If you are someone who think they are the only ones falling prey to the last-minute baking blunder, you are wrong. The most common problem while you are planning to bake is reaching out for brown sugar only to find an empty box in the cabinet. Don’t worry, it can happen to anyone and we have got some amazing brown sugar substitutes. It is found easily in a kitchen household.
Brown sugar is an essential ingredient in baked food items and some desserts. It is something that you don’t want to miss out, at least there should be something similar to it, if not brown sugar. Prepared from molasses and granulated sugar, brown sugar has a rich, caramel-like flavor that can give a delicious taste to your baked goods. It also works excellent for barbecue sauces and other dishes.
So, if you are run out of brown sugar and do not want to make rounds to the grocery store, check out these easy brown sugar substitutes that you prepared instantly.
Best Brown Sugar Substitute
Granulated sugar and maple syrup
When you don’t have either brown sugar or molasses, maple syrup can come to your rescue.
Take one cup of granulated sugar and mix 1-2tblspns of maple syrup to it. If you want the texture dark, add one-fourth cup of maple syrup. Mix it well in a mixer or food processor and your brown sugar is ready!
In case you don’t have both molasses and maple syrup, you can use agave nectar. Follow the same ratio of the ingredients.
One of the most popular raw sugars is turbinado sugars. It is minimally processed sugar, which you use to sweeten your coffee or add some on top of your pies or muffins. It has a slight flavor of molasses, which makes it a perfect replacement for brown sugar alternative. However, you should keep in mind some of the following things while swapping it for brown sugar.
Turbinado sugar is not very similar to the flavor of molasses, but will give you a slight hint in some baked goods and sauces.
It doesn’t have much moisture, so it can cause the dish to dry a little (depending on what you are using it for). Make sure you use the sugar in liquid batters of cakes, brownies or sometimes, sauces. You can always make up for the lack of moisture by adding a few drops of maple syrup or molasses.
The crystals of turbinado sugar are larger than granulated sugar, so you must drink it in a food processor before use.
Here’s yet another perfect substitute to brown sugar, muscovado sugar. It is delicious and tastes very much similar to molasses. So, if you don’t have the other alternatives to prepare brown sugar, you can use muscovado sugar. It is a minimally processed natural sugar, which makes it a healthier alternative than granulated sugar. The sugar is darker in color and has a strong flavor, due to its molasses content. Another benefit of using this sugar as a brown sugar replacement is it consists of a good amount of moisture. It reduces the chances of clumping while preparing the dish. It is used mostly for baking recipes like molasses cookies or ginger cookies.
Prepared from the flower buds’ sap of the coconut palm tree, coconut sugar can be an excellent alternative to brown sugar. With its widespread use as the brown sugar substitute, coconut sugar is found easily in most grocery stores. It is very similar to brown sugar is texture and gives a mildly sweet flavor to the dish. It will hardly change the end product in taste or texture.
If nothing mentioned above works for you, simply add some extra granulated sugar to the dish. You will not get the exact taste with brown molasses, maple sugar or any other suitable substitute, but at least you can save you time by not running to the supermarket.
How can you soften brown sugar?
On drying hard, brown sugar gets very hard, like brick-hard! You should always store brown sugar in a sealable plastic bag and then in an airtight box. If the brown sugar you have has already turned hard, here are a few tips that can help:
In case you need it immediately, microwave it for a few seconds and use.
If you are planning to bake after a few days and find the brown sugar you have has gone hard, put a small piece of soft bread or a slice of apple inside the box.
You can use a brown sugar disc to protect brown sugar from turning hard. It is a disc-like piece of pottery that is put wet in the plastic bag of brown sugar.
How to prepare sugar-free brown sugar substitute?
If you are on a low-carb diet, craving for a sweet dish, but don’t have brown sugar handy, try using Sukrin Gold. Presently, it is one of the best replacements for low-carb brown sugar. It might be a little expensive or out of reach for some people. So, we have brought you an easy way of preparing your own low-carb brown sugar substitute.
It is prepared using Ethyritol, Maple Extract (Mapleine) or Stevia glycerite, which are readily available online and at some of the grocery stores. Out of the various maple extracts available in the market, Mapleine is the best option for low-car brown sugar extract. It gives the perfect color and flavor as compared to other maple extracts.
Use stevia glycerite to prepare brown sugar substitute equally sweet as the regular brown sugar. Stevia works as an excellent sweetener and glycerine helps to keep the low-carb brown sugar soft. It is a concentrated form of stevia that doesn’t taste bitter. You can get a bottle of 8 oz and it will last for a year or even more.
In case you find out to be allergic to stevia, add a few teaspoons of a monk fruit sweetener, making a 1:1 ratio of the brown sugar equivalent. The bottle of powdered monk fruit sweetener lasts for up to 570 servings. It works great for sweetening your coffee. If stevia glycerine recipe is not suitable for your budget, add some maple extract to the recipe instead.
How to make your own dark brown sugar?
Dark brown sugar is nothing but white sugar with added molasses (almost 6.5%). You can either add light molasses or dark molasses to make dark brown sugar, but do not add blackstrap molasses. The formula of preparing dark brown sugar is very easy simple. Just add one-fourth cup of molasses to a cup of white sugar.
Another way to make dark brown sugar doesn’t talk about adding an ingredient rather removing it. You need to remove as much granulated sugar as the amount of molasses you add to the recipe. Suppose, you need 4 cups of brown sugar, you can use 3 cups of sugar and 1 cup of molasses.
While you can easily mix the ingredients using your hands, we recommend to grind it in a mixer for a perfect result. It blends the mixture well and gives a finished product, exactly the same as the packaged dark brown sugar. You can use this dark brown sugar in all the dishes for which you would use the packaged grocery store pack.
A second choice – Light Brown Sugar
Light brown sugar is among the best substitute for dark brown sugar because it is also a mix of granulated sugar and molasses. The only difference between the two is that for light brown sugar, you add less amount of molasses as compared to dark brown sugar. You can increase the amount of molasses to each cup of the light brown sugar, while removing 1 tablespoon of light brown sugar.
Another way is to just use unadulterated light brown sugar. You might lose some flavor and color of the molasses, but the difference is negligible.
A pinch of Honey
Adding honey instead of dark brown sugar can work for some dishes. In fact, it is sweeter than dark brown sugar, which can make your dish more flavorful and moist. However, you need to keep a few things in mind while using honey in place of dark brown sugar. Use less honey as compared to the amount of brown sugar required for the recipe. It is because honey is heavier than the same amount of dark brown sugar and it is sweeter too. If the recipe demands one cup or less brown sugar, you can use the equivalent amount of honey. In other cases, use 2/3 cup of honey for every one cup of sugar as replacement.
Note: Honey is a mild acidic nature, which can affect the taste of the dish. To neutralize the acid, use ¼ teaspoon of backing soda for every cup of honey.
Other easily available alternatives
For a recipe in which you do not require molasses but dark brown sugar or you don’t have molasses, use maple syrup instead. The amount of maple syrup to use depends on the amount of sugar required for the recipe. Suppose you need one cup of dark brown sugar, replace it with ¾ cup of maple syrup. If you are planning to use the substitute for baked goods, you need to adjust the amount of liquids you are going to use in the recipe. For example, if you are using ¾ cup of maple syrup, reduce other fluids by the same amount.
How to make your own light brown sugar substitute
Light brown sugar is used in baked goods and foods like oatmeal, banana bread and even barbecue sauce. You can use it as a milder substitute to dark brown sugar’s darker color and intense flavor. If you often use light brown sugar for cooking, you might run out of it anytime, especially when you need it the most. Thankfully, there are amazing substitutes for light brown sugar. You can even prepare your light brown sugar. Read on!
As both light and dark brown sugar contains granulated white sugar and molasses, you can easily make it on your own. Just remember to remove the refined sugar as per the added amount of molasses. To have one cup of light brown sugar, one or less than one tablespoon of molasses to one cup of white sugar. Mix it well with help of a blender and you will get the perfect texture of light brown sugar, same as the prepackaged version you would find at the grocery store. However, make sure to use real molasses for the substitute and not blackstrap molasses because it has a different character altogether.
A second choice – Demerara Sugar
Demerara sugar is unrefined sugar, gold in color. It is slightly pale than light brown sugar. It is prepared from the first boiling of sugar cane syrup. After the first boil, the syrup is sent for dehydration until sugar crystals are formed. The reason behind the color of demerara sugar is that it is prepared from sugar cane syrup, which also contains some amount of molasses.
Mostly, demerara sugar has large crystals that other sugar types. The crystals are larger than light brown sugar. You can use it as a light brown sugar substitute for baking goods, but its large crystals can make it a not-so-good alternative to other food items. The fact to consider is that an ounce of demerara sugar will have a less sweetening effect than an ounce of white sugar (refined).
In a pinch – White sugar and dark brown sugar
If you don’t have either of demerara sugar or molasses to use as a substitute for light brown sugar, you can simply mix dark brown sugar and white sugar. While dark brown sugar can give too dark color or excess molasses flavor to your dish, you can cut down the effect by using the same amount of white sugar. It adjusts the flavor and lightens the color. Once properly diluted, this can be an effective alternative to light brown sugar.
The Bottom Line
Now that you know the tricks of making a brown sugar substitute, you can bake items or make barbeque sauce anytime you want. So, the next time you miss out brown sugar for your recipe, you know what will rescue you.