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Brown sugar is not exactly high on most bakers’ agenda. Usually, they use white sugar, primarily cane sugar from Hawaii. This really is too bad because brown sugar can make the culinary creations you serve on your cookie sheets go to the next level. There’s really no other way to say it.
It may seem like I’m sharing some sort of new revelation here regarding baking, but almost all bakers know this. But for some reason or other, people tend to overlook the culinary power of brown sugar. This really is too bad because if you feel that a lot of your fresh baked cookies tend to be on the soggy side, you might want to firm things up a bit by simply adding a little bit of brown sugar. A little bit can definitely go a long way.
What makes brown sugar so awesome?
Well, they make for great dry cookies. The big challenge faced by beginner bakers and intermediate cookie bakers is their tendency to bake cookies that are fairly soft. This is when you’re using the wrong proportions and when you’re using primarily white sugar. If you really want to firm things up quite a bit, aim to bake dry cookies.
This is where loading up on brown sugar can do wonders. Not only do you get an added dimension of texture, but it also changes the overall flavor profile of the cookies that you’re baking. Of course, the overall range of flavors that your cookies deliver still turns on the specific ingredients in a cookie batter. That’s not going to go away. The rules have not changed. However, loading up on brown sugar can introduce quite a bit of texture. Don’t overlook this awesome ingredient.
Why is texture important in the first place?
Well, you have to understand that whenever you are dealing with any kind of baked goods, you must always use two criteria to adequately judge the quality of the cookies, cupcakes, muffins, bread, and cakes you are tasting. These two criteria are of course, taste and texture. They go hand in hand.
I would argue that they’re basically joined at the hip. One cannot exist without the other. When was the last time you’ve had muffin served in a smoothie? Sounds disgusting, right? Sounds like something that you would never eat, right? Well, that just proves my point. You’re looking for some minimal level of texture. It’s not just about the flavor.
If you just want flavor, then you would rush to the closest restaurant that is serving cookie dough. But you don’t. They have to go hand in hand, and the great thing about brown sugar is that it adds a tremendous amount of texture to your cookie recipes. You can even make fairly tough cookies for people who are looking for that extra crunch. Whatever the case may be, look to this amazing ingredient for the texture, variability, and versatility that you’re looking for.
A little bit of variety can go a long way especially when we’re talking about cookies. If you feel that you’ve been struggling with basically cranking out the same batch of cookies day in, day out, week in, week out, try something new. Increase the amount of brown sugar in your cookie recipes and play it by ear. You have to keep adding in small increments until you reach that sweet spot.
How do you know you’ve reached your sweet spot? Well, it all depends on how well received your batch is by your family and friends. That’s the bottom-line. There is no magic bullet solution here. There is no golden standard that applies to everybody all the time. You have to play it by ear. You have to go on a case by case, batch by batch basis.
Make brown sugar truly wake up
If you truly want to unlock the taste power of brown sugar (instead of just tapping into its amazing texture abilities), add a little salt to your cookie batter. I know, I know, this sounds a bit weird. Trust me. A little salt goes a long way in ‘priming’ your taste buds so it picks up the right flavors. A little of bit of salt ends up organizing the flavors of your recipe. Instead of the flavors of your ingredients producing lots of hits and misses (as well as lots of missed flavor opportunities), salt ends up centralizing the taste profile and theme of your recipe. Brown sugar’s full taste profile, in this context, truly comes alive.
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