Here's How To Make Brown Sugar From White Sugar

All sugar, when it's first harvested, is the same. Though you see all different kinds of sugar at the grocery store — from brown sugar to powdered sugar — it all comes from the same plant. According to Taste of Home, sugarcane begins its transformation at the mill, where stalks are washed and pressed in order to separate the liquid parts from the solids. When the liquids are boiled, crystals form, thus creating the raw sugar that can be manipulated to yield different varieties of sugar.

The white granulated sugar you likely use in your coffee or tea is made by extracting molasses from this raw sugar (this isn't the kind of raw sugar you'd find at Starbucks — it still contains many impurities and requires several more filtration processes before it's bagged and shipped out to grocery stores). Brown sugar, on the other hand, keeps the molasses element, making for light or dark brown sugar, depending on how much molasses is retained. If you want to make brown sugar from white sugar, all you have to do is reverse the process.

Molasses helps do the trick

So if you find yourself brown sugar-less halfway through a recipe, what do you do? According to The Spruce Eats, it's pretty simple. The process for transforming white sugar into brown sugar is basically just a matter of adding white sugar's extracted molasses back into the sugar.

Using a ratio of one cup of sugar to one tablespoon of molasses, all you need to do is mix these ingredients together using a wooden spoon, or more efficiently, a mixer. The sugar will absorb the molasses until it becomes the rich brown of store-bought brown sugar. If you want to make dark brown sugar, you'll need to increase the molasses to two tablespoons.

Luckily, even if you don't have molasses in your cabinet, you can still make this DIY brown sugar. Spruce Eats suggests using maple syrup, agave nectar, or buckwheat honey instead, maintaining the same ratio as the molasses recipe calls for. All these substitutions will yield slightly different flavors of sugar, but if you're up for an experiment (and out of molasses), this is the way to go! Who knows, you might even find that you prefer maple syrup sugar.