Last night I took a look at your website. Several of the recipes I read mentioned using cane v beet sugar. What's the significance of this?
To answer your sugar question, I went to a completely *objective* source: C&H sugar company:
"How cane sugar is different.
Cane sugar contains trace minerals that are different from those in beet sugar, and itís these minerals that many experts say make cane sugar preferable to use. As professional bakers have long noticed, cane sugar has a low melting-point, absorbs fewer extraneous and undesirable odors, blends easily and is less likely to foam up. And that can be very important when youíre caramelizing a syrup, making a delicate glaze, baking a delicious meringue, or simmering your familyís favorite jam recipe."
But I also remembered a test comparison in the food section of the San Francisco Chronicle a while ago which found cane sugar provided superior results.
And because I wanted to give you as broad an answer as I could to your question, I did some more research and came up with a
reference to a book from Bob Wolke
The article says:
"Food science can, indeed, be complicated. On the subject of beet vs. cane sugar, he writes that once refined, "cane sugar and beet sugar are chemically identical," then goes on to add, "Nevertheless, some people who have long experience in making jams and marmalades insist that cane and beet sugars don't behave the same." However, as a daughter and sister of sugar beet growers, I must take issue with Wolke's description of beets as "misshapen, whitish-brown roots that resemble short, fat carrots." To us, they look beautiful. A good beet crop can represent a farmer's summer's salary. Which brings us to vested interests and whom to believe. "The manufacturers? They want to sell things and aren't always truthful, though they know more about their product than anybody. The government? I think the USDA [U.S. Department of Agriculture] and FDA [Food and Drug Administration] are trying to do their best for food safety, but I also know that they are under lots of pressure from the meat, dairy and sugar industry."
And finally, hummingbirds prefer cane sugar and that's good enough for me.