How to Make Brown Sugar
I want to understand you, Black Friday shopping people. Really, truly, I do. Perhaps its laziness, or my general fear of waiting in line, or the fact that I really just don't like a whole lot of people up in my personal space. But there is nothing--NOTHING--about shopping over Thanksgiving weekend that appeals to me. The mere thought of navigating the Target parking lot right now makes me want to set up camp on the couch, swaddle myself in a blanket and cry a little. This is also why, despite the fact that we had a small family Thanksgiving this year--just the husband, Little C, and myself--I cooked for approximately 15 people. Because I am also afraid of leaving the house to go to the grocery store. I know! I got issues.
But Thanksgiving gives way to loads of holiday baking inspiration, and I've already begun pulling some recipes together for you, totally perfect for this year's holiday cookie tins. I was all vintage-aproned and fa-la-la-la-la! this morning, until--insert record needle scratch here--I realized I was out of brown sugar. In my world, this is sort of like the dreams I've been having where I suddenly realize I'm eight months' pregnant and I've been drinking heavily the entire time. Add to that my stance against heading to the grocery store this weekend, and it was time for some serious Kitchen MacGyvering.
Making your own brown sugar is dead simple, and about 1 zillion times more flavorful than the ready-made kind. And it just might save your whole day. Or at the very least, prevent another dreaded trip to the store.
Homemade Brown Sugar
Makes 1 cup
1 cup granulated sugar 1 to 2 tablespoons unsulfured molasses 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional, but adds major pizazz)
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Use 1 tablespoon molasses for light brown sugar, and 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons for dark brown sugar. Use a handheld mixer on low speed to blend thoroughly. Use your fingertips to break up any stubborn lumps as you go. Store in an airtight container.
In the spirit of holiday Kitchen MacGyvering, here's a few more tips I love: