Dan Lepard's secret weapon in the kitchen? Unrefined sugar. The London-based Australian baking guru says it's his go-to in all sorts of dishes whenever he wants to add character, complexity and flavour. "When I was growing up it was simply brown sugar, but today… we've got all these great flavours and they're things that will really give a boost to your baking, cooking, whatever you want to do - even drinking."
Unlike a lot of brown sugars on the market that are simply refined sugars with added colour, unrefined sugars are the product of pure evaporation, resulting in an intense, full-flavoured sweetness. And there's more than just one kind. You've got the more common golden caster sugar ("simply the raw sugarcane that's been crushed… and then slightly evaporated"), molasses ("the godfather of all sugars"), which is great for supercharging the flavour of cakes, and the lighter Demerara, which is good for everything from sprinkling over baked goods to adding sweetness to cocktails, and then there's the flavour-packed muscovado - the stuff you want in your cakes and brownies.
"There's almost a treacly aspect to it," Lepard says. "It's the business."