Chocolate Chip Cookies Without Brown Sugar


No brown sugar? No problem! You can still make Chocolate Chip Cookies without brown sugar. The secret is unpacking what is actually in brown sugar: white sugar and molasses!

These cookies are perfect for adding to a platter of Nut-Free Cookies or tucking into Lunchtime Meal Preps. They definitely make the list of Christmas Cookies to Make Ahead & Freeze.

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Learning how to make cookies is kind of a rite of passage in my book. And finding your pet, favorite, go-to, ultimo chocolate chip recipe is part of that milestone.

For me, both these experiences are wrapped up in this recipe from my Gramma John. She was a savvy baker, a mom of 8 kids living in poverty who knew how to make do when she had to. I think she might have been the original Good Cheap Eater.

I know she’d appreciate my adaptation of her standard recipe into Chocolate Chip Cookies Without Brown Sugar.

Why It Matters

When you’re on a budget or simply don’t want to go to the store, it’s important to use what you have. If you bake at all, chances are good that you have a jar of molasses in the cupboard that only sees the light of day come Christmas.

That, my friends, is the secret to this recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies Without Brown Sugar.

In case you didn’t know, brown sugar contains white sugar and molasses. Here’s all you ever wanted to know about sugar cane processing.

You can make your own brown sugar for topping Not Mushy Oatmeal or Cinnamon Streusel Coffeecake, but you don’t have to go to that work for something like cookies.

Just add the molasses and white sugar to the batter and they’ll mix together when you make the cookie dough!

The texture of your finished cookie will depend on the ingredients you choose and what amounts you use them. For instance, using all white sugar will give you a flat cookie while all brown sugar will give you a plumper, chewy chocolate chip cookie.

Ingredients

Here’s what you need to make these yummy cookies:

ingredients for chocolate chip cookies without brown sugar.

granulated sugar – Also know as white sugar, this is fairly affordable and easy to obtain.

neutral oil – I like to use avocado oil in my baking, but you can use canola, vegetable, or sunflower oil.

softened butter – You can use dairy butter, margarine, or plant butter in these.

molasses – This is key to getting that rich flavor from the brown sugar.

eggs – In a pinch, you can use flaxseed meal egg substitute, but the texture will be slightly different.

vanilla extract – I think vanilla is a great complement to chocolate, but you can use other extracts if you like, such as rum, coffee, or almond.

unbleached, all-purpose flour – This is the regular flour I use in most of my recipes, but you can use regular all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour if you like.

leavening – I use baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. There aren’t really baking substitutions for these, so don’t omit them.

chocolate chips – Use whatever baking chips or sweet chocolate chips you like. See below for other variations. Be sure to save some extra chocolate chips to top the cookie dough balls before baking.

Variations

If you don’t have molasses, you can leave it out. The texture of your cookies will be slightly different, but still delicious. Adding a bit of honey will help with the texture.

Feel free to vary the type of chocolate chips, swapping in other baking chips, dried fruit, or chopped nuts. This recipe is particularly good with white chocolate and macadamia nuts.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s how to make Chocolate Chip Cookies Without Brown Sugar:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line cookies sheets with parchment paper or a silpat baking mat.
  • Cream together the sugar, oil, butter, and molasses. Add the eggs and vanilla, mixing thoroughly.
  • Blend in the flour, soda, cream of tartar and salt. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Form the batter into walnut size balls and place them onto the prepared cookie sheet. Add a few chocolate chips to the tops. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until set.
  • Allow the cookies to cool for one minute on the tray before removing them to a cooling rack.
  • Place baked and cooled cookies in layers separated by waxed paper in an airtight container; cover.
  • Store at room temperature for 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

FAQs

Is it necessary to use brown sugar in cookies?

Brown sugar is a product of sugar cane before the molasses and white sugar have been separated. You can recreate brown sugar by adding molasses back into white sugar. If you don’t have brown sugar, you can use white sugar with a different flavor and texture and add a bit of molasses to the white sugar for a similar approximation.

How do you make easy chocolate chip cookies?

The easiest chocolate chip cookies are the ones that get the fastest from bowl to oven to mouth. My 12-year old daughter baked up two batches of these on a recent Saturday afternoon while watching reruns of Psych. Trust me when I say this recipe is pretty easy!
But, more specifically, I love the ease of this recipe because the measurements are not complicated. No fiddling with ¾ cups or ¼ teaspoons of anything. Full and half measures make it quick and easy to get the ingredients in the bowl and onto the oven.

Can I freeze chocolate chip cookies?

You can and should freeze chocolate chip cookies. Freeze the dough in a tub or rolled into balls or bake and cool the cookies and freeze them baked. Make sure the cookies are completely cooled before layering them between sheets of parchment or waxed paper in the container. The cookies will be good in the freezer for several months

pile of chocolate chip cookies on cake platter with red striped cloth nearby.

What to Serve With

overhead view of chocolate chip cookies on glass platter with carafe of milk.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies Without Brown Sugar

No brown sugar? No problem! You can still make Chocolate Chip Cookies without brown sugar. It’s easy and just as delicious.

Prep Time15 mins

Cook Time10 mins

Total Time25 mins

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: American

Diet: Vegetarian

Servings: 36 cookies

Calories: 203kcal

Cost: $4

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Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line cookies sheets with parchment paper or a silpat baking mat.

  • Cream together the sugar, oil, butter, and molasses. Add the eggs and vanilla, mixing thoroughly. Blend in the flour, soda, cream of tartar and salt. Stir in the chocolate chips.

  • Form the batter into walnut size balls and place them onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until set.

  • Allow the cookies to cool for one minute on the tray before removing them to a cooling rack.

  • Place baked and cooled cookies in layers separated by waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Notes

Freezing: There are actually several ways to freeze cookies.  I use big plastic containers with lids to store baked cookies in the freezer. Make sure the cookies are completely cooled before layering them between sheets of parchment or waxed paper in the container. The cookies will be good in the freezer for several months — if you can keep from eating them.
Variations: If you don’t have molasses, you can leave it out. The texture of your cookies will be slightly different, but still delicious.
Feel free to vary the type of chocolate chips, swapping in other baking chips, dried fruit, or chopped nuts. This recipe is particularly good with white chocolate and macadamia nuts.

Nutrition

Calories: 203kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 93mg | Potassium: 93mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 95IU | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1.3mg

This post was originally published on January 16, 2019. It has been updated for content and clarity.



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