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Kitchen Tips: What to Do When You Run Out of Brown Sugar

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Lauren Salkeld

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My pantry is just about bursting with ingredients, but somehow, whenever I get the last-minute itch to bake, I always seem to be out of one or two things. It will be a Sunday night and I'm all set to make cookies, when I realize I'm out of something. And do you know what that something usually is? Light brown sugar. I don't know what it is about light brown sugar, but it disappears from my kitchen. Dark brown sugar, white sugar, and even confectioner's sugar pile up like crazy, but light brown sugar always goes out of stock.

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No one likes to go to the supermarket on a Sunday night, especially me, so when pastry pro Nick Malgieri gave me this tip a while back, I knew it would come in handy. I was interviewing Malgieri about the carrot cake recipe he created for Epicurious, as part of our Classic Recipes series, and he mentioned this little nugget.

SEE MORE: 5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you're out of light brown sugar, substitute a combination of equal parts dark brown and white sugar. Malgieri warns against switching to all dark brown sugar, because there will be too much molasses flavor, but the composite sugar (the half white sugar-half dark brown sugar combo) will come close to mimicking the mild molasses notes of light brown sugar. Late-night baking crises averted.

Do you have any baking substitutions you think really work? Spill your secrets!

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