It works well in cakes, gingerbread, pickles and chutneys. But let’s take a step back: What even is brown sugar? However, commonly available brown sugar is the refined white sugar with added molasses. For light brown sugar, that usually means 3.5% molasses. For the most part, dark and light brown sugars can be used interchangeably in recipes, as technically dark brown sugar simply has a slighter higher molasses content. However, if brown sugar is allowed to dry and all the liquid sugar is allowed to evaporate, brown sugar becomes a useless brick. The rich, full flavor of dark brown sugar makes it good for gingerbread, mincemeat, baked beans, and other full flavored foods. Light brown sugar is the most common of the five sugars we'll … Like the best possible Morning Glory muffins, but with grated butternut squash instead of carrot. Restaurant recommendations you trust. Ad Choices. Light brown sugar is an effective dark brown sugar substitute simply because it is also a blend of molasses and sugar. The premium here is for organic labeling. (It’s more common.) Thinking about brown sugar brings to mind sweet potato casserole, coffee cake and honeybaked ham—recipes that wouldn’t be the same with plain ol’ granulated sugar. Because brown and white sugar are produced from either the sugar beet or sugarcane plant, they’re nearly identical nutritionally. Not only does this refer to the color of the sugar, but to the volume of molasses in the sugar. If a recipe doesn’t specify light or dark brown sugar, opt for the light variety. Dark brown soft sugar: looks as its name suggests, and has a richer flavour. To revisit this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories. Brown sugars tend to clump because they contain more moisture than white sugars, allowing baked goods to retain moisture well and stay chewy. To revisit this article, select My⁠ ⁠Account, then View saved stories. Dark brown sugar actually contains nearly twice as much molasses as light (6.5% as compared to 3.5%), which gives it a richer caramel flavor. After filtering out plant trash and raw sugar crystals, millers slowly evaporate the liquid, … But what also makes this item unique is that it isn’t quite light brown and it isn’t quite dark brown sugar. Brown sugar is white granulated sugar that has had cane molasses added to it. MOLASSES: A dark syrup less sweet than sugar, it has its own strong flavour more acidity. It also bumps up the nutritional value of brown sugar and supplies a small amount of several k… Raw sugar is darker in colour than white sugar, but is not brown sugar. Dark brown sugar actually contains nearly twice as much molasses … This helps dark brown sugar have a deeper, more complex flavor that’s closer to toffee or caramel. Regular brown sugar contains up to 10% molasses, usually derived from sugar cane. Substitution ratio: 1 packed cup of light or dark brown sugar for every 1 cup of granulated sugar. Dark brown sugar has a deeper color and stronger molasses flavor than light brown sugar—the rich, full flavor makes it ideal for gingerbread, baked beans, barbecuing and other full-flavored foods. Dark brown sugar has a deeper color and stronger molasses flavor than light brown sugar. Taste of Home is America's #1 cooking magazine. Granny's Gingerbread Cake with Caramel Sauce, Sticky Toffee Rice Pudding with Caramel Cream, 6 Whole Milk Substitutes for Cooking and Baking, Do Not Sell My Personal Information – CA Residents. It gets its color and distinct taste from its molasses content which varies by type: light brown sugar contains 3.5% molasses, dark brown sugar contains 6.5% molasses. Recipe ingredients are for light brown sugar. Light brown soft sugar: a popular sugar for making fruit cakes and puddings where a rich, full flavour is required. For dark brown sugar, simply use 2 tablespoons of molasses for every 1 cup of white sugar. The two most common brown sugars are light brown and dark brown. Brown sugar also contains slightly fewer calories than white sugar, yet the difference is minimal. The addition of molasses gives the sugar a dark color and rich, caramel-like flavor. —W.S., Middle Grove, New York Both types of brown sugar are a mixture of sugar and molasses, with dark brown sugar containing more molasses than light brown sugar. This probably isn’t something you’ll notice unless you’re conducting a side by side test of two batches, but it could be a reason that your cookies don’t come out exactly like the ones in the photo. Happy baking! Using dark brown sugar when a recipe calls for light will give your final product a more robust taste and a darker color, and it might slightly affect the texture. For $3.49, it’s not as cheap as regular brown sugar from most big box grocery stores. Light brown sugar has a delicate flavor while dark brown sugar has a stronger more intense molasses flavor. It sits neatly between those two varieties. Its sweetness is tempered by the addition of bitter molasses, which contributes … the difference is the amount of molasses. Brown sugar provide more benefits than white sugar. The sugar crystals are a little larger than regular brown sugar and the texture is stickier. If you’re whisking together a marinade and you only have light brown sugar, NBD. The two types of brown sugar, light and dark, refer to the amount of molasses that is present. Dark brown sugar. The key difference is that brown sugar has varying amounts of molasses added back into it. All other variables kept as-is. Some of the benefits of brown sugar are: * It contains sugary molasses which provide more nutrients than white sugar. Can they be used interchangeably? The sugar is dark due to the high molasses content which in the case of this brand (Billington’s) is never removed. For light brown sugar, that usually means 3.5% molasses. All that being said, if you’re only going to keep one kind on hand, let it be light brown sugar. The good news is that light and dark brown sugar are interchangeable: You’re not going to ruin your cookies, your crumble, or your banana bread by swapping one for the other. You can use it as a 1:1 replacement for palm sugar in any recipe. And yet, some recipes demand light and others dark. Molasses. Before you make that next batch of cookies, read up on the difference between light and dark brown sugar to see which type is your best bet. And the amount of molasses is what distinguishes light brown (less molasses) from dark brown (more). The exception is when you’re making gingerbread—the molasses flavor in dark brown sugar better complements the cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Brown sugar is … She is also a junior in Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Bon Appétit may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. Â Many grocery stores also stock golden brown sugar, which falls somewhere in between light and dark. Lighter types are generally used in baking and making butterscotch, condiments and glazes. Just add it to the mental list, right after the toilet paper. This helps dark brown sugar have a more deep, complex flavor that’s closer to toffee or caramel. She was a digital editorial intern for Taste of Home Magazine for Summer 2017. Don’t worry if you’ve been using them interchangeably. Brown sugar varies from light brown sugar to dark brown sugar. It’s also worth noting that the more brown sugar the recipe calls for—a whole cup as opposed to a couple of tablespoons—the bigger the impact a substitution will make. For light brown sugar, that usually means 3.5% molasses. All rights reserved. The difference between light and dark brown sugar is simply the amount of molasses each contains. Simply put, dark brown sugar contains more molasses than light brown sugar. For dark brown sugar, that amount is nearly doubled—6.5% molasses! (Note: Billington’s calls this sugar Dark Brown Molasses Sugar. Although there are no regulations dictating how much molasses must be added to the refined sugar to make light or dark brown sugar, most producers put about 3 percent molasses in light and 6 percent molasses in dark. Refined brown sugar (as opposed to raw brown sugars like turbinado or muscovado) is simply white sugar with the addition of molasses. Brown sugar makes baked goods more moist than white sugar because of the molasses content, says Pichet Ong, pastry chef and author of “The Sweet Spot: Asian Inspired Desserts.”This means you may have to adjust some of the other proportions in the recipe if you sub in brown sugar for white, like slightly decreasing the wet ingredients or upping the dry ones. The ingredient that separates brown sugar from the others is molasses, added after white sugar is refined. Demerara is a semi-refined sugar. Its best friend is salt, though most dessert recipes don't pair them as often as they should. Dark brown sugar simply has more molasses to give it a deeper brown color than light brown sugar. Dark brown sugar has a very strong molasses flavor, while light brown sugar is a little drier and has a much milder flavor. Here are the other foods with incredible shelf lives. Both are equally sweeter in taste but the benefits are different. Ever found yourself in the baking aisle, wondering which variety of brown sugar to choose for your recipe? UNREFINED SOFT BROWN SUGAR: A distinctive caramel taste. Light brown sugar is used more often in baking , while dark brown sugar, with a bolder molasses flavor, is delicious used as a … You don’t have to compensate for one type of sugar or the other by adding or subtracting any ingredients, so it’s safe to switch between the two based on what you happen to have in your pantry. This helps dark brown sugar have a more deep, complex flavor that’s closer to toffee or caramel. The Test: Swap the 50% white sugar + 50% light brown sugar, originally in the recipe, for 50% white sugar + 50% dark brown sugar. Brown sugar is formed during the late stages of sugar processing. You probably have a lengthy list of items you need to keep stocked in the house at all times: coffee, toothpaste, conditioner, coffee, eggs, beer, bandaids, coffee, hand sanitizer, laundry detergent, TOILET PAPER… You’ve got a lot to take care of, so it’s understandable that you wouldn’t always have both light brown and dark brown sugar on hand whenever a desire to bake something strikes. And the amount of molasses is what distinguishes light brown (less molasses) from dark brown (more). Recipes you want to make. if your recipe is calling for dark and you only use light, your product will probably not be as moist or flavorful as it should be, depending on what you're making. If your recipe doesn’t specify “light” or”dark,” it probably assumes you’re going to use light brown sugar. While light and dark brown sugar are interchangeable, they’re not exact substitutes. However, more molasses does mean dark brown sugar has slightly higher levels of acidity and moisture. The difference is that less molasses is used. Not really. The darker the brown sugar, the more molasses it contains. Cooking advice that works. Muscovado sugar is very dark brown in color and has more molasses than light or dark brown sugar. It’s typically manufactured using a mixture of white sugar and molasses, which is a type of thick, brown syrup that is produced during the sugar-making process. Light brown sugar contains 3.5% molasses of total volume, whereas dark brown sugar is 6.5% molasses. (Did you know that sugar can last forever? Here are the other foods with incredible shelf lives.). Light Brown Sugar. You can increase the molasses content by adding a tablespoon of molasses to each cup of … Emma Kumer is a marathon-runner, magazine-writer, and graphic design addict. Just having one is a victory! Brown sugar is sugar that has been sprayed with molasses, so it is generally a richer flavour. © 2020 Condé Nast. Light brown sugar, more versatile than dark brown sugar, is roughly 95% sucrose. Photo by Alex Lau, food styling by Sue Li, Butternut Squash, Coconut, and Ginger Muffins. Like white sugar, brown sugar is a sweetener produced from either the sugarcane or sugar beet plant. Making your own brown sugar is so simple and easy and it tastes exactly like store-bought! All other variables kept as-is. Light and dark soft brown sugars have different flavour and moisture properties, so you can only replace one with the other in small quantities. Light brown sugar has less molasses per total volume of sugar (about 3.5% according to Rose Levy Beranbaum) while dark brown sugar has more (6.5%). (Did you know that sugar can last forever? Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated as of 1/1/21) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated as of 1/1/21) and Your California Privacy Rights. While white sugar only contains sugar crystals, brown sugar is made from sugar crystals and molasses. When trying to cut out empty calories, the brown sugar benefits available thanks to the molasses content are a great bonus. It is simply less refined than white sugar and has much larger crystals, but it can still be used in cakes. For dark brown sugar, that amount is nearly doubled—6.5% molasses. Brown sugar is essentially the same as refined white sugar. The syrup is boiled, evaporated once again to crystals, then spun dry in a centrifuge. Best for: Baked goods with liquid fat; puffier, chewier cookies (such as sugar cookies ). But if you’re baking a crumb cake that calls for a whopping 1¾ cups dark brown sugar for the streusel, you’ll probably want to get your hands on the right stuff since so much of the flavor is going to come from the additional molasses. Because acidic molasses reacts with baking soda, using dark brown sugar in place of light might cause a higher rise and/or a wider spread. dark has more, light has less. It’s more common, a bit more versatile due to the subtler flavor, and many pro bakers (like Dorie Greenspan, Joanne Chang, and Sarah Kieffer) use it to develop their recipes. For dark brown sugar, that amount is nearly doubled—6.5% molasses! What is the difference between light brown and dark brown sugar? The darker the brown sugar, the more molasses it contains. Muscovado sugar, also known as Barbados sugar, is a type of British brown sugar. The first bowl contains light brown sugar, the second is dark brown sugar, and the third is dark brown muscovado sugar. It comes in different brown colors depending on the amount of molasses that have been added. It’s damp and denser than caster or demerara. Here’s the trick to measuring brown sugar—and other common baking ingredients. Dark brown sugar is almost the same as light brown sugar except there is a little bit more molasses added back to it than light brown sugar. Demerara sugar. The molasses also gives it a stronger caramel flavor. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. You'll never run out of brown sugar if you keep two simple ingredients on hand: white granulated sugar and molasses. Like palm sugar, dark brown sugar is less sweet than refined white sugar. To improve your sugar repertoire, make sure you also know the basics of turbinado sugar. Falls somewhere in between light and dark brown sugar is a type of British brown sugar most. 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