If you’ve run out of brown sugar while you’re in the middle of baking something, you probably can’t just run to the store. Instead, make your own brown sugar by mixing granulated sugar with molasses. Or substitute other pantry staples, but keep in mind that the flavor and texture of your baked goods might be a little different. Once you’ve made your own brown sugar, learn how to store it and soften it if it becomes a little hard.
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons (40 g) to 1/4 cup (84 g) molasses
Makes 1 cup (200 g) of brown sugar
EditMaking Brown Sugar Using Molasses
- Measure sugar and molasses into a mixing bowl. Pour 1 cup (200 g) of granulated sugar into a mixing bowl. Add molasses according to your taste or the type of brown sugar you want. For light brown sugar, use 2 tablespoons (40 g) of molasses. For dark brown sugar, you can use up to 1/4 cup (84 g) of molasses.
- Ensure that you’re using true molasses, not blackstrap molasses. Blackstrap molasses is more refined, less sweet, and higher in sodium than true molasses.
- Combine the molasses and sugar in a mixer. For the best texture, use a stand or electric mixer to combine the molasses and sugar until the mixture looks fluffy and golden brown. This can take several minutes.
- You can also mix the brown sugar by combining the ingredients in a food processor.
- Consider mixing the molasses and sugar with a fork. If you don’t have a mixer or just want to make a little brown sugar, you can put the molasses and sugar into a small bowl. Use a fork to combine the mixture until it becomes brown sugar.
- If you’re baking with the brown sugar, you don’t even need to combine the sugar and molasses; just add the ingredients to the recipe. For example, if you’re making cookies that call for brown sugar, just add extra granulated sugar and the molasses along with the other ingredients.
- Double or triple the batch. If you want to make a large batch of brown sugar to use in several recipes, you can easily double or triple the ingredients. Use a large mixing bowl and electric or stand mixer to combine the brown sugar. Whisk the sugar and molasses for about 5 minutes.
EditUsing Brown Sugar Alternatives
- Use honey instead of brown sugar. If you don’t have brown sugar or molasses on hand, consider using honey in place of the brown sugar in a recipe. To substitute honey, use 1/2 cup (170 g) to 3/4 cup (255 g) of honey for each 1 cup (200 g) of brown sugar called for and add 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder. You should also reduce the liquids in the recipe by 20% and turn down the oven temperature by 25 degrees.
- Avoid substituting honey in recipes that need you to cream butter with the brown sugar. Instead, use honey in soft-textured cake, ice cream, or pudding recipes.
- Substitute maple syrup for brown sugar. You can use maple syrup instead of brown sugar, but you’ll need to reduce the liquid in the recipe by 1/2 cup (120 ml) for each 1 cup (240 ml) of maple syrup you use. Avoid using maple syrup in recipes where you need to cream butter with the sugar. Consider substituting maple syrup in pudding, candy, caramel, and ice cream recipes.
- If you have maple sugar, you can substitute equal amounts for the brown sugar and you won’t need to reduce the liquid in a recipe.
- Try coconut or date sugar. If you have coconut or date sugar in your pantry, you can use it to replace brown sugar in a recipe. You can use it in caramels and candies, but it does melt 10 degrees lower than standard sugar. You can also bake with it although your baked goods may have a drier texture.
- If you want to add moisture, consider adding applesauce or mashed banana.
EditStoring and Softening Homemade Brown Sugar
- Store the brown sugar in an airtight container. Put the brown sugar in an airtight container in your pantry. You can store the brown sugar at room temperature indefinitely, but it may harden over time as it dries out.
- If you don’t have an airtight storage container, you can keep the brown sugar in a plastic food storage bag with a zipper.
- Soften brown sugar in the microwave. If you need to soften brown sugar quickly, put the lump of brown sugar into a microwave-safe bowl. Moisten a paper towel with water and lay it over the brown sugar. Microwave the brown sugar for 15 to 20 seconds and check to see if it’s softened. If not, microwave it for another 15 to 20 seconds.
- If the brown sugar is so hard that it’s hard to divide the lump into a bowl, add a few teaspoons of water to the sugar before you microwave it.
- Place a piece of bread with the brown sugar. You can also soften brown sugar by storing it with a piece of fresh bread for a few days. The moisture from the bread softens the sugar. Just be sure you remember to toss out the bread before too long because it will dry out.
- You could also place a slice or two of apple in the container to keep the brown sugar soft.
EditThings You’ll Need
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Digital scale
- Mixing bowl
- Fork or whisk
- Food processor, optional
- Electric or stand mixer
- Airtight container