How to soften rock-hard brown sugar

Even the best bakers can find themselves facing the ultimate foe: rock-hard brown sugar. This calamity happens when the sweet stuff has been completely zapped of moisture, which makes it that much harder for you to whip up a batch of cinnamon rolls or grilled chicken marinade.

If your brown sugar didn't get the proper TLC it needs, here are three ways to bring it back to life. And to prevent the giant lumps from forming again, remember to stick a piece of bread into your sugar bin, so you won't even have to resort to these options.

(1) Microwave: Place the sugar in the microwave, along with a dampened paper towel. Microwave it for 20 seconds, and the steam from the towel will soften it right up.

(2) Food Processor: Blitz hardened mounds a few times in a food processor until they're loosened up. This works best in a smaller processor or with a hand-powered chopping appliance.

(3) Box Grater: For a particularly large or stubborn sugar boulder, treat it like cheese and use a grater or Microplane to break it into pieces.

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