Soften a rock-hard box of brown sugar quickly by just putting it in the microwave for 15 second or so, then check it. If it isn't soft enough, increase by 10 second intervals. Don't overdo it or you will have syrup!
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We've all heard the maxim; to keep brown sugar soft, put (something or other) in the jar. And yes, it works. But what a mess. The sugar inevitably sticks to bread, or apple slices, and pretty much everything else one can think of to use.
Add an apple to your brown sugar in a glass jar. Works every time.
If your brown sugar has hardened, place a small piece of apple in with the sugar to soften it.
Brown sugar frequently turns into a hard lump in the container. Here are some great tips for keeping it soft. This is a page about keeping brown sugar soft.
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How do you soften brown sugar that has hardened?
How do you soften brown sugar?
If your box of brown sugar has hardened over time, don't throw it out. Instead place the box in the microwave on high power for about 20 seconds and your brown sugar will be softened.
If you ever have a package of rock hard brown sugar just take it out of the box and/or plastic and wrap it in aluminum foil and place it in a preheated 300 degree oven for 5 minutes.