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Since When is a Box a Unit of Measure?

How much confectioners sugar is in a "box?"

Don'tcha love people who write recipes? Your recipe writer probably thought he or she was doing you a favor. Instead of specifying "3-1/2 to 4 cups confectioner's sugar," he thought it would be much simpler if you just dumped in the whole box.

The problem, of course, is that a one-pound box is no longer the only — or even the most common — way to purchase powdered sugar. You most often find it in one-pound or two-pound bags, boxes, or canisters in grocery stores these days.

Just as with flour, a pound of confectioner's sugar can take up more or less space depending on how it is scooped and measured. If you mash it into measuring cups, it takes up about 3-1/2 cups. If you gently scoop it, it takes up four. Our quibble is with that extra half-cup. A lot of recipes that call for confectioner's sugar ask you to add most of it, holding a bit in reserve in case you need to thicken whatever it is you're making.

In any event, he is asking for a pound of confectioner's sugar. We're sure you have a kitchen scale and can happily measure out a pound. Or we're sure you have a one-pound box/bag/canister/whatever. In the almost inconceivably unlikely chance that you do not have a scale, you should add 3-1/2 cups, and if that doesn't seem like enough, you will add up to a half cup more to get whatever consistency seems right.

Giving recipe writers the benefit of the doubt, we'll imagine that your recipe is quite an old one.

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