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You're getting ready to bake a rich pastry dish or a sweet and savory dinner side, when you realize you've run out of brown sugar. Don't worry -- no need to run to the grocery store. Two pantry staples can save your recipe, and save you money.

What Is Brown Sugar?

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Brown sugar is the result of mixing of granulated white sugar with molasses. Sold in stores or easily made at home, it adds an "earthy sweetness" and "chewy texture," per Food Republic, as well as a moister texture than can be achieved using white sugar alone. Brown sugar can be added to a variety of dishes and sauces, from breakfast muffins to barbecue sauces and baked sweet potatoes.

Mastering the Mix

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Making your own brown sugar is less expensive than buying your own, according to The Kitchn. Also, making your own brown sugar allows for greater control over taste; you can decide on your own sugar-to-molasses ratio, as opposed to relying on the mixture of a store-bought version.

Storing Brown Sugar

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One of the perks of making your own brown sugar is that you can make as much or as little as you'd like. Keep the leftover portion fresh and soft by storing it correctly. Brown sugar is best stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place, such as a cabinet (but not in the refrigerator). You can also place other foods inside the container with the brown sugar to keep it soft. Try using an apple slice or piece of bread, from which the brown sugar can soak up moisture. Small terra cotta disks that will keep brown sugar soft are available at kitchen stores. Although brown sugar can be stored indefinitely, use it within six months for best flavor.

Sweet Success: Combining the Ingredients

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Make your own light brown sugar by combining a proportion equivalent to 1 cup of granulated white sugar and 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of molasses. For dark brown sugar, increase the amount of molasses to 1/4 of the amount of white sugar used. Mix the sugar and molasses in a large bowl with a hand mixer, in a food processor, or by hand with a large spoon.

About the Author

Whitney DeGroat

Whitney DeGroat began her writing career in 2007 at "The Springfield Paper." She has also written for newspapers such as the "Springfield News-Sun" and "Dayton Daily News" and served as a fashion columnist for "The Torch." DeGroat received a Bachelor of Arts in English at Wittenberg University.