Making Brown Sugar At Home Couldn't Be Easier

Brown sugar is a staple ingredient in everyday baking, yielding a deeper flavor while sweetening baked goods at the same time. It's present in almost every cookie recipe and has a thicker consistency than granulated sugar. According to Bakerpedia, brown sugar was first discovered in the Caribbean during the 1700s, and then spread throughout England and American colonies due to its unique appearance and taste, and because it was more cost-efficient than white sugar. 

Commercially, brown sugar is made with sugarcane, which is first cleaned, chopped, milled, pressed, and clarified into cane juice. The juice is then boiled and reduced into a syrup, and from there, goes through crystallization and centrifugation in order to separate the sugar crystals. Lastly, molasses is added.

That's right; brown sugar isn't just sugar. According to Food Insight, molasses is a thick syrup made up of refined sugar beets and sugarcane. Sugar beets give molasses that slight bitterness, which actually results in brown sugar being subtly less sweet than white sugar. But if brown sugar is essentially just granulated sugar and molasses, can you make it yourself and save a trip to the store? You certainly can.

It's just two simple ingredients

Let's paint the picture. You're whipping the butter to start the dough for Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, and the next ingredients are brown sugar and granulated sugar. You've got the latter ... plenty of it, actually, but no brown sugar. But, you've got a jar of molasses from making last year's gingerbread cookie recipe! Don't fret! You've got just what you need to make brown sugar. 

According to The Spruce Eats, the go-to guide for making brown sugar is mixing one tablespoon of molasses into one cup of sugar. Simply stir with a fork and store in an airtight container. If making dark brown sugar using white sugar, mix two tablespoons of molasses in with one cup of sugar. If making dark brown sugar from light brown sugar, simply stir in 1 tablespoon of molasses in with 1 cup of light brown sugar.

Sugar is refined, and adding a liquid such as molasses into sugar is working in reverse. This is why brown sugar is more likely to clump up and harden compared to granulated sugar, which holds more moisture. Fun fact: a way to soften hardened brown sugar is by adding citrus peels into the mix. Gemma's Bigger Bolder Baking also states that adding all the hardened pieces to a bowl, topping it with a damp paper towel, and zapping it in the microwave for 30 seconds will do just the trick.