Have you got a recipe that calls for brown sugar, but you’ve only got demerara sugar to use? You might be wondering if you can swap demerara into the recipe instead, but will this work, or do you need to get some brown sugar before you can finish baking?
Can you use demerara sugar instead of brown sugar? You can swap brown sugar for demerara sugar easily enough, although demerara sugar has larger granules. It may sometimes result in a sandy texture for certain recipes, because of the large granules, but the taste should be reasonably similar, and it will usually work without a problem.
Can You Use Demerara Sugar Instead of Brown Sugar?
You can use demerara sugar instead of brown sugar for most recipes, but it is important to be aware that you may notice some differences. For example, demerara sugar may have a more treacle-like flavor, and the texture can be grittier.
How noticeable this will be depends heavily on the recipe that you are using the sugar in. If the recipe calls for you to melt the sugar, the texture problem will likely be resolved because all the granules will be broken down before they are added to the batter.
However, you should make sure that the granules do all melt properly. Be aware that this may take longer with demerara sugar than with brown sugar, because of the larger grain size. Stir thoroughly and check the sugar has fully melted before adding it to your recipe.
The change in flavor is unlikely to be very noticeable in most cases, but for some recipes, you will taste the difference, so be aware of this. If you dislike the treacle flavor of demerara sugar, it may not make a good swap.
What’s the Difference Between Demerara Sugar and Brown Sugar?
Demerara sugar is darker than brown sugar, and has larger granules. These give it a crunchy texture, which is why it can sometimes make baking a little gritty. Demerara sugar also tends to be moister and stickier, and may have a much more intense flavor.
Demerara sugar is less heavily processed than brown sugar, which is why it is darker in color and larger. It can only be made from sugar cane, and it usually has a higher percentage of molasses left in, which is what creates the treacle-like flavor.
Can You Make Demerara Sugar Finer?
If you are worried about the coarse texture, you might be looking for a way to break down the large granules and make the sugar finer, like brown sugar. You can place the sugar in a food processor and process it for a few seconds. Give it a shake and process it for another few seconds.
This should break up the granules and turn them into a finer mix. You may find that some remain large, and you will need to be careful not to over-process, but this can be a good way to reduce the grittiness.
If you are making a cake using demerara sugar, you may find that this is worth doing before you make it, so that the cake will have a smooth texture. For crunchier baked goods, such as cookies, you may not need to bother with the processing.
Another option involves slightly melting the demerara sugar before you use it using a little bit of boiling water. However, make sure you only add a small amount, or you may make your batter too liquid, and your baking will not work.
Will Demerara Sugar Change the Taste?
The demerara sugar probably will change the taste of your baked product to some degree, because it has a higher quantity of molasses remaining in it than brown sugar does. Molasses has a rich, treacle-like flavor that many people enjoy, but it will alter the overall taste of the dessert.
There isn’t anything you can do to prevent the flavor change, because this is inherent to the demerara sugar. Adding a small proportion of white sugar, which has less molasses than brown sugar, may help to counteract it to a degree, but it probably won’t completely take it away.
If you find the demerara sugar is too strong for you, try white sugar as a solution, but on the whole, it is best to just buy brown sugar instead. This will ensure that the flavor of the baked good isn’t affected without you having to try and guess what percentages of white sugar and demerara sugar to use.
Which Foods are Best for Demerara Sugar?
Some baked goods work really well with demerara sugar. Anything that is already crunchy tends to be ideal, such as flapjack, cookies, and ginger snaps. However, baked goods like cakes may not be as great when made with demerara sugar because of the crunchiness.
By choosing carefully when you substitute demerara sugar into your recipes, you should get good results. However, if you have simply run out of brown sugar, just adding demerara may not work – so consider processing it or melting it before you add it to the batter.
If you forget to do this, don’t panic. Often, the sugar will still work reasonably well, and will only have a small impact on the texture. Your cake should still be perfectly edible and enjoyable!
Is Demerara Sugar Healthier Than Brown Sugar?
Being slightly less processed may mean that demerara sugar is a little healthier than brown sugar, but the difference is going to be minimal. You should not swap brown sugar for demerara just to get the health benefits, as these are unlikely to be worthwhile.
You can exchange the two if you also enjoy the flavor of demerara and you like the idea of using raw sugar instead of processed sugar, but bear in mind that demerara is not “healthy” in any way.
You can use demerara sugar instead of brown sugar in almost all situations, including in baking, in hot drinks, and in cooking.
However, you should be aware that demerara sugar may cause your finished product to be a little grittier if it isn’t melted first, and it won’t work brilliantly well in recipes that have a delicate texture.