I have an American recipe for molasses cookies but I live in Germany. I have not been able to find molasses in the grocery stores near me. Are there any good substitutes?
Thanks for any help.
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Both http://www.germanyexpat.org/p/finding-food-items.html and https://www.toytowngermany.com/forum/topic/29436-where-to-buy-treaclemolassescornstarch/ recommend "Zuckerrübensirup," possibly brand "Grafschafter Goldsaft."
I have no experience with using this or how it compares to molasses.
Golden syrup is the usual substitute, although it is maybe less strongly flavoured. For some recipes it is important that both are acidic, so will react with bicarbonate of soda.
Update: I find black treacle is an excellent substitute for molasses. You might be able to find zuckerrohrmelasse in a larger supermarket.
I think the number 1 ideal substitute would be sorghum syrup, but I'm guessing since that's not even easy to find in the American South you won't be able to get it in Germany.
So do you have brown sugar? If you can find dark brown sugar, or somehow Japanese black sugar you could use about 3/4 cup of that and 1/4 cup of water per cup of Molasses. Brown/black sugar is traditionally made by not refining sugar-which means that those sugar options are essentially a combination of white sugar and Molasses. I don't know the exact ratio, but when I need 1 cup of brown sugar I usually replace it with 1 cup of white sugar plus 3 T of molasses.
If you can't find a dark sugar, I'd recommend dark honey before golden syrup. Honey varieties are regional, but if you can find buckwheat or sour wood honey, both of them have some bitter and acidic notes that remind me of Molasses.
4th choice would be to use a combination of maple syrup and corn/golden syrup. Or even dark corn syrup if that exists over there.
... I do have one thought which I'm not sure will work, but if your family is German, do you have a good Lebkuchen recipe? It seems like when Americans try to make Lebkuchen, we end up adding Molasses to replace some ingredients we can't get over here, so it could be that if you compare an authentic Lebkuchen recipe to an American knockoff, you might get an idea of how to best replace Molasses by considering that Molasses was the best substitution for ________(I don't know I can't find a German recipe that easily.)
I've never actually had "black treacle" , which is why I haven't included it, but it seems like that basically is Molasses if you can get it.
Good luck. Finding foreign ingredients is a pain. If all else fails, make some Lebkuchen and go taunt some Americans with them.
You can substitute maple syrup for molasses in most recipes. It works particularly well in gingerbread cookies. Start with slightly less than the amount of molasses called for as maple syrup is lighter in texture. The flavor profile will be different.
You can also substitute honey, though a light clover honey will not have the right effect flavor-wise. If you can find a dark honey, like buckwheat honey, it will have more molasses-like flavor. A summer wildflower honey often has a more robust flavor than a spring wildflower honey if you have the option of buying local honey. Honey has a different texture from molasses and may affect the texture of the final product. You may want to experiment with using a mix of honey and brown sugar or raw cane sugar to create the appropriate texture while maximizing the flavor. Brown sugar is usually used 1.5 cups to 1 cup to replace molasses.