Yesterday, I decided to whip up a batch of peanut butter cookies. (Did I mention that I love to cook? When you actually enjoy cooking - or in this case, baking - sometimes you just get the urge to go make something.) As I gathered the ingredients together, I discovered that we were out of brown sugar. The last thing I wanted to do was go to the store. Going to the store does not equal baking cookies! So I jumped online and, after reading several options for substitutes for brown sugar, I chose one that I liked and gave it a try.
To create one cup of brown sugar, combine one cup of regular sugar with 1 1/2 tablespoons of molasses.That seemed simple enough.
We use raw organic sugar and I knew that we had molasses on hand. Rather than combining the two ingredients together on the side, I simply added the molasses (and the extra cup of sugar) to the cookie dough and stirred them into the mix as I do with the other ingredients.
When presented with the eye test, the "no brown sugar" peanut butter cookies looked fine and the kids got the first one fresh from the oven from each batch. (We have a tradition in our house where I always break the very first cookie off the baking sheet and the kids have to help me "hide the evidence.") However, while the peanut butter cookies looked normal, there was a secret waiting to be discovered.
I'll usually have a single cookie out of the first batch. I love cookies (chocolate chip is my personal favorite), but I get even more enjoyment in baking them for someone else and watching them savor the taste. In the "no brown sugar" batch, I've had four since last night. This morning, my wife, Bri, confessed, "I don't usually care for peanut butter cookies, but these may be my favorite cookies ever." After slipping a cookie in the kids' lunches, there are less than a half-dozen cookies left on the plate. They're absolutely flying out of the kitchen. What started as a simple substitution for brown sugar has became a cookie baking secret. The flavor is significantly better than my normal approach. Now that I know the secret, I'll never use brown sugar again.
Since I love to cook, each Thursday I'll be offering tips, tricks and recipes that I rely on when I'm working in the kitchen.