Chocolate chip cookies are such a standard and staple essential in any baker’s kitchen. They satisfy any sweet craving you may have and can be made in so many different ways.
Some people love a gooey cookie, whereas others like the crunch of the biscuit met with the chocolate chunks. Whatever you’re into, you can’t deny how delicious a chocolate chip cookie can be.
You can make chocolate chip cookies with basic ingredients stored in your pantry. You don’t actually need anything fancy, just deep dive into your baking stash to find exactly what is needed.
We have found that many recipes call for brown sugar to be used. It’s as if using regular, granulated sugar is hugely frowned upon!
We just want to let you know that substituting brown sugar for a different ingredient can be quite beneficial. How? We hear you say!
Well, using a different ingredient other than brown sugar can completely transform the taste and texture of your cookies. Brown sugar does have some advantages like giving your chocolate chip cookies a darker color. However, not everyone loves the taste that brown sugar brings to the table.
Why do chocolate chip cookies contain brown sugar?
Brown sugar does have some benefits when used in a chocolate chip cookie recipe.
The ingredient does add some qualities which otherwise would be difficult to achieve with a white sugar.
There are two types of brown sugar available in stores – light and dark.
Light Brown Sugar
If a recipe calls for brown sugar to be used then they are usually referring to light brown sugar.
Light brown sugar is as the name would suggest, lighter in color which results in the final bake of the cookies being a light warm brown color.
If you were to bake chocolate chip cookies with a light brown sugar, you would have cookies which have a caramel flavor. The cookies will be a lot chewier in texture which is all well and good if that is what you are looking for.
If you like the snap a cookie can provide, then you should consider swapping the brown sugar to one of our substitutes.
Getting into the science of using light brown sugar, you can see exactly how it makes the cookie a chewy texture. When you cream it together with butter, there will be less air pockets in the mixture, a wider spread and less mechanical leavening.
This is due to the density of the light brown sugar. Therefore, this will result in your cookies holding onto moisture when being baked and setting as a more chewy cookie.
Dark Brown Sugar
Dark brown sugar isn’t that different to it’s lighter version. It has relatively the same composition as the light brown sugar.
However, if you decide to use dark brown sugar in your chocolate chip cookies, you may end up being slightly let down.
Using the dark brown sugar in your mixture will turn the cookies a lot darker than you may expect. In fact, a lot of people who have used dark brown sugar in their recipes do fear that they’ve burnt their cookies. They’re not the most attractive bakes to look at.
The taste of the cookies will be very similar to a rich toffee due to the increased molasses. However, the texture will be very similar to when you use light brown sugar. They will be chewy as the mixture will hold onto moisture.
It really is all down to personal preference. Do you like a chewy or crumbly chocolate chip cookie? For us, it depends what mood we are in.
If you want to achieve a snap in your cookie, then swapping the brown sugar to a different ingredient will transform your recipe.
Substitutes for brown sugar in chocolate chip cookies
There are several different ingredients you can use as a substitute for brown sugar in chocolate chip cookies.
White Granulated Sugar
The most common substitute, which many of us can find in our cupboards, is white granulated sugar.
This is a staple in our cupboards here so it is super accessible to anyone who is looking to bake chocolate chip cookies. Sometimes it is difficult to find brown sugar at the store and that is no big deal.
The way that white granulated sugar is produced, it won’t affect the color of your cookies. So you no longer have to cringe when your cookies come out of the oven looking burnt due to the brown sugar.
White sugar also allows your mixture to spread widely across the baking tray when in the oven. This makes the perfect sized cookies!
Some people do complain that using white granulated sugar doesn’t produce the best flavor. However, this can all be improved on by adding a vanilla or almond extract. If you are missing a certain sweetness, then these extracts make the recipe pop.
As mentioned previously, substituting brown sugar for white sugar means that you will get a more crumbly cookie which snaps when you bite into it.
Depending on how many chocolate chips you add to your recipe, then you can make them more gooey as you choose. However, if you are looking for that yummy crunch to your cookie, just the regular amount of chocolate chips will do.
Golden Caster Sugar
Another easy way to substitute out your brown sugar would be to use golden caster sugar. If you are a regular baker then you most likely already have this stored away in your cupboard.
Caster sugar is much finer than granulated sugar so it dissolves quickly into the mixture. It’s a great time saver.
If you enjoy the caramel taste that brown sugar brings to the table but not the darker color on the cookie, then this could be the one for you.
As this is golden caster sugar, it does give off a slight color when fully baked however, it is nothing near the almost burnt looking cookies that brown sugar can result in.
The golden caster sugar also adds a slightly sweet taste to the cookie. A light caramel flavor runs through the cookie and compliments the chocolate chips well.
Of course, brown sugar also gives a caramel taste when being used in chocolate chip cookies however it can sometimes be too overpowering due to the molasses in the brown sugar.
Golden caster sugar is a great substitute if you want a slightly more sweet tasting cookie base.
The third and final brown sugar substitute that we are going to discuss is powdered sugar. This substitute can be added into the mixture easily as it dissolves extremely well into the wet ingredients.
You may be wondering what benefits powdered sugar brings to your chocolate chip cookies? Well, we are here to let you know!
If you want a completely melt-in-the-mouth experience when you bite into your cookie, this could be the substitute for you.
It creates a soft texture without the cookie being too gooey. We would describe them as having a delicate texture when you bite into them but with a crunchier outer crumb.
As powdered sugar is used for making icing, you can expect the taste of your cookies to be quite sweet. Perfect for any sweet teeth in your family!
However, if you choose to use a powdered sugar in place of brown sugar, you may want to avoid adding in any flavorings such as almond or vanilla. These additions may overwhelm your taste buds so just using the powdered sugar will be enough to satisfy you.
So now, we have discussed why brown sugar is used in some chocolate chip cookie recipes. We have also taken a look into what substitutions you can make if you don’t have access to that ingredient.
Now comes the best bit, the actual recipe! We have decided to provide you with a tasty recipe using white granulated sugar. Sound good? Keep reading!
How to make chocolate chip cookies without brown sugar
Here is a simple and classic chocolate chip cookie recipe which you can easily make from the comfort of your own home.
When looking at all of the possible substitutions for brown sugar, we decided that white granulated sugar was the most accessible choice.
You will get a delicious tasting cookie which snaps and crumbles. Perfect to pair with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee, if that’s more your thing!
This recipe produces 40 cookies and in total, they take 28 minutes to prep and bake.
- 1 cup of softened butter
- 1 ½ cup white granulated sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 12 oz chocolate chips
- Firstly, you will need to preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
- Now, it’s time to start prepping the mixture. Cream together the white granulated sugar and softened butter. For the best results, do this with an electric hand mixer. Keep whisking until the mixture becomes combined and appears fluffy.
- Next you can add in the vanilla extract and give the mixture another minute of whisking. Once the vanilla extract is combined with the mixture, add one egg and whisk until it is fully whipped together. Then, you will be able to add in the second egg and repeat this process. Set aside the mixture until when it is needed next.
- Get the all purpose flour and sift it into a large bowl. Also add in the baking soda and salt in this step.
- It’s time to combine both the wet and dry mixtures. Using an electric mixer, slowly start adding the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Only mix until almost fully combined – this is important as you are not done mixing just yet and you don’t want to overwork the mixture.
- The best bit – add in the chocolate chips. All of them! Mix them through until distributed as evenly as possible. Remember to not go overboard with the mixing as you do not want to affect the texture of the cookies.
- Use a spoon to scoop out the cookie dough and place it onto your baking tray. Space them about two inches apart to avoid them merging together in the oven.
- Put the cookies into the oven for around 10-12 minutes until the cookies are golden.
- Place the cookies onto a cooling rack and let them fully cool before serving. Of course, if you want a cheeky taste of your warm cookies fresh from the oven, go for it! We won’t tell a soul!
We hope that you enjoy your chocolate chip cookies made without brown sugar. As you have learnt from this article, substituting brown sugar won’t drastically change the final result of your cookies. In fact, whatever taste or texture you are looking for, you can amend our recipe accordingly.
Now grab a cup of coffee or a glass of milk and enjoy your chocolate chip cookies to your heart’s content!