How far in advance to soften it? I used some really hard muscovado on Sunday, and some of it never dissolved in the batter. Thanks.
I usually try softening a few hours in advance but the last time I used muscovado (a week and a half ago) I forgot to do this. So I softened the sugar before I did the rest of my ingredient prep. After about 1/2 hour enough of the sugar had softened for me to use. I simply crumbled off the soften parts with a fork or spoon and scooped out the amount I needed (aboput 1/2 cup). Then I softened the rest, which took about an hour. I put in in airtight ziplock. It is still soft and moist today. Mind you, I use a wet towel. Not dripping wet, but definitely soaked with water. I find this doesn’t over saturate the sugar.
I find that the muscovado that doesn’t completely dissovle has more to do with breaking the sugar lumps up adequately. The moist muscovado and brown sugars tend to lump together. I always mix the dry ingredients for several minutes in the mixer when using muscovado or brown sugar to ensure that all the lumps are broken up. I’ll even give it a run through with clean hands. However, if there are pieces that show up in the cake, I don’t mind, its just sweet yummy goodness.