The 5 Best Brown Sugar Substitutes
Brown sugar may be a jewelry in baking, but not having this does not mean you can't make delicious desserts. The deep brown color and rich flavor of brown sugar are unmatched. However, using the right brown sugar substitute can give you very satisfying results.
If you love to cook or are interested in desserts, here's what you need to know about brown sugar. Every dessert needs a sweetening agent. Where most people use white sugar, some love adding brown sugar to their cakes and desserts. That’s because brown sugar is something special. Its beautiful brown color and rich flavor make it an interesting ingredient.
Brown sugar contains molasses; that's what gives it color and flavor. It is an extraordinary ingredient and can make a hell of a difference in the texture and flavor of the final product. However, not having brown sugar doesn’t mean you can't bake something tasteful. If you know the right ingredients, you can easily substitute brown sugar with something else and get the same results.
What Is Brown Sugar?
Brown sugar is a widely used ingredient. You can use it for baking purposes and to sweeten your tea, coffee or drink. Brown sugar is sweet in taste and has a hint of caramelization of molasses. Most people think brown sugar is just white sugar with a little bit of color in it. However, it is not true. Despite the sweetness, brown sugar is a different ingredient. Although its use is similar to white sugar, brown sugar has its own identity.
To make things less complicated, we can say that brown sugar is white sugar plus molasses. It is made almost the same way as white sugar. But unlike white sugar, it is less processed. Sugar comes from sugarcane juice. The juice is filtered and then cooked at high heat until it turns sticky and into a concentrated brown syrup called molasses. This syrup is centrifuged to form crystals. As the syrup is centrifuged, the sugar crystals are separated from molasses. As the molasses separate, the brown leftover sugar crystals are called brown sugar. When you further process brown sugar, you get white sugar which is free from any molasses. Most of the time, white sugar is mixed with molasses to get brown sugar. The two ways give us the same product.
Brown sugar comes in two forms, i.e., dark brown sugar and light brown sugar. The two differ not just in color but in flavor as well. Dark brown sugar has a more prominent caramel and toffee-like flavor, whereas the flavor of light brown sugar is more subtle.
You can easily get brown sugar from any grocery store. Since it is not as refined as white sugar, brown sugar has several minerals. Moreover, it also has lesser calories than white sugar, which makes it a good choice for added sugar.
What Are the Substitutes for Brown Sugar?
The most common substitute for brown sugar is white sugar, and the two ingredients are used interchangeably. Furthermore, anything sweet is a substitute for brown sugar. Many desserts, especially cakes and baked items, use brown sugar because of its caramel and toffee-like flavor. Furthermore, the presence of molasses adds a depth of flavor, richness and brown color to the cakes and desserts. However, if you don’t have brown sugar, you can simply use any other ingredient like white sugar to add to the dessert.
Also, white sugar isn't just the only substitute for brown sugar. There are several ingredients you can use for this purpose. Here are the substitutes for brown sugar.
5 Brown Sugar Substitutes
White sugar is undoubtedly the most common and perfect brown sugar substitute. It is easy to find and is a staple in every kitchen pantry. White sugar is the next step of brown sugar, i.e. when brown sugar is further processed, you get white sugar. It doesn't have any molasses in it. It is a great way to sweeten up your desserts without worrying about the light brown color you get with brown sugar.
Coconut, date and palm sugar all come from plants. Thus, these are plant-based like brown sugar. Firstly, coconut sugar is made from coconut. It has a sweet and subtle flavor. However, it isn’t strongly sweet. Coconut sugar comes in dried granulated form. So, it is just like white sugar. It isn't moist like brown sugar. Secondly, dates sugar is not actually in granulated form. It is made from dehydrated dates and is somewhat lumpy or sticky. You can simply use dehydrated dates. It is a natural form of sugar and is not at all refined. Thirdly and lastly, palm sugar comes in a hard or paste form. It is not in granulated or powdered form. It is also a natural and unrefined sugar. Using it can be a little complicated.
Maple Syrup / Agave Syrup
Maple or agave syrup comes from plants. They are in liquid (syrup) form, unlike brown sugar. But these are tremendous brown sugar substitutes. Maple syrup especially has the same golden-brown color and has a rich toffee and caramel-like flavor.
Honey is not a plant-based ingredient, but it is a good substitute for brown sugar. Honey is a natural form of adding sweetness to anything. It is not just healthy but gives a unique and almost umami flavor to the desserts. You can effortlessly replace brown sugar with honey.
Raw sugar is a very good brown sugar substitute. That's because they taste and look just like brown sugar. Raw sugars like demerara, muscovado or turbinado range from amber to dark brown. So, no one will be able to know you have used something other than brown sugar.
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