When a recipe calls for Belgian pearl sugar, trust only the genuine thing. Pearl sugar has a unique sweetness, taste and density and there’s even a big difference between Belgian and Swedish pearl sugar.
For authentic tasting Liege waffles and European-style baked goods, there simply is no substitute for Belgian pearl sugar. Claims suggesting crushed sugar cubes or granulated sugar heated into clumps are interchangeable with Belgian pearl sugar are deceptive. These substitutes may look similar as they are folded into Liege waffle dough but the taste and texture of the final baked product will not resemble what a recipe promises and what Belgian pearl sugar delivers.
Belgian pearl sugar’s tempered sweetness comes from beets. The do-it-yourself variety of pearl sugar is much sweeter as it is derived from cane sugar. Cane sugar’s elevated sweetness will throw off the flavor balance of recipes that call for pearl sugar.
The proprietary method in which Belgian pearl sugar is made also gives it the pebble-y look and dense texture to withstand high cooking temperatures. Crispy caramelization will not occur with granulated cane sugar or crush cubes, no matter how large the pieces. Without true Belgian pearl sugar, the signature pockets of crispiness in Liege waffle will be absent. True pearl sugar gives waffles, breads, and muffins a fuller body and volume and most importantly, crunch!
Not all sugars are the same. Every sugar has its purpose and use. For authentic European style baked goods, use authentic Belgian pearl sugar in your recipes to achieve the perfect taste, texture and look.