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Molasses Sugar

Molasses is the rich black syrupy residue of sugar-making when the crude brown sugar crystals are separated out. Normally, molasses is made from sugar cane.

Molasses, which is less sweet than honey, but contains a good amount of the concentrated flavours of the raw sugar. Molasses has some sucrose in it and all the bits that are missing from white sugar.

Molasses is used in gingerbread, fruit cakes and Boston baked beans. In baking, Bicarbonate of soda reacts with the acids in molasses to give off carbon dioxide and allowing the baking to rise. Classic gingerbread men recipes use molasses for the rise. Use molasses to flavour the water when boiling ham.

The best molasses comes from the first boiling, retains most of the sugar and can be used at table. Second-boil molasses has more sugar removed, is darker and is used in sweets and baking. The final/third boiling results in deep black Blackstrap Molasses, which is used at the table and in baking to give cakes that rich and treacly molassey flavour.

Further reading

  • Christian, G. (2005) Real Flavours: the handbook of gourmet & deli ingredients, Grub Street. ISBN 1904943209.
  • Stobart, T. (1981) The Cook's Encyclopedia: ingredients & processes, Harper & Row. ISBN 0060141271.