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You’re about to go and make your cookies, and suddenly you realize: you have no brown sugar!
So can you make cookies without brown sugar?
Is it possible to only use white sugar in cookies when your recipe calls for brown sugar?
Some cookie recipes, like chocolate chip cookies, usually call for brown sugar and it can be confusing to know if you should carry on with just white sugar or if it will turn out terribly.
The answer to if you can make chocolate chip cookies (or any cookies) without brown sugar, is yes, but there are some things to be aware of like how it will change the texture and flavor.
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How brown sugar affects your cookies
Firstly, what even is brown sugar and how does it differ from white sugar?
Brown sugar is simply white sugar, but it also has molasses mixed in.
This is going to make your cookies more moist, usually softer, denser, chewier, and having more of a depth of flavor (think of the depth of flavor of a chocolate chip cookie versus a sugar cookie).
In addition to chocolate chip cookies, brown sugar is often also used in things like gingerbread.
Because the sugar is a darker color, the final cookies do look darker in color than if you just use white sugar.
Can you use white sugar instead of brown sugar in cookies?
Yes, you can use white sugar instead of brown sugar in your cookie recipes.
However, you should know what to expect when you do this because your cookies will come out a bit differently.
Firstly, your cookies will be a little bit fluffier or puffier, as white sugar helps a cookie rise while the compact nature and molasses in a brown sugar means that the cookies are more dense.
The other thing is that your cookies will of course be lighter colored.
White sugar instead of brown sugar in cookies can often lead to a bit more of a crispy cookie with less moisture (as again, it doesn’t have that molasses component to add in the moisture).
How to substitute white sugar for brown sugar
You can simply swap out white sugar for brown sugar by equal parts, so if your recipe calls for 1/2 cup of brown sugar, add 1/2 cup of white sugar instead.
It’s very easy and no calculations are required.
If you have a little bit of brown sugar, but not enough, then simply add as much brown sugar as you have and then top off the rest of the amount with white sugar.
There are also options for using recipes that don’t use brown sugar or switching the type of cookie, like making a sugar cookie instead of a chocolate chip cookie.
What would happen if I leave brown sugar out of my cookies completely?
You can’t leave brown sugar out of your cookies without substituting it for something else.
If you have no sugar at all, then your cookies won’t work.
There are some cookie recipes that are formulated without sugar (it’s an argument on whether they are true cookies, but there are some), but if your cookie recipe includes sugar, you can’t just leave it out and expect a good cookie as you’ll have no sweetness and be missing a huge component of the cookie.
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