Before moving, both Gaspar and I spent a lot of time on sites and forums like BAExpats.org trying to get a feel for what we were getting ourselves into. Sifting through the always cheery tales of inflation or crime, I came across a claim I found hard to accept. There’s no brown sugar. The horror!
But scratch that. I think what forum complainer #598 meant was that there’s no brown sugar like what we’re used to in the USA. Light brown sugar that’s moist (sorry, I hate using that word) with a fine grain is indeed elusive. Instead, your options are azúcar negra (black sugar) or azúcar rubia (blond sugar). Negra seems to be the most commonly available, carried in most of the neighborhood chinos, and rubia is available at most dietéticas. I’ve alternated using each when recipes call for brown sugar, and while neither is an exact replacement, after my various experiments I fully endorse the black stuff.
Azúcar negra has a larger grain than brown sugar estadounidense, and while it’s moist enough to hold together it does tend to be a bit more crumbly. It doesn’t bring about the exact same results, but in most cases I’ve actually found the finished product is improved with a more noticeable molasses flavor and chewier texture. Excellent news for my chocolate chip cookies!
As for the rubia…meh. It seems almost interchangeable with typical white processed sugar to me, just with the brown color of a natural cane sugar. The grains are larger, and there is no moisture whatsoever. Not really impressed.
In any case, I’m happy to report that this particular dark and gloomy warning about life in Buenos Aires has not come to pass. The rest, well….yeah, that stuff’s true. But one can still make chocolate chip cookies, pecan pies and cinnamon streusel toppings. Shwoo! Priorities, people.