Cooks can use an equal amount of white granulated sugar as a simple substitute for brown sugar. To keep the rich flavor and soft texture in baked goods, a tablespoon of molasses can substitute for each cup of sugar in a recipe.
Manufacturers differ in how they make brown sugar. C&H, for example, makes brown sugar the traditional way, by keeping some of the naturally occurring molasses during refining. Other manufacturers take fully refined white sugar and spray it with molasses. Natural brown sugar alternatives, such panela, jaggery and turbinado, are minimally refined sugars with very rich molasses content. Cooks can use an equal amount of these as a substitute for refined brown sugar.