responsible for caramel tastes (maltol) and nutty flavors (furan).

Product Color Texture Flavor
Caramelized Sugar
Caramelized Sugar with Soda Added


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