The "10X" refers to the number of times the sugar crystals have been ground and sifted to achieve an ultra-fine consistency.
How Is 10X Powdered Sugar Made?
10X powdered sugar starts as regular granulated sugar made from sugar cane or sugar beets. The granulated sugar then goes through a grinding and sifting process. Here are the steps:
- Granulated sugar is fed into a specialized milling machine.
- The milling machine grinds the granulated sugar into a fine powder.
- The fine powder passes through sifters that remove any remaining coarse particles.
- It goes through this process approximately 10 times, hence the name 10X.
- A small amount of cornstarch (3% or less) is added to prevent caking and clumping.
The end result is an ultra-fine sugar that almost resembles dust. The more times the sugar is milled and sifted, the finer the consistency it achieves.
Key Differences Between 10X and Granulated Sugar
While both are derived from the same base ingredients, 10X powdered sugar and granulated sugar have some key differences:
- Texture: 10X powdered sugar is smooth and powdery, while granulated sugar has a grainy, sandy texture.
- Fineness: The particles in 10X powdered sugar are much finer than granulated sugar.
- Dissolvability: 10X powdered sugar dissolves almost instantly at room temperature. Granulated sugar takes longer to dissolve.
- Added cornstarch: 10X contains 3% or less cornstarch to prevent caking. Granulated sugar does not contain cornstarch.
- Uses: Due to its texture and dissolvability, 10X powdered sugar works better for recipes like icings, glazes and frostings. Granulated sugar is better for creaming into batters.
So while both are forms of sugar, 10X powdered sugar has unique properties that make it suitable for specific baking and dessert applications.
Why Use 10X Powdered Sugar?
Compared to regular granulated sugar, 10X powdered sugar provides some advantages:
- Smooth texture - The ultra-fine powdered texture ensures any recipe made with 10X powdered sugar will have a smooth, lump-free consistency.
- No grittiness - Recipes like frosting and icing require a sugar that dissolves completely without any grainy texture. 10X powdered sugar eliminates grittiness.
- Easy to blend - The fine particles incorporate seamlessly into other ingredients for a perfectly combined batter or dough.
- Fast dissolving - 10X powdered sugar quickly and completely melts into liquids like milk or cream when making glazes, icings or sweet sauces.
- Thickening effect - The added cornstarch helps thicken up glazes and icings to just the right consistency.
For these reasons, 10X powdered sugar is the preferred choice over granulated sugar for recipes where texture and dissolving properties are paramount.
Key Takeaway: 10X powdered sugar has an ultra-fine, smooth texture that makes it ideal for recipes where a delicate crumb and dissolving are important, like icings and frostings. The added cornstarch also helps thicken glazes.
Common Uses for 10X Powdered Sugar
10X powdered sugar is a staple ingredient for bakers and dessert makers. Here are some of its most popular uses:
Icings and Frostings
10X powdered sugar is perfect for making creamy buttercream frostings, glossy pouring icings, fluffy seven minute icings and stiff royal icings. It blends smoothly into butter or cream cheese without any risk of a grainy texture. The cornstarch also gives frosting body and structure.
Simple glazes are made by mixing 10X powdered sugar with milk, juice or water. The powdered sugar adds sweetness, while the cornstarch lends thickness. Glazes made with 10X powdered sugar coat desserts evenly and crystallize as they set.
A light dusting of 10X powdered sugar adds the perfect sweet finish on cakes, cookies, donuts, pastries and other baked goods. It dissolves slightly when eaten, providing a delicate sugary crunch.
Candy Making and Fudge
The fine texture of 10X powdered sugar helps make smooth fudge and candies. It also reduces the risk of crystallization in recipes using a sugar syrup cooked to a high temperature.
The cornstarch in 10X powdered sugar helps stabilize meringue mixtures. It prevents over-beating, allowing meringues to retain their lofty volume when baked.
As you can see, 10X powdered sugar has wide utility across the full range of baking and dessert applications. Anytime a recipe calls for "confectioners' sugar" or "powdered sugar", it is referring to 10X powdered sugar.
How to Store 10X Powdered Sugar
Because of its fine texture, 10X powdered sugar can clump up if not stored properly. Here are some tips for keeping it fresh and free-flowing:
- Keep 10X powdered sugar in a sealed airtight container or bag. Any exposure to air causes it to solidify.
- Store in a cool, dry place away from heat and moisture. Humidity will cause clumping.
- If it does clump, break up the clumps by sifting the sugar through a fine mesh strainer before using.
- Don't store the bag near any strong smelling foods, as 10X powdered sugar absorbs odors easily.
- For the freshest flavor, use within 6 months of opening. The cornstarch may start to taste stale over time.
- Buy 10X powdered sugar from suppliers with high turnover to get the freshest product.
Proper storage keeps 10X powdered sugar feeling loose and fluffy for months, ready to use anytime a recipe calls for it.
Can You Make Your Own Powdered Sugar?
While pre-made 10X powdered sugar is widely available, it's also easy to make a version at home. Here's a simple two-ingredient DIY powdered sugar recipe:
Homemade Powdered Sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
Add both ingredients to a high-powered blender, food processor, or coffee grinder. Blend on high speed for 2-3 minutes until powdered, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.
For a finer consistency, sift the mixture through a fine mesh strainer after blending. This extra step removes any remaining coarser particles.
The ratio of 1 tablespoon cornstarch per 1 cup of sugar provides approximately the right amount of anticaking agent. Make sure to use cornstarch, not flour, as flour will change the flavor.
This homemade version won't be as fine as commercial 10X powdered sugar. But it can work great in a pinch if you're out of the pre-made stuff.
Key Takeaway: When stored properly in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, 10X powdered sugar will stay fresh and clump-free for months. For the freshest flavor, use within 6 months of opening.
Is 10X powdered sugar the same as confectioners' sugar?
Yes, 10X powdered sugar and confectioners' sugar are names for the same product - an ultra-fine sugar ground to a smooth powdery texture with added cornstarch.
What do the numbers mean in powdered sugar (6X vs 10X)?
The number refers to how many times the sugar crystals have been ground and sifted. 10X is finer than 6X. The higher the number, the finer the powdered sugar.
Does powdered sugar go bad or expire?
Properly stored, powdered sugar lasts 12-24 months. Over time, it may start tasting stale due to the cornstarch breaking down. For best flavor, use within 6-12 months.
Why does powdered sugar get hard and clumpy?
Exposure to air causes powdered sugar to solidify and clump up. Keeping it sealed tightly in an airtight container prevents this. Humidity also causes clumping.
Can you use granulated sugar instead of powdered?
You can, but the texture will be gritty instead of smooth. Granulated sugar also doesn't dissolve as easily. For best results, use powdered sugar when specified.
Is powdered sugar unhealthy?
Powdered sugar has the same calories and carbs as regular granulated sugar. The small amount of added cornstarch is negligible. In moderation, it can be enjoyed as part of an overall balanced diet.
Does powdered sugar melt faster than granulated sugar?
Yes, powdered sugar melts faster and at lower temperatures than granulated sugar. This allows it to incorporate smoothly into foods and liquids without requiring heat.
Can you use powdered sugar for sanding sugar?
No, powdered and sanding sugar are very different. Sanding sugar has large, crystalline particles that provide crunch. Powdered sugar will dissolve and lose any textural effect.
Is powdered sugar used in candy making?
Yes, powdered sugar is an important ingredient in many candies. It provides smooth texture and reduces crystallization in recipes cooked to high temperatures. Fudge and mints are two common examples.
Can you use powdered sugar for dusting instead of flour?
Powdered sugar can be used to dust surfaces when rolling out doughs and pastries. However, flour is still preferred as it provides traction and doesn't dissolve when dampened.
10X powdered sugar is an ingredient for anyone who enjoys baking and making desserts. Its fine, powdery texture and instant dissolving ability in liquids makes it ideal for recipes like frostings, glazes, and dusting.
Properly stored and used, it can help create smooth, delicate, melt-in-your-mouth confections. While granulated sugar suffices in some recipes, for the lightest icings and silkiest sauces, 10X powdered sugar is a must.