Powdered sugar, also known as confectioner's sugar or icing sugar, is a type of sweetener used primarily for icings, frostings, and garnishing sweet treats. It looks very similar to cornstarch: soft, white powder-color, and often "clumps."
Powdered sugar is white sugar mixed with cornstarch (or calcium phosphate or wheat flour)—that is why it resembles it. The cornstarch helps keep the sugar soft and prevent caking. You will never see drinks or liquids mixed with powdered sugar, only granulated white sugar.
Homemade powdered sugar is simple: in a blender, mix 1 cup white sugar with 2 tablespoon cornstarch. This recipe is PERFECT when you need a small amount of powdered sugar, but do not want to purchase a large bag. Make sure you store powdered sugar in an air tight container, in a dark space, so ordors do not obsorb into it.
Powdered sugar is perfect for making delicate shortbread cookies (instead of using white sugar), homemade American buttercream, icings, and garnish beignets! Use a small, hand-held sifter, drop 1 teaspoon of powdered sugar into the mesh and lightly "tap" it for a very easy and fun garnish.
Overall, I enjoy having five sweeteners on hand: white sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, agave nectar and honey. I use them all on a regular basis and each one has its own level of "sweetness." Experiment with levels of sugars!
Happy Baking! Kimm