Kitchen Myths

Facts and fiction about food and cooking, by Peter Aitken

Molasses and black strap molasses are interchangeable

No way. They have the same origin–sugar cane–but are quite different. In a nutshell, the liquid squeezed from the sugar cane is boiled until most of the sugar crystallizes. The sugar is separated and further processed to become the granulated sugar we are all familiar with. The liquid remaining is molasses. It is sweet, slightly bitter, and with a complex flavor that is important in many baked goods.

If you take molasses and boil it down even more, you get black strap. You might think it would just be a more concentrated molasses, but no–the additional cooking breaks down a lot of the sugar into simpler molecules and the result is less sweet and much more bitter than real molasses. It’s quite salty, too.

Bottom line, molasses and black strap molasses are two quite different critters and cannot be interchanged.

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