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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Also labeled "unrefined brown sugar." And "100% natural."

It was wrapped in sugar cane leaves (they look like corn leaves). And imported from Salvador. In my local Spanish supermarket.

OK, I scraped a bit off. Very strong molasses flavor. A big hard lump. It does appear to taste like grandma's molasses, only without the water. I assume it really is raw sugar. Probably with just a few insects encapsulated in it. Very nice taste. Very natural-looking - uneven coloring.

But it is rock hard. I am wondering how I am going to use it, without putting the whole 22 oz in a pot of warm water and letting it dissolve overnight, or hot water and letting it dissolve in 20 minutes or so. Hard to cut with a cheese grater. Doesn't have the sort of sour flavor that molasses has.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
There is some info about it here, with nice photos.

http://cosmo-vision.blogspot.com/

What the picture doesn't show is that they pack TWO of those cone-shaped blocks in one of those corn-husk packages. Big end to big end. They were kind of glued together but it was possible to get them apart.

Really delicious. I like the flavor better than that of molasses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Interesting Snow White. I looks ezzactly like jaggery. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaggery. Looks like the Salvadoran counterpart of Indian jaggery.

I need to find out what dulce de panela translates to, exactly. Any Spanish-speakers here? I am pretty sure dulce must mean sweet, as La Dolce Vita gets translated from Italian to English as the Sweet Life. but panela. Pan, pot?
 

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It looks like you've got Piloncillo.

Have you tried letting it sit in a bag with a piece of toast? Or putting it in a screw-top jar with a very damp towel (either paper or cloth) laid on the mouth of the jar and the jar topper screwed on? Either one of those methods might work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I've found that a small, sharp (carbon steel) hollow ground knife works. The web site you linked to, 4EverGrounded, suggested a serrated knife -- that works too, a small one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I couldn't find wheat cereal that wasn't burnt in my local supermarket, so I bought some Wheatena. My morning Wheatena tasted better with this unrefined cane sweetener, than the maple syrup I used to use. Really good. Still, I wish my store stocked more unburnt whole wheat cereal.

I have 2-quart widemouth screw top jars -- and the cones won't fit thru the tops!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by soilman View Post

I need to find out what dulce de panela translates to, exactly. Any Spanish-speakers here? I am pretty sure dulce must mean sweet, as La Dolce Vita gets translated from Italian to English as the Sweet Life. but panela. Pan, pot?
Awkward literal translation. "Dulce" can meen "sweet" in noun form, like a candy is a sweet. "Panela" means, roughly, "shaped into a loaf" or I guess just plain "molded."
 

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I've purchased SMALL cones of sugar like this - I did end up breaking it up with a hammer and then running it thru my food processor to "granulate" it... I LOVE the taste (and I HATE molasses, so I wasn't thinking it tasted much like molasses, but to each their own).

Try it sprinkled on a half of a baked acorn squash with a little Earth Balance. YUM!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yea, that should do it; put it in a paper bag, and take a whack at it with a hammer.

I'm confused as to why it taste different, and better, than molasses, even tho it tastes almost just like molasses, as light molasses is supposed to be the same thing, only not boiled down quite as far. Maybe it is the process of clarifying the liquid molasses, removing the tiny particles of crushed cane fiber, that alters the flavor? Although I thought that could be accomplished simply by allowing the fibers to fall to the bottom over the course of a couple days.

Tastes more like chewing on a cane stalk than molasses does. I think it some kind of sourness that gets into molasses, that isn't present in raw cane, and isn't present in these blocks of unrefined sugar.

It was better on my cold cereal (Uncle Sam Cereal) than maple syrup. And a lot less costly, too.
 

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When you make maple syrup, if you heat it too much it it will crystalize and make maple suger. I wonder if the same thing is going on here, and the panela is cooked hotter or longer than molasses.
 

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You might try breaking off a small piece and grinding it in a spice grinder or a coffee grinder. Works well for nutmegs which are probably harder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by nigel View Post

When you make maple syrup, if you heat it too much it it will crystalize and make maple suger. I wonder if the same thing is going on here, and the panela is cooked hotter or longer than molasses.
It is pretty obvious that it is basicly the same thing as molasses, only cooked longer, to dehydrate it further. The web site I linked to above shows some info and photos about how it is made. I don't think it is heated hotter, just heated longer. It is done in an open kettle, which means the temperature won't go much beyond the boiling point of water. While I believe some molasses is made in long tubing things, instead of open kettle, I think they do not put it under pressure, and thus increase its temp above the boiling point of water because it negatively affects the flavor -- unless they are going to totally refine it to white sugar -- which is 99.9 percent pure sucrose, and what was in it before refining makes little difference to the final outcome.
 
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