Let’s talk about brown sugar! It’s easily one of my favorite baking staples. It’s deep, sweet, and utterly lovely.
Commercially produced brown sugar (the kind most of us probably buy) is a mixture of granulated sugar (from canes or beets) and molasses.
Wait… do you know how brown sugar is made? Unrefined sugar is stripped down to bare bones sugar crystals. Two things are created in this process: granulated sugar and molasses. Did you know that molasses is a by-product of the sugar-making process? Pretty cool, I think.
Molasses is then added back to the processed granulated sugar to create Light Brown Sugar and Dark Brown Sugar. Light Brown sugar has less molasses than Dark Brown Sugar… makes sense, right?
You probably have granulated sugar and molasses on hand. You can totally make your own brown sugar! It’s a thing. It’s a total lifesaver.
Let’s also talk about measuring brown sugar.
You might see a recipe that reads: 1 cup brown sugar, packed.
If we’re using measuring cups instead of weighing our ingredients, here’s the deal- spoon brown sugar into measuring cup. With medium pressure, use the back of the spoon to press sugar into the bottom of the measuring cup. We’re packing brown sugar so we don’t have any air gaps in our sugar measuring. Continue to spoon sugar and pack it down until full, and sugar is flush with the top of the measuring cup. Dump sugar into prepared bowl. The sugar will hold its shape as it comes out of the cup, then collapse and break up into the bowl. That’s an evenly packed cup of brown sugar, with no sneaky air pockets!
Then! You’re all set to make Brown Sugar Sugar Cookies!
Check out India Tree in Seattle… They have a fantastic line of sugars… a little pricey but VERY good.
yummy chewy cookies :-)
i lovei love, love, love brown sugar and use it in place of white whenever i can. maybe someday i’ll grow up the rest of the way and just start pouring in the molasses. someday!
If I don’t have any desserts in the house, I’ve been known to pull out the brown sugar and eat a couple of spoonfuls. Love it!
LOVE me some brown sugar! Have you ever tried BLACK SUGAR? It’s quite popular here in Buenos Aires. I’m a whore for it, especially in pecan pie.
I love these posts explaining the “why’s” of cooking/baking. I’ve used your recipe for cake flour a handful of times since your post and now I feel like I need to try my hand at making brown sugar! Can’t wait for the next one :)
Julie @ Outtakes on the Outskirts
Your page on how to make brown sugar at home is how I discovered your wonderful blog over a year ago! I had promised my husband cookies, realized I was completely out of brown sugar, and your blog saved the day! Now, I’m completed addicted to your recipes and the Joy the Baker Podcast.
Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes
I LOVE all these little tips lately!! Keep ’em coming!
Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen
I know this post is about measuring and not making brown sugar…but I really need to start making brown sugar. Despite the fact that I bake several times a month, my brown sugar always ends up rock hard. So wasteful. It would be way better to just make my own as I need it!
I’ve always been one to go down the path of plain flour with baking powder rather than SR flour, because that way you can use the flour for anything, and when you run out of baking powder you can make more out of baking soda and cream of tartar! I never realised you could do it with sugar, though. And the sugar + mollasses thing kind of explains why brown sugar almost behaves like a liquid. Nice one!
Shut Up & Cook
I’m not one of those people that normally comments and then provides a link to one of their own recipes (so hideously self-promotional), but I feel it is my duty to share this recipe for the absolute best most amazing incredible melt in your mouth and die a little bit and go to heaven molasses cookies.
There is NOTHING better.
I promise you won’t be disappointed .
Thanks for sharing this recipe–can’t wait to try it!!
Good to know…and those cookies look fantabulous! Whoah just noticed the picture of the packed brown sugar on this post and the cookie post are totally the same! It’s a nice picture too. recycling, I like it ;)
I would be lost without brown sugar. I always have some ready to use. It’s a baker’s dream. I have never made it before but you can bet I will soon.
Linda from NJ
Have been making my own brown sugar ever since you posted how back in 8/2010. It stays fresher so so much longer than what you buy. I use a little black strap molasses with the regular molasses for a deeper more intense flavor and I make the dark brown.