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Old 01-18-2008, 09:04 PM
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What's the difference between light brown sugar and dark brown sugar.

Here's a question from a neighbor... I told then "the SDMB will give us the answer:

What's the difference between light brown sugar and dark brown sugar. And when a recipe calls for "brown sugar" which one do they mean, light or dark?

Thanks in advance.
Old 01-18-2008, 09:21 PM
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I believe one difference is that dark brown sugar is more moist, (Does it pack tighter too?) and it definitely has a stronger flavor. I'm not sure which the recipe means when it says "brown sugar", I'd think it somewhat depends on what is being made. Example, I'd wonder if perhaps light brown sugar might be used for some cookies, while dark brown sugar could be used for baked beans to give more flavor. This Wikipedia article implies regular brown sugar is dark brown sugar. Also, the darker kind has more molasses.

Last edited by Zabali_Clawbane; 01-18-2008 at 09:24 PM.
Old 01-18-2008, 09:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaelghat
Here's a question from a neighbor... I told then "the SDMB will give us the answer:

What's the difference between light brown sugar and dark brown sugar. And when a recipe calls for "brown sugar" which one do they mean, light or dark?

Thanks in advance.

It's the amount of molasses- light brown sugar has less than the dark kind. I usually assume recipes call for light brown sugar unless specified- dark brown has a very strong taste.
Old 01-18-2008, 10:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IvoryTowerDenizen
It's the amount of molasses- light brown sugar has less than the dark kind.
That's right.
Even Wikipedia covers this nowdays:
Quote:
Brown sugar contains from 3.5% molasses (light brown sugar) to 6.5% molasses (dark brown sugar). The product is naturally moist from the hygroscopic nature of the molasses and is often labelled as "soft." The product may undergo processing to give a product that flows better for industrial handling. The addition of dyes and/or other chemicals may be permitted in some areas or for industrial products.
...
Many brown sugar producers produce brown sugar by adding cane molasses to completely refined white sugar crystals in order to more carefully control the ratio of molasses to sugar crystals and to reduce manufacturing costs.
Old 01-18-2008, 10:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zabali_Clawbane
I believe one difference is that dark brown sugar is more moist, (Does it pack tighter too?) and it definitely has a stronger flavor. I'm not sure which the recipe means when it says "brown sugar", I'd think it somewhat depends on what is being made. Example, I'd wonder if perhaps light brown sugar might be used for some cookies, while dark brown sugar could be used for baked beans to give more flavor.
I would agree with that. The first time I made shortbread, I used dark brown sugar, and they didn't look right (little brown specks in them), and didn't taste right- too strong (i.e - they didn't taste like my Scotch grammie's shortbread which is the Piper touchstone for shortbread).

The next time, I used light brown sugar (packaged up here as golden sugar) and they were just right! Grammie would have been proud of me.
Old 01-19-2008, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IvoryTowerDenizen
It's the amount of molasses- light brown sugar has less than the dark kind. I usually assume recipes call for light brown sugar unless specified- dark brown has a very strong taste.
From Wikipedia, although a citation is needed:

"When a recipe calls for "brown sugar" it is usually referring to dark brown sugar, light brown sugar should only be used when specified.[citation needed]"

Personally, the one time I tried to make something that called for brown sugar, I accidentally bought light brown (not knowing such a thing existed) and the recipe came out totally wrong.

Last edited by jasonh300; 01-19-2008 at 01:25 PM.
Old 01-19-2008, 02:06 PM
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For what it's worth, about six months ago I realized halfway through making chocolate chip cookies that I was out of brown sugar. I mixed together some white sugar and molasses until it looked right and used that instead. The cookies were fantastic, way better than normal.
Old 01-19-2008, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonh300
From Wikipedia, although a citation is needed:

"When a recipe calls for "brown sugar" it is usually referring to dark brown sugar, light brown sugar should only be used when specified.[citation needed]"

Personally, the one time I tried to make something that called for brown sugar, I accidentally bought light brown (not knowing such a thing existed) and the recipe came out totally wrong.
That's funny, because for me it's the opposite. If I use dark brown sugar the recipes taste funny!
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