I refuse to give up sugar. I realize that puts me in a moderately small minority. There aren’t many Real Food Foodies/Bloggers that are advocates of real cane sugar, but I am. I also believe it can be enjoyed in moderation and that our bodies need sugar to function properly. This post however isn’t going to be a lesson on why this Real Food Girl isn’t riding on the ‘sugar is evil bandwagon‘. Instead, I’m going to save you a few coins and teach you how to make your own homemade brown sugar.
The Brown Sugar 411
Brown sugar is so easy to make. You need only two ingredients. Organic cane sugar and organic molasses. Now if you want about 40% less sugar content in your molasses and you like a deeper, richer molasses taste, purchase organic blackstrap molasses. Blackstrap molasses is made from more mature sugar cane and is the byproduct of a third boiling of sugar cane, while regular molasses is a part of the sugar refining process and the result of the first boiling, hence why it isn’t as strong as Blackstrap. Molasses is very sweet and it’s bitter. Yeah, don’t ask me how that’s possible. I’ve concluded that molasses is an enigma.
Blackstrap molasses provides vitamins D and B6, as well as elements such as magnesium, selenium, manganese, potassium, copper calcium and iron. Blackstrap molasses is the dark liquid that is the byproduct of the process of refining sugar cane into table sugar. Blackstrap molasses is made from the third boiling of the sugar syrup and is therefore the concentrated byproduct left over after the sugar’s sucrose has been crystallized.
That tidbit of information pretty much makes you a potentially deadly Jeopardy candidate, so use it wisely my young Padawan Food Hippie Learners. If you don’t have access to blackstrap molasses, regular organic molasses is just fine and I say that while channeling my inner Ina Garten/Barefoot Contessa.
Lions and Sulphured and Unsulphured, Oh My!
I anticipate once I started down the path of talking about the differences in types of molasses that someone was going to ask me about sulphured molasses and unsulphered. Here’s what I found on this topic:
Molasses made from young sugar cane is called sulphured molasses because of the sulfur dioxide that is added to keep the raw cane fresh until it is processed and to preserve the molasses byproducts produced from it. Unsulphured molasses is made from matured cane plants that have been allowed to ripen naturally in the field. Blackstrap molasses can be sulphured or unsulphured. The FDA says sulfur dioxide is “generally recognized as safe” for use as a preservative — except on meats of vegetables meant to be sold as fresh food.
You already know my feelings on the FDA and their untested, mainly unsupported presumptions of all things GRAS (generally recognized as safe) so if you have a sulfur allergy, I’d use unsulphured instead. My final thoughts are if the sulphur doesn’t add anything as far as flavor or texture or health benefits, than why bother consuming it? Just stick with the unsulphured.
I feel like a Mini-Alton Brown today. I love getting all nitty-gritty with an ingredient and then setting y’all loose in the kitchen. I am optimistic that now that you are aware of just how easy it is to make brown sugar that you’ll never buy a package of it again unless you’re in a pinch. They charge about $0.40 to $1.00 more for organic (cane) brown sugar at the grocery store vs. the white granulated organic cane sugar, and that’s madness. You should already have at least one bottle of molasses on hand. Aside from the great health benefits, and the flavor it imparts on so many dishes, it’s also a fantastic substitute sweetener to granulated cane sugar, so it only makes sense to have some molasses on hand to make your own brown sugar. Right? Right! I’m glad you see things my way. We’re going to get along famously.
Homemade Brown SugarRecipe by: Lord only knows who came up with this–it wasn’t me.
If possible, please use only organic ingredients
I like to make 2-3 cups at a time. I store it in an airtight container and if it gets hard, I throw in a slice of bread to soften it up.
- 1 cup organic granulated cane sugar
- 1-3 tsp. organic molasses (depends on how light/dark you want it)
- In a small bowl, combine 1 cup sugar and 1 tsp (to start) molasses. Combine the two with a fork, spoon, or small spatula. Press, mix, stir… just have fun.
- Taste and if you want it darker, add more molasses. It’s that simple.
- Use immediately or store in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks. If it starts to get hard, toss in a piece of bread.
You are going to like this, I promise. When I was a little girl and would stay over at my grandparent’s house, my grandma would make cookies for my sister and me. As a treat she’d give us each a packed teaspoon of brown sugar- straight from the package. Oh. Meh. Gawsh! Ever since then, I’ve loved brown sugar. It’s too bad sugar had to go GMO. Sad day when I found out. I wore black for a month. Anyway, my entire point is that brown sugar brings back great childhood memories of making cookies with my grandma and getting an extra taste of brown sugar. Now- go make some cookies. In fact, make my chocolate chip cookies. You’ll thank me.
Above is a picture of what the sugar looks like with the molasses partially combined.
Above is the finished product. Isn’t that glorious? Have you ever seen anything so purty?
Simply add more molasses to go from a light brown sugar to a dark brown sugar.
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