Brown sugar is a kind of sugar(sucrose) that acquires an earthy or brown color because of the presence of molasses(a by-product of the sugar-making process). Although somewhat low in nutrients than white sugar, brown sugar is usually considered healthier than white sugar because of its molasses content. The average brown sugar carries 5% molasses in weight.
As a baker, here are some things that you should know about brown sugar.
The moisture content of brown sugar
The molasses add additional moisture to the dish. You may need to reduce the liquid content of your recipes to compensate. While brown sugar is a boon, when used for certain baked goods, it may be a bane for baking goods that need a hardened texture like cookies. It will make your cookies chewy and soft.
Baking soda with brown sugar
You may have noticed that, to some extent, brown sugar is acidic. When used with baking soda, it neutralizes the aftertaste of the baking soda while still letting your baked goods rise beautifully.
Store it appropriately
As it contains molasses, which also gives the sugar its distinct brown color, it is moister than refined white sugar. Store the brown sugar in a way that preserves its moisture. You certainly don't want your brown sugar to dry up and become rock hard, which is possible if it's not stored correctly. Store it in an airtight container to prevent the loss of moisture.
Soften it in the right way
If you have failed to store your brown sugar correctly, your brown sugar now must have become rock hard. To soften it, place a slice of bread in the container with the sugar. The brown sugar will absorb the bread's moisture and return to its original soft and loose state. If you require your brown sugar softened instantly, then shift the brown sugar to a plastic bag with a moist paper towel and microwave it for 20 seconds.
Make sure your brown sugar is packed
Most brown sugar recipes state that they should be packed. When you scoop it in a measuring cup, brown sugar's sticky, moist texture makes it possible for air pockets to form. Instead, pack it down in a cup to measure the brown sugar. By packing it down, you remove the air pockets, and it becomes easier to measure an exact amount.
Don't use brown sugar for neutral sweetness
The molasses content gives brown sugar a caramel flavor that might not be suitable for some baking recipes, especially the ones that are mild flavored. For example, lemon flavors or light vanilla might get completely overpowered with the addition of brown sugar.
Brown sugar is definitely a baker's favorite for its texture and molasses content, but one should be careful while using it. Use it according to the texture and the flavor you need in your dish. Brown sugar is beneficial for health, as well, and comes with low calories. Therefore, they are suitable for fellow dieters.