What Makes Brown Sugar Brown?

Nov 04, 20
What Makes Brown Sugar Brown?

Written by: Jess Anderson

What makes brown sugar brown? Personally I was in the mind set that it was just a different kind of sugar. Like different types of sugar cane, made different sugar. But boy was I wrong. I lived the first 26 years of my life thinking this. That was until one day I was going through the ingredients list for Big Dipper dough with our creator and heard him say  “molasses.” WHAT!? 

The conversation went as follows. 

Austin: “Oh! Molasses is an ingredient.”
Me: “We have molasses in our cookie dough…?” 
Austin: “How do you think brown sugar is made…?”

Granted my only knowledge of molasses was from the Great Molasses Flood of Boston that we learned about in 2nd grade. As well as my grandma’s love for molasses cookies. I remember making molasses cookies with her growing up and them being the BOMB. 

But now that we’ve learned that brown sugar is made with molasses… What does that make brown sugar? Is it just white sugar mixed with molasses? Is it sugar derived from molasses? How is it made!? 

Refined brown sugar is made by adding molasses back to refined white sugar. This is the brown sugar you’ll find on the shelves at the grocery store. It’s soft and moist and what most recipes in your cookbook will call for. 

When we look at light brown sugar vs. brown sugar, it’s all about the amount of molasses put into the sugar. Light bring contains 3.5% molasses while the darker brown sugar contains 6.5% molasses. That seems pretty straightforward. The darker the brown, the more the molasses. 

While molasses being in brown sugar makes 100% sense, I can’t believe I lived a majority of my life not even realizing that was what made brown sugar brown! And I can’t be the only one… Did you know?