A sweetener that consists of sucrose crystals coveredwith a film of cane molasses. Molasses gives it the characteristiccolor and flavor. There are three grades: light, medium, and dark,which vary in sucrose content and color. It is used in baked goods,glazes, toppings, and fillings.
Brown sugar is crystalline sucrose combined with a small amount of molasses, which is responsible for its characteristic brown color and rich flavor. Depending on the variety of brown sugar, molasses is either added back to refined white sugar or left intact with the sugar crystals during the refining process.
Brown sugar is prized for its deep, rich flavor and color. Because molasses is hydroscopic, brown sugar and the baked goods made with it retain moisture well. Brown sugar also contains a slightly higher mineral content than regular refined white sugar due to the presence of molasses.
Uses for Brown Sugar:
Brown sugar is used very similarly to granulated white sugar but it provides a touch of extra flavor. Common uses for brown sugar include sweetening baked goods, beverages, sauces, and marinades. Some varieties of natural brown sugar are also used to make alcoholic beverages like rum.
Brown Sugar Varieties:
Light Brown Sugar: This is the most common type of brown sugar used for baking. Recipes that call for brown sugar without specifying either light or dark generally require light brown sugar. Light brown sugar contains approximately 3.5% molasses by weight.
Dark Brown Sugar: Dark brown sugar is approximately 6.5% molasses by weight and is used when an extra rich flavor or color is desired.
Sugar in the Raw: This is a natural brown sugar, which still contains the residues of molasses left over from the refining process. The sucrose crystals are generally slightly larger and it is less moist in texture than regular commercial brown sugar. Other varieties of natural brown sugar include Turbinado, Muscovado, and Demerara.
Liquid Brown Sugar: Domino Sugar, a predominant sugar manufacturer in the United States, used to produce a liquid brown sugar product. Although the product is no longer available, many older recipes still include this ingredient. To make a substitute for liquid brown sugar at home, combine one part water with three parts light brown sugar. The mixture may need to be heated slightly for the sugar to fully dissolve.
Difference Between the Brown sugar and white sugar:
All sugars, both brown and white included, start as sap in tropical sugarcane plants. Those are crushed, and the juice is extracted. It is then heated– a process that yields molasses. That molasses contains very dark sugar crystals. Manufacturers spin that in a centrifuge and the molasses is removed. The final product is white sugar.
Brown sugar can be purchased in a variety of colors ranging from light to dark brown. The flavor here is very strong and it seems soft and moist right out of the package. Decades ago, brown sugar was simply white sugar before all of the molasses was taken out. These days, though, brown sugar is white sugar where the molasses has been added back into the mix. The darker the sugar, the more molasses in the package.
In most cases, you can use brown and white sugar interchangeably, but you may notice a real difference in the texture of your baked goods. Remember that brown sugar is naturally moister, so you can bet that your baked goods with be a bit softer and moister as well. What’s more is that your baked goods may come out slightly darker than you’d expected if you use brown sugar instead of the more traditional white sugar. The level of sweetness in your baked goods, though, won’t change even if you use them interchangeably.
For years, many have believed the urban legend that brown sugar is healthier than white sugar, but that’s simply not the case. The amount of nutrients in the molasses added back to the sugar is miniscule, so you’re not actually getting a healthier product. Moreover, though, these days, the molasses is added back in to make brown sugar, so you’re actually getting a more refined product than you were initially.
If you do wish to substitute brown sugar for white sugar while you’re baking, there are several things you may want to do. First, remember, brown sugar contains more moisture, so you may need to decrease other wet ingredients in your recipe or increase some of your dry ingredients to compensate. Second, think carefully about texture. If you’re trying to bake a cake, you want it to be fairly dry, so stay with a white sugar. If you’re doing a fruit quick bread like a banana or a zucchini bread, you may want a moist, rich texture, so brown sugar can be the perfect way to go.
How to Make Brown Sugar
Brown sugar can be prepared at home by combining one tablespoon of molasses for every cup of granulated white sugar. Stir the sugar and molasses together until an even color and texture are achieved. Store the brown sugar in an air-tight container.
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