One cup of sugar...or whatever is around.
December 5, 2011 5:47 AM   Subscribe

If I'm significantly short on white sugar in a recipe, can I make it up with other types of sugar?

I'm making Mark Bittman's refrigerator cookies in How to Cook Everything, and I've run out of regular white sugar. It calls for a cup and I only have half a cup.

In the variations, he includes a recipe for brown sugar cookies that calls for a one to one swap of brown sugar for white -- can I get away with just swapping out half of a cup of brown sugar for white? They're for Christmas cookies and will be frosted.

I also have about a quarter cup of superfine sugar.

I could half the recipe but it calls for one egg, so I'd have to whisk the egg and then divide....I guess that wouldn't be the worst thing.

I'm not really much of a baking person. What should I do?
posted by A Terrible Llama to Food & Drink (23 answers total)
 
I vote for "swap it, and you'll be fine". I'm incredibly liberal with my sweetener substitutions and don't think I've ever "ruined" anything.
posted by knile at 5:50 AM on December 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am not familiar with that recipe but I bake quite a lot and make this substitution all the time. No problems yet.
posted by supercapitalist at 5:52 AM on December 5, 2011


Totally swap the white for brown. I wouldn't use the superfine as it's more concentrated by volume.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:56 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Go for it. It might make them slightly chewy rather than crispy.

I substitute muscovado for white sugar all the time, but that's a much softer and darker brown sugar.
posted by tavegyl at 5:58 AM on December 5, 2011


Substituting a cup of white sugar with a half-n-half mix of white and brown sugars will give you something delicious, but not a standard, fluffy sugar cookie. It'll taste a bit more like a toll house cookie, as the brown sugar will add a molasses-ish flavor. It may not be as light as a standard sugar cookie, either.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:59 AM on December 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Try honey! Honey gives things a rounder, gentler flavor, in my experience. I use it instead of sugar all the time, although I've never done it with cookies, so YMMV.
posted by zachawry at 6:02 AM on December 5, 2011


Live life to its fullest! Do the swap! DO IT!

Seriously, it will be fine. The texture will be slightly different, but it won't ruin anything.
posted by noahpoah at 6:02 AM on December 5, 2011


Nthing that you can swap without fear. If, for some reason, you hate the way the cookies turn out, memail me for my address and I will take them off your hands.
posted by rtha at 6:17 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nthing going for the swap. I seem to always have an abundance of brown sugar and no white sugar so I do that almost every time I bake.
posted by thewestinggame at 6:17 AM on December 5, 2011


Response by poster: not a standard, fluffy sugar cookie. It'll taste a bit more like a toll house cookie, as the brown sugar will add a molasses-ish flavor. It may not be as light as a standard sugar cookie, either.

See, that's my concern...because they're Christmas cookies, I kind of want them to be Christmas cookie-ish...plus, it's dark brown sugar. So that will make them weirder.

Will these be pleasantly or unpleasantly untraditional?

(They're not for gifts, so the stakes are low.)
posted by A Terrible Llama at 6:18 AM on December 5, 2011


Do you have a neighbor nearby? I'd simply go borrow a cup of sugar, if you don't want to tempt fate today.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:20 AM on December 5, 2011


AS for taste...I think they'll taste just fine. Just different.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:21 AM on December 5, 2011


I say go for it. The thing about Christmas cookies is, everyone's cookies turn out slightly differently anyway. So, if people think "hey, these are a little different, and DELICIOUS" then they will henceforth just be "Llama's Christmas cookies."
posted by cabingirl at 6:21 AM on December 5, 2011


Since he has the brown sugar substitution option in there for a variation, I nth that you will be 100% fine. They'll be delightful. I've made brown sugar roll-out sugar cookies before and they turned out fab!
posted by pupstocks at 6:29 AM on December 5, 2011


I usually go by the table in the Joy of Cooking, but here is an article with a list of sweetener equivalences.
posted by plinth at 6:35 AM on December 5, 2011


Swapping is fine. Also, Domino makes an easy-pour version of brown sugar, which may be easier to swap.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:55 AM on December 5, 2011


If you're making frosted sugar cookies, I personally would not sub in brown sugar. They might still taste good, but they will be noticeably different from what they're intended to be.
posted by something something at 6:58 AM on December 5, 2011


Best answer: Do you have an accurate scale? You could weigh the half cup of sugar you have, and weigh out the same mass of the superfine sugar.
posted by borkencode at 7:04 AM on December 5, 2011


Go for it. If you're that worried about the change in flavor, use honey rather than brown sugar as your sub. I think 1/4 cup of brown sugar plus 1/2 cup of white sugar will be plenty sweet and probably won't make a noticeable difference in the flavor.

But the other thing is that by trying something different rather than going out to buy more white sugar you are learning something new and training yourself to think like a baker in control of her creations rather than a slave to the recipe. Even if it doesn't come out quite like you want **you will have acquired new knowledge and will be a better baker for it**. DO IT!
posted by bunderful at 7:05 AM on December 5, 2011


Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I went for it. My target audience here is three years old so she's not going to be the most discerning customer anyway. I'll post the results.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 7:10 AM on December 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


I was going to add to the "Go for it!" chorus but see that you already have. I also wanted to add that a lot of recipes call for waaaaaay more sugar than they actually need; I often find myself cutting 1/3 to a 1/2 cup of sugar out of recipes and they still come out plenty sweet, especially if they're going to be frosted.
posted by usonian at 7:39 AM on December 5, 2011


I've definitely used different types of sugar when I didn't have enough white. The recipes are really all about ratios so as long as you get that right, it might taste a little different but it will come out okay.
posted by fromageball at 8:47 AM on December 5, 2011


Response by poster: Thanks everyone. They turned out great, perfectly nice and a little crispy. I think maybe rolling them out pretty thin kept them from developing the chewiness of chocolate chip cookies, which was what I was worried about. There's maybe a hint of molasses from the brown sugar in the sweetness but nothing that seems weird in the context. The context being a heavy layer of frosting and sprinkles applied by a three year old.

Little Llama has assured me that in her experience, they're the best cookies ever.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:05 AM on December 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


« Older Annual review advice?   |   When should I get a home equity loan? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.