What Are the Different Kinds of Molasses?

By Laura Nations

Sugary, sticky and sweet, molasses is a byproduct of refining sugar. It is used as an ingredient in baked goods like cakes and cookies. There are different types of molasses, though, and each gives your baked goods a different taste and sweetness, so knowing which one you are using is imperative to the outcome of your dish.

Molasses is used on top of baked goods to add a sugary, sticky finish.

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Light Molasses

Light molasses is also known as "original" or "mild" molasses because it is not as dark and strong as other varieties. This is the best choice when baking baked goods or making marinades and sauces. You can also top pancakes and other baked goods as an alternative to maple syrup. Cookies baked with light molasses also come out chewier than they would if you used a stronger variety of molasses. It can be kept in a dry and cool area for up to two years.

Dark Molasses

Dark molasses is also known as "cooking" or "robust" molasses. It is darker and thicker than light molasses, and is a less sweet variety. It is used to make harder cookie varieties like ginger snaps and gingerbread. It can also be used to make thick sauces like barbecue. It can be used interchangeably with light molasses, but dark molasses gives your baked goods more body. It can be kept in a dry and cool area for up to two years.

Black Strap Molasses

Black strap molasses is the darkest, thickest and most bitter variety of molasses. It is used to produce animal feed. In terms of human foods it is used to give a darker color to baked goods and sweeten them slightly. It is mixed with light molasses when used to make sauces or baked goods. It should not be kept more than three months in a dry and cool area.

Bead Molasses

Bead molasses is similar to light molasses in color, texture and sweetness. However it is the least commonly used of all the varieties of molasses and it is mainly used in Asian dishes to add flavor and color. It can also be stored up to two years in a dry and cool area.