How to Substitute Molasses for Sugar in Baking

Molasses and sugar can be utilized in a number of homemade recipes and can add a bold, appealing taste to many edible creations. Molasses is generally made from young sugar cane or sugar beets in most Western countries, but in the Middle East molasses is sometimes created from items such as grapes, pomegranates, or mulberries.

With a strong, robust flavor molasses is often a standard ingredient in foods such as gingerbread cookies or Moravian cookies, but it can also be used as a substitute in most recipes that call for sugar.

How to Measure Molasses

In any recipe that would otherwise call for sugar as a sweetener, you can use 1 1/3 cups molasses for every 1 cup of sugar replaced. In addition, given the acidity of molasses, a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda should be added for each cup of molasses used. You’ll also want to reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by 5 tablespoons.

Given the bold taste that molasses will provide your recipe, it is advisable that only a portion of the required sugar in any recipe be replaced, as molasses can substantially change the taste of baked goods.

As well as replacing a portion of the sugar in recipes that call for basic white sugar, you can also add a combination of molasses and white sugar to recipes which would otherwise require brown sugar. For each cup of light brown sugar called for by the recipe, you’ll want to use 2 tablespoons of molasses with your white sugar. For recipes that call for dark brown sugar, simply double the amount of molasses used per cup of white sugar.

Different Types of Molasses and Which to Use

There are different methods for creating molasses and each will result in a slightly different tasting product with various nutritional differences. Each type of molasses is generally referred to as a “grade” with blackstrap molasses offering the greatest nutritional value.

Although the health benefits of molasses can certainly dictate which grade might be used in a recipe, molasses is available in a range of tastes from a light and sweet molasses to dark blackstrap molasses, which sports a very bold taste and is somewhat bitter. It is important to note that utilizing blackstrap molasses in a recipe might require the use of an additional sweetener since the taste can be quite intense.

Benefits of Molasses

The value of substituting molasses for sugar in baking comes from the generous levels of minerals present in molasses that are absent from sugar. Molasses provides high levels of calcium, copper, and iron and can be a great help if you are suffering from anemia. In addition, the level of sugar is lower in molasses, so if you’re interested in reducing sugar intake, molasses can act as a low-sugar substitute.

As with any ingredient, molasses should always be consumed in moderation since it does contain the same amount of calories as sugar.


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