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Ellen Shapiro

Everything you wanted to know about Brown Sugar

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There are many cakes that I prefer to make with brown sugar. Dense cakes, like pound cakes, seem to lend themselves to the molassses flavors found there. I just replace 1/1 for the other kinds of sugar called for.

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I try to make everything with brown sugar. I place white sugar in the food processor and slowly add good quality organic molasses to the desired deepness. This is way better than store bought. I make a batch at a time and never have to buy two kinds of sugar. The white sugar sack is generally cheaper, especially when it's on sale and this saves me a bundle when I make my own.

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Sounds like a resounding, "Yes, brown sugar is good" I'm glad cause I never buy white sugar except for baking, and I do prefer the taste of brown.

I just wondered, since brown sugar seems to melt quicker, whether white sugar would make for a fluffier, taller cake?

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Brown sugar does tend to give cakes a bit more density -- I'm thinking the added moisture factor as well. I have not seen that it is apprecialbly different in general usage. However, if you are baking a lighter/airier cake you might be more pleased with following the original recipe. I would say that you gotta try it and see. For a standard marble cake, as you inquired about originally, I wouldn't hesitate to use the light brown sugar. There is a bit of trade-off . . . a bit taller with white than brown, but the brown gives you a moister cake. Your eggs will effect this as well as the sugar.

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For a standard marble cake, as you inquired about originally, I wouldn't hesitate to use the light brown sugar. There is a bit of trade-off . . .  a bit taller with white than brown, but the brown gives you a moister cake. Your eggs will effect this as well as the sugar.

Okay, Judith, will take your advice and use brown. Thanks again!

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I generally use brown sugar in chocolate cakes, because of the additional moisture and depth of flavour. Also, I prefer a dense, moist cake as opposed to a high, fluffy cake.

My favourite "quicker-than-mix" quick cake goes from a white cake to a butterscotch cake with that substitution.

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Does anyone know the ratio of white sugar and molasses to make brown sugar?

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I've seen different proportions, but it seems about 1 1/2 tablespoons of molasses plus 1 cup white sugar will give you light brown sugar. For dark brown, about 3/4 cup white sugar and 1/4 cup molasses. You can use those proportions as a base, and play around with them.

Just wanted to add, according to another website, use 1 tablespoon of molasses per 1 cup of white sugar for light brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons per cup for dark. Those might be easier proportions to start out with.


Edited by prasantrin (log)

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Same idea as the bread - any gourmet store or kitchen store will have a brown sugar saver which is a piece of clay that you soak with water and put in your sugar container. The moisture loosens the sugar, and generally lasts for a few months, depending on your climate.

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Thank you, prasantrin!!! It something to begin with :) I like the second proportions much more :) (order molasses from England ;))

And also I have quite firm piece of brown sugar (very expencive I should say!) and nothing helped tosoften it .

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I have been able to soften even the most rock-like brown sugar by putting it in an airtight container alongside - but not touching - a new damp sponge (I squeeze out almost all of the water so it is simply damp, not dripping). This method has never failed, and the longest that it took even the most recalcitrant lumps to soften was two days. Most of the sugar was usable after one day.

I've never been happy with the results from using the microwave for this.

Barb

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From the cake bible:

1 cup Light brown sugar = 1 cup granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup unsulfered light molasses

1 cup Dark brown sugar = 1 cup granulated sugar plus 1/2 cup unsulfered light molasses


Edited by Becca Porter (log)

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Same idea as the bread - any gourmet store or kitchen store will have a brown sugar saver which is a piece of clay that you soak with water and put in your sugar container.  The moisture loosens the sugar, and generally lasts for a few months, depending on your climate.

This has worked well for me.

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I was wondering if anyone can help me with what i can substitute if i don't have brown sugar. I am traveling out of the country and I can't seem to find anything similar to our brown sugar or golden brown sugar. I love to bake when I go visit family, but a lot of the cookies I make require ingredients that I can't find. Making a simple chocolate chip cookie turns into a mission. Thank you for you help.


Edited by chiripaja30 (log)

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You can add 2 to 4 tablespoonfuls of molasses for every cupful of white sugar. Depends on how dark you want the brown sugar to be.

Eileen

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I'm loving the look of the lenox almond biscotti in Dorie's book, but I want to use pecans (I'm not an almond fan) and absolutely love what a brown and white sugar dough does with pecans. In fact, I've been known to make her chocolate chip cookies without chips, but with a lot of pecans.

So, should I want to introduce some brown sugar into a particular recipe that calls for only white sugar, any suggestions?

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Just remember, when you use brown sugar, your dough will retain more moisture and be softer.

The higher amount of brown sugar, the less crisp your final product will be.

So assuming you are asking this question in regard to biscotti, go ahead and use a percentage of brown sugar for the flavor you like, but also know you will probably have to give it more time on the second bake (the one after you slice it up) to get the crispness biscotti needs. :smile:

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I read something recently that suggested that I substitute different less-refined sugars -- such as demerara or turbinado -- for the brown sugar that is called for in so many confections.

 

What do y'all think of this?  Does it make sense? 

 

It seems that the volumes would be dramatically different, because of the large crystals in retail raw sugars. 

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I am suspicious of this. Why mess with a recipe for no good reason. There's no brown sugar shortage.

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On 12/30/2017 at 11:59 AM, gfweb said:

I am suspicious of this. Why mess with a recipe for no good reason. There's no brown sugar shortage.

 

Commercial brown sugar is refined white sugar sprayed with refined molasses and has a rather one note brown sugar flavor. Raw sugars are closer to the natural, unprocessed state and have a more complex, mellow flavor. It's not better or worse, it's just a different end product. Something like Demerara or Turbinado is closer to 50/50 white/brown than all brown. Something like Mexican Piloncillo is closer to 100% brown sugar. 

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11 minutes ago, Shalmanese said:

 

Commercial brown sugar is refined white sugar sprayed with refined molasses and has a rather one note brown sugar flavor. Raw sugars are closer to the natural, unprocessed state and have a more complex, mellow flavor. It's not better or worse, it's just a different end product. Something like Demerara or Turbinado is closer to 50/50 white/brown than all brown. Something like Mexican Piloncillo is closer to 100% brown sugar. 

Thanks for the tip, Shalmanese.

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