What do you call the sugar topping that you see on muffins? And, where do you get it?
A very smart woman asked me this recently–a woman who I thought knew everything.
So it occurred to me if she didn’t know, perhaps you dear reader are also wondering the name of the crunchy sugar topping on baked goods.
How Do I Make a Crunchy Muffin Topping?
There are two kinds of sugar to put on top of muffins or scones:
- Turbinado sugar
- Coarse Sugar (or smaller grains, called sanding sugar)
Turbinado sugar is also frequently called raw sugar.
Turbinado sugar is similar to brown sugar but it doesn’t contain molasses. You can heat turbinado sugar without it getting sticky.
Sugar manufacturers minimally process raw sugar, thus the name raw.
Coarse sugar consists of larger sugar crystals.
Sanding sugar is another name for coarse sugar that has smaller grains.
Sanding sugar runs in size between granulated sugar and coarse sugar. You’ll often find sanding sugar in fancy colors.
For topping a baked good like a muffin or scone or cake, use turbinado or coarse sugar crystals.
But, if you’re in a pinch and only have sanding sugar, that will work too.
Not just for muffin tops, sugar crystals give scones that sparkly texture.
More Breakfasty Recipes
You can give your cookies a sparkly finish with a roll in sanding sugar before baking them.
I always use sanding sugar, and sometimes the larger, coarse variety, on Gingersnaps (Just Like Grandma's!)
Sanding sugar provides a little extra crunch and sparkle.
Put your sugar topping or streusel topping on your muffins before baking them. That way the topping crystalizes a bit, becomes crunchy and adheres to the muffin tops.
Brush the tops of muffins with melted butter and sprinkle with sanding sugar or turbinado sugar.
Or just sprinkle sanding sugar on top without butter.