… Step 2 Stella Parks, one of my go-to sources for baking information and recipes, has an excellent explanation of how granulated and brown sugars act in cookies. I’m really enjoying it. When not in the kitchen, Stella spends most of her time polishing Star Trek quotes, re-watching Battlestar Galactica, and playing video games. White sugar, conversely, would fail to react with the baking soda, but after being properly creamed, it'd still aerate the dough well enough to provide some lift. Bake until the sides are set and the bottoms are light golden brown, 10 to … Acidic brown sugar, on the other hand, speeds gluten formation and egg protein coagulation, so the dough sets quickly, making cookies thick and tender/chewy. Substituting light for dark brown sugar (or vice versa). Will dark brown sugar darken my light gold pie glaze? I had always used dark brown sugar….until I sent my husband to the store and he came back with light brown. First, the white sugar would fail to react with the baking soda, so the dough would spread out thin and dense. Light Brown Sugar. It also adds flavor to my crispy gingersnaps. Neutral white sugar can't participate in that reaction, so cookies are comparatively thin, dense, and crisp (chewy if kept from browning). The Kitchen Post | Dark brown vs light brown sugar, http://bakingbites.com/2011/09/dark-brown-vs-light-brown-sugar-in-baking/, Difference between: light brown sugar and dark brown sugar | ErinLanders.com, Trader Joe’s Stroopwafel Cake Baking Mix, reviewed. 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%). when using light sugar for dark. 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. I’m seeing now the difference and will definitely be using different types for different recipes. 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. And certainly nothing so complex as a cookie, however simple and sweet it seems. Choose this option if you want to reduce the molasses taste in your baked goods by cutting the dark brown sugar with white as a replacement for light brown. As much as I liked the cookies, I wanted to love them. White sugar turns my oatmeal cookies crisp and thin, and keeps my sugar cookies soft and thick. Yes. If all you have is light brown sugar, you can make dark brown sugar by stirring in about 1 or 2 teaspoons of molasses into the 3/4 cup dark brown sugar… Replace each cup of packed light brown sugar with 2/3 cup of packed dark brown sugar and 1/3 cup white sugar. The two most common brown sugars are light brown and dark brown. Post whatever you want, just keep it seriously about eats, seriously. What is the difference between light brown and dark brown sugar? Place the granulated sugar in a medium bowl. I figured a little molasses flavor would pair nicely with the peanut butter. -For each 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar called for in a recipe, use 1 1/2 tablespoons molasses plus 1 cup granulated sugar. This might mean that, for example, a batch of cookies baked with dark brown sugar instead of light may rise a bit higher and taste a bit more caramel-y than those made with light brown sugar. —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. ... Holiday baking season means lots of cookies, and we have plenty of great Christmas cookie recipes... Explainers Christmas Cheesecake: The Most Wonderful Dessert of the Year. They spread less and rise more with white sugar, and do the opposite with brown. Just to be clear, we’re talking about packing brown sugar into a measuring cup, not in our luggage! Making your own brown sugar is so simple and easy and it tastes exactly like store-bought! You should be just fine with regular brown sugar. For starters, it's the basic building block of any dough, establishing the overall pH. Can I use demerara sugar instead? We may earn a commission on purchases, as described in our affiliate policy. I, too, have always wanted to know the difference and finally took the time to look it up!!!!! In recipes that involve baking soda, the primary role of acidic brown sugar is to react with sodium bicarbonate and produce carbon dioxide, making cookies thick, puffy, and soft (cakey at first, then crunchy if they continue to bake). Baking minds want to know: What is the difference between light brown sugar and dark brown sugar? Confectioners' Sugar. As a rule of thumb, when recipes call for white and brown sugars, it's to get the best of both worlds in terms of flavor and texture; all good things in moderation. Sugar also attracts water from the dough, interfering with gluten formation, protein coagulation, and gelatinization of starch—even bacterial development! So, aside from its obvious sweetness, what else does sugar do in a cookie? White sugar, with its neutral pH, interferes with gluten development, allowing the dough to spread more before it sets. For dark brown sugar, that amount is nearly doubled—6.5% molasses. Brown sugar is white sugar that has had a small amount of molasses added to it. Thanks for this blog…just this Friday I sent my husband to the store with a list & got dark brown sugar instead of the light brown I usually used. Rose Levy Berenbaum advises that if a recipe does not specify which to use, you should go with light brown sugar. Those chemical agents can smoke and burn during caramelization, but also undergo the Maillard reaction, developing increasingly rich and complex flavors. Dark brown sugar is … Now take my oatmeal cookies, a recipe that involves baking soda and melted butter. Karol – It could certainly help and is worth a shot! Using all light brown sugar will yield cookies … You will also need to consider moisture; the lack of moisture in light brown sugar or the added moisture in dark brown sugar can affect the extent to which a cake rises. Watch a video of the recipe at CooksIllustrated.com. Will the "crunchiness" of the demerara dissolve during baking? Its best friend is salt, though most dessert recipes don't pair them as often as they should. Light brown sugar, more versatile than dark brown sugar, is roughly 95% sucrose. This helps dark brown sugar have a deeper, more complex flavor that’s closer to toffee or caramel. Your cookies just won’t be as dark. Required fields are marked *. Brown-Sugar Shortbread Cookies Then again, with heat and time, it can caramelize into something complex and deliciously bitter. If the recipe calls for light but dark is all you have, use a packed 2/3 cup dark and 1/3 cup white for every packed cup of light sugar needed. Both light and dark brown sugar contain molasses, but dark brown sugar contains more. Lol. The vast majority of our favorite recipes will meet at least one of these conditions, so they're useful in predicting how sugar substitutions will impact a cookie's texture, for better or for worse. All products linked here have been independently selected by our editors. In comparison, dark brown sugar is typically a third molasses while light brown sugar is about a sixth molasses. Recipe ingredients are for light brown sugar. The molasses makes your food richer in flavor and chewier. Like white sugar, brown sugar is a sweetener produced from either the sugarcane or sugar beet plant. Both sugars are hygroscopic, so they compete with flour to soak up moisture from the dough, but brown more so than white. When recipes do make a recommendation for dark brown over light brown sugar, it’s not because of the way that the sugars function, but because of the flavors that they impart in a recipe. the difference is the amount of molasses. Considering the number of variables, it's impossible to say things like "White sugar makes cookies thin and crisp," or "Brown sugar makes cookies thick and chewy." By the way, I really like and appreciate all the baking info that you’ve posted, they’re really interesting and helpful, so thank you, Nicole! In the case of the baking soda, the brown sugar would make the cookies thick and puffy by reacting with it to create carbon dioxide; in the case of the melted butter, it would speed gluten development and protein coagulation, making the cookies thicker and tender/chewy. In that role, white sugar aerates the dough when creamed with butter for thick and puffy cookies. Dark Brown vs. Light Brown Sugar. Generally I default to using light brown sugar in most of my recipes (in pretty much everything except for my Gingerbread). This helps dark brown sugar have a more deep, complex flavor that’s closer to toffee or caramel. Some comments may be held for manual review. Because of the increased amount of molasses, dark brown sugar has a darker and deeper color with a stronger flavor. Neither cookie is well balanced, but each has its own charm. FAVORITE BROWN SUGAR RECIPES. Since light brown and dark brown sugar are generally interchangeable, it is worth taking a chance and playing around with their flavors, seeing what they add to different recipes (such as chocolate chip cookie) and what type of sugar produces your favorite result. Both features are endearing to the masses, perhaps, but irrelevant compared to the subjects' true importance.  Many grocery stores also stock golden brown sugar, which falls … (Note: Billington’s calls this sugar Dark Brown Molasses Sugar. Can I substitute light brown sugar for dark brown sugar, and vice versa? They’re soft and chewy … The sugar is dark due to the high molasses content which in the case of this brand (Billington’s) is never removed. Recipes don’t usually specify because the different types of brown sugars are interchangeable and will perform the same way in just about every cookie, cake, bread or other recipe that they’re included in. When recipes call for all white or all brown sugar, it's to achieve a specific effect. I have a recipe that calls for dark brown sugar. Still, without a touch of molasses, the cookies would taste overly sweet and one-dimensional (something an extra pinch of salt could improve, at least a bit). Along with the increased amount of molasses comes a deeper, darker color, slightly more moisture and acidity, and a stronger flavor with more pronounced caramel … Stella Parks is our CIA-trained baking nerd and resident pastry wizard, dubbed one of America's Best New Pastry Chefs by Food & Wine. Your email address will not be published. The addition of molasses gives the sugar a dark color and rich, caramel-like flavor. Today, the light brown and dark brown sugar you commonly buy is white granulated sugar with molasses added back in — up to 10% molasses, by weight. Light brown sugar can be used in place of the dark, but the cookies won't be as full-flavored." dark has more, light has less. You'll never run out of brown sugar if you keep two simple ingredients on hand: white granulated sugar and molasses. Brown sugar alone wouldn't whip up with the butter quite as well as white sugar would, but it'd react more intensely with the baking soda. Try substituting one for the other in a case like this, and there are a few more (equally predictable) possible outcomes. It will make most baked goods too dark and (in some cases) too bitter. 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. Brown sugar makes my sugar cookies spread thin and keeps my oatmeal cookies from spreading at all; it makes both of them extra chewy. However, more molasses does mean dark brown sugar has slightly higher levels of acidity and moisture. To make light brown sugar from dark brown sugar: -To make light brown sugar from dark brown sugar, use 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Brown and white sugars have unique strengths and weaknesses that can be leveraged (or squandered) to achieve any texture, so it's not a question of what they do for a cookie, but how. The lower ratio of butter to sugar, flour and … Along with having both light and dark brown sugar, the recipe calls for less butter than most chocolate chip cookie recipes and an extra egg yolk. The darker the brown sugar, the more molasses it contains. A darker brown sugar brings that slightly bitter molasses note to gingerbread and can add depth of flavor to chocolate cake. When in doubt, start small! They’re both used in many recipes to create an even richer molasses flavor without adding more bitterness (molasses itself is slightly bitter). In recipes that involve soft or melted butter, sugar can play a critical role in gluten development by acting as a tenderizer, but white and brown sugars aren't the same in that regard, either. My gingerbread ) sugar into a measuring cup, not hydro-, because `` hygro- '' refers ambient. Karol – it could certainly help and is worth a shot a time, but each has its charm. A light-caramel or brown hue sent my husband to the store and he back! 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