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How To Make Brown Sugar

How To Make Brown Sugar At Home {Beard and Bonnet} #glutenfree #vegan Have you ever decided to make a recipe, put your grocery list together, gone to the store and picked up everything you needed only to get back home and realize that one of the ingredients you thought you had on hand you actually are out of? Please tell me it isn’t just me! A few weeks ago when I was developing the recipe for my cinnamon sugar donuts this is exactly what happened. I made a special trip to the store for extra coconut oil, cinnamon, and vanilla because I was out, but I could have sworn there was brown sugar in my pantry. You can imagine my frustration when I came home and set up my donut making station only to find that there was no brown sugar in sight.

As I was standing there in the pantry completely irritated with myself, I saw 2 ingredients that I knew would work in a pinch. So, instead of running back to the store to grab a bag I set out to make my own and it was SO insanely easy that I may never actually place brown sugar on my shopping list again.

Did you know that brown sugar is simply a combination of granulated sugar and molasses? The darker the brown sugar the more molasses that was added to it. Crazy right?! I have made brown sugar a few times now and I have found a few methods that work really well. Probably the fastest method is in a food processor, but you can also make brown sugar with a stand mixer or a hand mixer. I should note that I also attempted to make brown sugar with a fork by hand, but I became very frustrated with this method and opted for using kitchen gadgets instead. Also, I do not recommend making large quantities of brown sugar at a time to store due to the fact that it has a tendency to harden quickly if it comes into contact with air.

Let’s make brown sugar!!

Step 1: Gather your ingredients and place them in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a food processor. How To Make Brown Sugar At Home {Beard and Bonnet} #glutenfree #vegan

Depending on what type of treat you are cooking you will need either light brown or dark brown sugar.

For light brown sugar you will need 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons of molasses.

For dark brown sugar you will need 1 cup of granulated sugar and 4 tablespoons of molasses.

Combine the sugar and the desired amount of molasses in a mixing bowl or food processor. Also, have a spoon or spatula ready for scraping the sides of the bowl and if you are using a hand mixer or stand mixer you will need to have a fork handy.

Step 2: Blend, blend, blend! Once you start to blend the sugar and molasses together it will start to form a clumpy mess like the picture below. Trust me that this is normal and it will eventually work itself out.

How To Make Brown Sugar At Home {Beard and Bonnet} #glutenfree #vegan

A food processor will get the job done in about 1 minute. You may need to stop and scrape the sides of the bowl down once.

A stand mixer will get the job done in about 3- 5 minutes on medium-high. About halfway through stop the mixer, scrape down the sides, and break up any big molasses clumps with a fork.

A hand mixer will take anywhere from 5-8 minutes; possibly longer. You will need to stop quite a few times to break up big molasses lumps with a fork.

Any method you choose will eventually yield beautiful, fluffy brown sugar like in the picture below.  

How To Make Brown Sugar At Home {Beard and Bonnet} #glutenfree #veganTo store your brown sugar:

Store  in the refrigerator or a cool, dark place in a plastic bag with all of the air squeezed out.

How To Make Brown Sugar (Gluten Free & Vegan)
Author: 
Serves: 1 cup
 
Ingredients
For light brown sugar
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons of molasses.
For dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of molasses.
Instructions
  1. Combine the sugar and the desired amount of molasses in a mixing bowl or food processor. Process according to the times below depending on what type of machine you are using.
  2. A food processor will get the job done in about 1 minute. You may need to stop and scrape the sides of the bowl down once.
  3. A stand mixer will get the job done in about 3- 5 minutes. About halfway through stop the mixer, scrape down the sides, and break up any big molasses clumps with a fork.
  4. A hand mixer will take anywhere from 5-8 minutes; possibly longer. You will need to stop quite a few times to break up big molasses lumps with a fork.
  5. Store it in the refrigerator or a cool, dark place in a plastic bag with all of the air squeezed out of it.

Comments

    • Meg

      I know Cheri! It is crazy simple, right? It really blew my mind the first time I did it at home myself. I highly recommend the food processor method, it is by far the easiest.

  1. Allison

    Thank you for this post! Do you think it would work using different types of sugar (such as coconut sugar or other unrefined sugars?)

    • Meg

      Allison, this is a GREAT question!! I have not tried it yet with coconut sugar or date sugar, but am super curious about it now that you mention it. I will give it a try when I stock back up on coconut sugar and let you know. If you test it out first be sure to fill me in on the details:)

      • Allison

        That sounds great- please do keep me updated if you try it and I will do the same! Thank you again. 🙂

  2. Kristal

    Sounds like a great DYI. What kind of molasses do you use? I’ve got blackstrap from years ago, can’t really find much to do with it. Will it work for this do you think?

    Thanks

    • Meg

      I used organic unsulphured molasses. Blackstrap is the most carmalized form of molasses, so it’s darker and richer than other varieties, so its flavor is very strong. I normally am not a fan of blackstrap molasses, so I cannot honestly say if it would work or not without compromising the flavor. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help!

  3. Saniel

    This is not vegan or organic? If it was m say so. Refined white sugar is made with bone char which makes it not vegan

    • Meg

      Saniel, you can purchase vegan organic sugar at Whole Foods that has not been processed using bone char which is what I do. Thanks for your concern though.

  4. alessandra

    Hi Meg,

    I was reading this (how to make brown sugar) and actually taste could be the same, but (for a quick research that I did) cristal sugar has been removed from most vitamins and minerals. So making our own brown sugar by mixing this 2 items wouldn’t result in the same product. Do you know anything about it? Thanks.

    • Meg

      Alessandra,
      I haven’t really looked into the loss of vitamins and minerals and the effect that could potentially have on the outcome. All I know is that it does work in recipes where I have replaced store bought brown sugar with my own homemade version. The taste is great and it performs the same. My mom is a pastry chef so this is an old school trick I learned from her:)

      • alessandra

        Meg,

        Thanks for your reply. Because adding molasses could add what cristal sugar have lost….I was just wondering.

        Thanks anyway!!!

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ABOUT MEG

Meg van der Kruik is the writer, mother, photographer, designer, cook and creative spirit behind This Mess is Ours. After her infant son was diagnosed with a gluten allergy, she dedicated herself to learning to make meals the whole family would love. It’s a bit of a mess – cooking for a vegetarian and three meat-eaters with a range of gluten + dairy sensitivities, but she manages to bring them together every night around their little family table.