Picture this: You have your favorite cookie recipe in hand, ready to bake. Then you reach for your trusty bag of brown sugar only to find it’s dried out and full of clumps, leaving your plans for freshly baked cookies thwarted.

It’s no secret that brown sugar can harden over time, especially when exposed to air. That’s because air causes the thin layer of molasses that coats brown sugar crystals to evaporate, allowing the sugar to harden into solid clusters. So how do you extend the shelf life of brown sugar even when dry winter air seems to be actively trying to wreck all areas of your life? One well-kept secret is the Brown Sugar Bear, a sugar saver and softener that you can order on Amazon for just $5.

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Made of a specially fired clay, the adorable teddy bear-shaped object is food-safe and reusable. All you have to do is soak it in water for about 20 minutes and pat it dry before placing it inside an airtight container of brown sugar, baked goods, or even dried fruit. Once inside, the bear will help maintain the right amount of moisture. If you still notice items hardening over time, just soak and dry the bear again and pop it back inside any container.

You can also use the bear dry (no soaking necessary) in order to absorb moisture from other ingredients, like salt, pretzels, and chips, that taste better with a crispy crunch. And after it’s served its purpose, you can rinse the bear with clean water before using it again. Just be sure to avoid washing it with soap as it could absorb the taste and scent.

The handy little bear has accumulated hundreds of positive reviews on Amazon from home bakers who were amazed at how well the simple sugar softener works. One reviewer called the bear “magical.” Another said, “If anyone claims that this product does not work, they must not be using it correctly.”

You can get your own Brown Sugar Bear from Amazon for just $5 to see if it lives up to the hype. And if you’re not feeling the teddy bear design, you can also purchase the kitchen gadget in the shape of a gingerbread cookie or a maple leaf.

To buy: $5; amazon.com

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