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What is Piloncillo?
Piloncillo is a raw form of pure cane sugar that has not been processed. Because it has not been processed, it has a golden brown color and a delicious rich flavor similar to molasses, although it does not have any molasses in it. Unlike brown sugar which sometimes is made by coating refined white sugar with molasses, Piloncillo is pure sugar with no additives. You can use Piloncillo anywhere you would use other sweeteners.
Piloncillo is sold by the ounce in a cone shape. You can find small 2 oz... cones all the way up to large 8 ounce cones. Piloncillo is sometimes listed in a recipe in pounds, as in "1 pound of Piloncillo" which sounds like a lot, but it is just 2 of the 8 oz. cones.
The measurements for Piloncillo are always in weight. The cones make it easy to measure since they are pre-formed in common weights for recipes. Do not break up the cone and then measure it by the cup (sometimes referred to as 8 ounces) or you will have an inaccurate amount.
Piloncillo means "Pylon" and is named for its conical shape. It is pressed into a cone shape and becomes very hard.Continue to 2 of 4 below.
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How to Use PiloncilloIn order to use Piloncillo, you must break it up. There are two good ways to do this. Grating or chopping. If the piloncillo is too hard, you can soften it by microwaving it for 10-20 seconds to make it easier to work with. After it is broken up, you can use it as directed in your recipe.
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Chopping piloncillo is one of the quickest ways to break it up. Use a sharp, serrated knife in a slicing motion to scrape and chop the piloncillo. Some larger chunks may break off during this process which you can further chop, or leave the chunks in depending on what the recipe is for. If you are making a syrup, the chunks will dissolve down. If you are making something like Atole, you will want minimal chunks as the piloncillo won't have as much time to dissolve.
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For very fine piloncillo use a grater. Rub the piloncillo over the surface of the grater to grind it down. This method is effective when a finer piloncillo is needed. It does take a little more time than chopping it. Remember if the piloncillo is hard or difficult to work with, microwave it for 10-20 seconds (possibly even longer for extremely hard piloncillo) to soften it.