What is Molasses?

So you've come across a recipe for a new cookie that you want to try and one of the ingredients is molasses.

You might be wondering, "What exactly is molasses anyway?"

Often considered a healthy alternative to other sugars, molasses sugar adds a distinctive flavor to any cookie or brownie recipe.

Molasses is a byproduct of the sugar refining process.

Light Molasses, which is lightest in both color and flavor, comes from the first boiling of the sugar syrup.

Dark Molasses comes from the second boiling and is less sweet and thicker and darker in color than light.

Blackstrap Molasses comes from the final boiling and is bitter in flavor.

You can find molasses either sulphured or unsulphured, depending on whether or not sulphur was used in processing. In general, unsulphured molasses tends to have a clean sugar-cane flavor.

Light molasses is most often used as pancake syrup. Because of its richer flavor, dark molasses is used in foods like gingerbread and baked beans.

Blackstrap molasses is generally not used in cooking because it is too bitter. Most health advocates feel blackstrap molasses has superior nutritional value and therefore it is available in most health food stores.

Some possible health benefits of blackstrap molasses include:

  • It is an excellent source of copper and manganese
  • It is a very good source of potassium and magnesium
  • It is a good source of calcium, a very important mineral to the body
  • It is a good source of iron, especially for those who are iron-deficient

Does molasses go bad?

As it turns out, you can store molasses at room temperature, in a cool and dark place. It will keep well for up to 12 months.

If you're baking cookies and realize a little too late that you don't have any molasses, there are few items you can use as a molasses substitute:

  • Substitute 1 cup honey for 1 cup molasses
  • Substitute 1 cup dark corn syrup for 1 cup molasses - you will lose some sweetness and the flavor will not be as robust
  • Substitute 1 cup pure maple syrup for 1 cup molasses
  • Substitute 3/4 cup of packed dark brown sugar plus 1/4 cup liquid for 1 cup molasses - this substitution will probably give the closest match since brown sugar consists of granulated sugar and molasses
  • Substitute 3/4 cup of granulated sugar heated to dissolve in 1/4 cup liquid for 1 cup molasses - you may want to increase the spices to compensate for the missing molasses flavor
  • You should only use black strap molasses when the recipe calls for it specifically and not substitute blackstrap for light molasses - the result will be a flavor that is too strong

Some other possible substitutes for molasses that may be found in Europe: Rubenkraut, sugar beet syrup, mørk syrup.

Easy Cookie Recipes with Molasses

Helpful Cookie Baking Supplies:

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