If your molasses jar is running low, regular brown sugar could be your next best bet. Brown sugar is often overlooked in recipes, with white table sugar commonly used as a primary source of sweetness. But in dishes that call for molasses, it’s a great choice, since it’s actually made with the sugary syrup, as Food Insight explains. The reason that brown sugar is brown in the first place is that the sugar granules, normally regular white crystals, are coated with molasses, which gives it both its distinctive color and its deeper, caramel-like flavor. Alternately, brown sugar can be made by adding molasses while the sugar crystals are being boiled, imbuing them with taste and color.
As you might expect, the darker your sugar is, the more molasses content it contains. Brown sugar that has a higher moisture content, or is a softer type like muscovado sugar, may also have more molasses in it. As such, darker brown sugars are a great choice for recipes that call for more complex flavor tones, or dishes where you’re looking for a chewier, toffee texture. Bear in mind, though, that there is very little nutritional difference between brown sugar and regular granulated white sugar, so don’t assume that the darker color means that it’s healthier.