Piloncillo is the epitome of sugar, spice and everything nice. Known as “Mexican brown sugar,” it is minimally-processed with natural earthy and caramel notes, bringing unexpected flavor to any dish.
Unlike conventional brown sugar which typically blends white cane sugar and molasses, piloncillo is utterly natural. For over 500 years, it has been used as a sweetener, a spice, or both in Mexican cuisine. The name directly translates to “little loaf,” the traditional shape in which the sugar is molded.
This savvy sweetener can replace white or brown sugar in most recipes. Often blended with spices like anise or cayenne, the sugar transforms into a spicy delicacy. Popular recipes made with piloncillo include café de olla, ponche and flan.
Pati Jinich, this month’s CrateChef featured chef, recently published her cookbook Treasures of the Mexican Table which catalogs several inventive recipes that incorporate piloncillo. Try it in the Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tamales (pg. 97) or Mixed Nut Salsa Macha (pg. 134).
One of the driving forces of CrateChef is the opportunity to introduce unique ingredients to our foodie community. We’re especially grateful to share this everyday staple with you and are eager to learn how you use it.