One of my favorite staples is Grandma's molasses, not only because it keeps forever but it's the perfect solution to the brown sugar dilemma.
I love brown sugar. I could eat it by the spoonful, which is like a mouthful of grainy but delicious fudge. But, trying to store brown sugar is almost impossible. A nice, moist box of brown sugar turns into a brick in no time, and unless you like licking a brick, you can't use it. I've tried everything short of buying a special storage container that claims to keep it moist. Who needs another container? You need room in your cupboards for microwave popcorn, Doritos and Ramen noodles.
I tried chipping pieces off the brick, but even Michelangelo could not sculpt this stuff.
I tried giving it a mighty whack with a 16-ounce hammer, and all I got was two bricks instead of one.
I tried melting it in the microwave and, maybe my microwave is an old jalopy, but all I got were sparks, bright flashes of light in the window and a warm brick.
Here's the key: Refined white sugar is nothing more than the sweet crystals formed after boiling the juices from crushed raw sugar cane. Molasses is the leftover goo. It still contains lots of sweet crystals, unless you keep boiling until the goo becomes "blackstrap" molasses, which is too bitter for most folks, although, if you have a home-made distillery in your apartment, it's a main ingredient for making rum and stout beer.
My parents used to keep a big jar of Grandma's molasses in the pantry when I was a kid (Yes, we had a pantry, a walk-in closet full of food staples and canned goods instead of clothes). You know a mess when you've seen the aftermath of a trio of under-8 boys turned loose in the pantry with a butter knife, a loaf of Wonder bread and a jar of Grandma's molasses. Brown sticky stuff can spread faster than snow in a blizzard.
The beauty is that you can count on Grandma's to make instant brown sugar on demand, no spoilage, no brick. Mix a spoonful or two of molasses in a cup of white sugar (you need good biceps and/or a little patience), and no one will know that the brown sugar is homemade.
I prefer brown sugar in my apple pies. If you ever sum up the courage and ambition to leave the living room to pass through the kitchen, aside from momentary foraging, try baking an apple pie (ready-made crusts like Pillsbury's rolled-up dough are excellent). Toss the apple chunks in a healthy dose of molasses and add a little less sugar.