Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Oh, Sugar!*

I love to bake. I may not be the greatest cook, but when it comes to sweets, I’m actually pretty impressive. As my family tries to eat foods that are good for us and the planet, we were curious about all the different sugars around for baking: confectioners, brown, refined, etc.

Which would you think is the most environmentally sound sugar?

I thought brown sugar, then I read somewhere that brown sugar is merely refined sugar with molasses added to it! So, not only is it processed like regular sugar, it has an added step of adding molasses in it! Zut alors!

Consulting my favorite all-time baking bible (King Arthur’s Flour Baker’s Companion), I found out that in any recipe, you can substitute brown sugar for a combo of granulated sugar and molasses! Here’s the ratio:
Light brown sugar add 1 T molasses to each cup of sugar;
Dark brown sugar add 2 T molasses to each cup of sugar.

I tried it out and it works wonderfully!

Total cost: $0 (since my baking staples include sugar and molasses)
Total time: no time at all!
Result: less processed food, less energy used, cheaper pantry and yummy baked goods!

*Oh, Sugar! Is an ode to my mother, who used to say this a lot in place of cuss words. Now that my daughter is almost 2, I’m finding myself searching for substitutions for my usual potty mouth.


  1. but isn't that still the same amount of refined sugar, just mixed at home instead of at the sugar factory?


  2. You're right, Elisabeth, it is. And generally I do cut sugar in recipes (in half), but I just wanted to get the ratio out there to reduce the packaging, the processing and the costs of brown sugar. Cutting sugar in general is a good idea, too.