You might feel a slight tinge of frustration when you find that you’re out of white sugar while trying to bake banana bread. However, you realize that you have some brown sugar on hand.
So, can you use brown sugar in banana bread?
Yes, you can use it to substitute white sugar or as a main ingredient. Brown sugar, when used either by itself or with other sugars, imparts excellent flavor, texture, and sweetness on baked goods.
So, why is brown sugar good for banana bread, and how can you make the most out of it? Is it even the best option? Let’s keep reading to find out!
Brown sugar is basically regular white sugar but with an amount of moistened molasses added in. As it happens, molasses is a sticky and syrupy byproduct of sugar production.
It’s often believed that brown sugar is healthier for consumption compared to white sugar, but this isn’t actually true. Any nutrients that the molasses add are barely noticeable.
So, why even use it for your banana bread?
Well, adding molasses to brown sugar makes it moist compared to using granulated (or white) sugar. Naturally, this carries over to anything that is baked with it.
Because you’d usually want your banana bread to be soft and dense, it’s better for you to use brown sugar.
However, you’ll find that it comes in two main types.
The first is light brown sugar, with lower molasses content and a moderate flavor. Meanwhile, the second is dark brown sugar, which has nearly twice as much molasses, resulting in a heavier flavor.
For banana bread, it would be better for you to use the dark type. It should add a lot more moisture to the final product compared to light brown sugar.
The only thing you really have to keep in mind is that when you eat a baked good with dark brown sugar, you’ll taste a hint of caramel or toffee.
Although dark and light brown sugars are somewhat different, you can still use either one depending on what’s readily available.
Brown sugar can be used straight out of the package, as it needs no special preparations.
However, you might want to keep a few tips in mind:
The main caveat when measuring brown sugar is that you’ll have to take care to pack it tightly on the spoon or the measuring cup. The extra moisture makes it hard to measure properly otherwise.
When using brown sugar as a substitute in a recipe, you can safely exchange it with other kinds of sugar in a 1:1 ratio. Just keep in mind that it will be slightly less sweet than white sugar.
Storing brown sugar isn’t too different from storing white and raw sugar. You’ll need to keep it in airtight containers in a cool, dry place away from heat.
Overall, brown sugar doesn’t have a set shelf life as long as it’s being stored properly, though its quality will slowly degrade over time. If stored at room temperature, it will be at its best when used within four months.
It isn’t advisable to store brown sugar in the refrigerator, as this will cause it to dry out. If you really need to keep it for a very long time, you’ll have to freeze it instead to lock the moisture inside.
Just make sure to rearrange the contents of your freezer so that the sugar doesn’t pick up the scent of other frozen items.
When you’re ready to make the banana bread, you can thaw it in the oven or microwave. Alternatively, it would be easier to leave it out for two to three hours to thaw on its own while stirring it every now and then to prevent clumping.
Suppose that something went wrong with the storage and the sugar was exposed to air. You’ll find that it has hardened and packed together as its moisture evaporates.
However, you don’t have to let that stop you from using it for the banana bread recipe!
You can soften it up by putting an apple slice or a piece of bread in its container and then closing it tight. The molasses should absorb the moisture within a few hours, softening the sugar again.
The typical sugar content for 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of banana bread bought from a grocery store is estimated to be 42.1 grams.
While banana bread has a lot of vitamins and minerals, its high sugar content can cause weight gain if you eat a lot of it on a regular basis.
At the end of the day, banana bread, just like any fruit bread, is a dessert. So, try to enjoy it as a treat in moderation!
Not only can you use brown sugar in banana bread, but it can actually be better than regular white sugar. It’ll help you make a moist and tender baked product, which is what most bakers would be aiming for with fruit bread.
Brown sugar also adds a caramel taste similar to caramel when used, giving your banana bread a more old-fashioned taste.
The main concern you might have with brown sugar is that it hardens when exposed to air, so you’ll have to soften it up after it has been stored for some time.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.