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No-Churn Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream

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This easy dessert is like Vietnamese iced coffee in ice cream form.

Vietnamese coffee ice cream in a glass and a metal container.

Photography credit: Aubrie Pick © 2019

Vietnamese iced coffee is a traditional Vietnamese drink of brewed dark roast coffee poured over ice and sweetened condensed milk. In her much-acclaimed cookbook, Vietnamese Food Any Day: Simple Recipes for True, Fresh Flavors, Andrea Nguyen translates this classic drink into delicious ice cream. Happily, you don’t need an ice cream machine, just a handheld electric mixer. Simply whip the ingredients together, pop the mixture in the freezer, and a few hours later you’ll have an intensely coffee-flavored, ultra-creamy frozen treat.

“This is incredible. I made it for a Vietnam-themed dinner. Everyone raved and wanted the recipe. Now that everyone’s gone, I’m sitting here eating it, unable to stop!”

Snarth

What You’ll Need To Make Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream

Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream ingredients
  • Vanilla Extract: Adds depth and enhances the flavor profile of the ice cream.
  • Instant Espresso Powder: Provides a rich coffee flavor without the need for brewing.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream: Contributes to the creamy texture and richness of the ice cream.
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk: Sweetens the ice cream while also adding creaminess and helping to keep it smooth. Make sure to use the full-fat version.
  • Molasses: Adds a hint of caramel-like flavor and complexity to the ice cream and complements the coffee flavor.
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

Step-By-Step Instructions

vanilla, espresso powder, and salt in mixing bowl

In a large bowl, combine the vanilla, espresso powder, and salt; stir until the espresso powder is mostly dissolved.

espresso dissolved in mixing bowl

Add the cream, condensed milk, and molasses.

adding cream, sweetened condensed milk, and molasses to the mixing bowl

Using an electric handheld mixer fitted with the beaters or whisk attachment, whip the mixture at high speed until just thickened to a fluffy whipped cream-like consistency, 2½ to 3 minutes. Do not over-whip.

beaten coffee ice cream base

Transfer to a 3-to 4-cup storage container, cover, and freeze until firm, 5 to 6 hours, or up to 2 weeks.

coffee ice cream ready to freeze

Let the ice cream sit out at room temperature for a few minutes before scooping.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make no-churn ice cream ahead?

Yep, the ice cream will keep, tightly covered, for up to 2 weeks.  Let the ice cream sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes to soften to a scoopable texture before serving.

Can I make no-churn ice cream in an ice cream machine instead of a mixer?

Sure – you can definitely use an ice cream machine if you’d like!

Can I use finely ground coffee or instant coffee?

It should work, but you may want to test it out first by dissolving some of the granules in cold water to make sure they fully dissolve. If so, you’re good to go. I suggest using a little extra — about 2.5 tablespoons — to get a more robust flavor. Taste it after you’ve added the cream, sweetened condensed milk, and molasses, and add a bit more if you want a stronger coffee flavor.

How can I use the remaining sweetened condensed milk?

It’s delicious in coffee or tea.

Vietnamese coffee ice cream in a glass and a metal container.

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No-Churn Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream

This easy dessert is like Vietnamese iced coffee in ice cream form.

Servings: 4 (makes about 2 cups)
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 10 Minutes, plus 5 to 6 hours to freeze

Ingredients

  • 1½ to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Brimming 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • Fine sea salt
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, cold
  • Brimming ⅓ cup full-fat sweetened condensed milk
  • Scant 1 tablespoon molasses

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine 1½ teaspoons of the vanilla, the espresso, a pinch of salt and stir to mix well; it will seem slightly sludgy. Add the cream, condensed milk, and molasses. Taste and, if you want to boost the flavor a touch, add more vanilla, ¼ teaspoon at a time; the amount required depends on the vanilla and your palate. An extra pinch of salt sometimes helps too.
  2. With an electric handheld mixer fitted with two beaters or a whisk attachment, whip the mixture at high speed for about 3 minutes, until you get a firm, spreadable texture like fluffy whipped cream or frosting. Transfer to a 3-to 4-cup storage container, cover, and freeze until firm, 5 to 6 hours, or up to 2 weeks.
  3. Let the ice cream sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes to soften to a scoopable texture before serving.
  4. Note: For coffee and chocolate ice cream, hand chop 1½ ounces bittersweet or dark chocolate into very small bits so they will disperse well. After whipping up the ice-cream mixture, use a spatula to gently fold in the chocolate. Freeze as directed. Your yield will be a little more than the original recipe.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 309
  • Fat: 24 g
  • Saturated fat: 15 g
  • Carbohydrates: 20 g
  • Sugar: 20 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Sodium: 95 mg
  • Cholesterol: 90 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Comments

  • Excellent- no ice crystals- super creamy, super rich.
    I used 1/2 the amount of instant coffee, taste is a personal thing don’t stress. Like the molasses you don’t taste it but adds another level.

    • — Paul from Oregon on August 6, 2022
    • Reply
  • I don’t have have a hand held electric mixer. Can I use my stand mixer, being careful not to over beat? I’m assuming it will take less time.

    • — Mara on August 4, 2022
    • Reply
    • Yep 🙂

      • — Jenn on August 4, 2022
      • Reply
      • Hi Jen, just made the Vietnamese Coffee Icecream, didn’t do the chocolate bit though.
        so simple, absolutely delicious.
        thankyou for sharing
        May I ask too Jen how do you make Vietnamese Iced Coffee. Have half tin condensed milk left would be nice way.to.use it..

        • — Barbara GRAY on August 5, 2022
        • Reply
        • So glad you enjoyed it, Barbara! You might like this recipe.

          • — Jenn on August 7, 2022
          • Reply
  • Made this after making Jen’s TO DIE FOR key lime ice cream. Had the exact right amount of condensed milk left over. I used three Starbucks via instant Italian roast packets to get to the amount called for in this recipe. Unfortunately the Italian roast via is a very strong coffee powder and three packets was too much. The ice cream was bitter. However, the flavour and texture (and simplicity!) were otherwise amazing. I am going to make again but will only start with one packet of Via then keep going until it’s where I need it to be. I know Jen is careful with recipe testing so maybe she used a more mild instant coffee powder than the one I used. But I am undeterred and will make it again because with that little tweak it will be amazeballs, like every delicious recipe Jen creates!

    • — Cate on July 19, 2022
    • Reply
  • Do you think that this ice cream would work as an ice cream sandwich with the chocolate wafer cookies?

    • — Karen on June 14, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on June 14, 2022
      • Reply
  • My boyfriend loves haagen-dazs coffee ice cream, so I thought I would try to make it myself. The prep time took only about 10 minutes. Was so surprised at the taste and texture – so delicious. Can’t wait to try other flavors.

  • Another delicious recipe. I have made this for my guests last night. I added hazelnut as well, received a lot compliments.

    Thank you Jenn.

  • I loved this recipe. It was quick and delicious! Who knew how easy it was to make coffee ice cream?!

  • This ice cream is amazing! Better than store bought. So easy to make and so creamy. My favorite!

    • — Christine Allen
    • Reply
  • Addition to my Comment:
    Doubling the recipe requires 4 tablespoons of coffee. I used 2 and 2/3 Tbs coffee and 1 and1/3 Tbs of Dutch Cocoa.

  • I just doubled the quantities and followed the recipe using granular instant coffee, small grained brown sugar and two dashes of cinnamon powder as substitute for vanilla, using a scant amount of milk to whip the mixture into a slurry.
    Whizz bang dang, a dream ! Couldn’t believe what I created and couldn’t have without you. And I am a picky guy.
    Thank you.

  • Hi Jenn. I’d like to try this recipe however I don’t have molasses. What would be a good substitute for it?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Gayle, you can use dark brown sugar or honey. Hope you enjoy!

      • Jenn, should I use same amount of honey or brown sugar as the molasses in the recipe?

        • Yep – enjoy!

          • Jenn, what can I use as substitute for Instant Espresso Powder? I’ve looked in the grocery stores and baking supplies stores in my area and can’t find any.

            Thanks! 🙂

            • — Gayle
          • Hi Gayle, One reader who couldn’t find it commented that she was going to try it with fine ground coffee or instant coffee. I haven’t tried it so I can’t say how it will impact the recipe, but if you want to give it a whirl, you may want to test it out first by dissolving some of the granules in cold water to make sure they fully dissolve. If so, I think you’re good to go. I’d suggest using a little extra about 2.5 tablespoons to get a more robust flavor. Taste it after you’ve added the cream, sweetened condensed milk, and molasses, and add a bit more if you want a stronger coffee flavor. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

            • — Jenn
  • This ice cream is incredible. The molasses gives it such warmth against the cold smooth espresso flavor. I added some chopped pecans. My husbands eyes rolled back in his head!

  • This could not be easier or more delicious. Everyone at my house LOVED it! 🙂

  • This was AMAZING and so easy. Vietnamese iced coffee is my favorite. I’m now looking for other no churn ice cream recipes on your site…

    • How can you dissolve the espresso powder in the vanilla extract when the amount of extract is substantially less than the espresso powder? Mine stays grainy.

      • Hi Jean, Are you sure you’re using instant espresso?

  • Jenn – I have made this several times and everyone loves it. I use decaf instant coffee – Juan Valdez freeze dried because it’s was all I could find. I found that when I attempted to stir the coffee granules into the vanilla It became very sticky and formed globs of coffee. So I sprinkled it into the vanilla and let it sit dissolve for a few minutes before stirring. I used the full 2 teaspoons of vanilla and slightly more than two tablespoons of the coffee. Thanks for another great recipe that is very easy to make! Kathy

  • Going to try and make this tonight, your recipes never disappoint! Was just curious though, in your final product, it looks like you have some dark pieces of something in the ice cream but i can’t find anywhere what it could be. Would love to add a little texture in to give it some crunch!

    • Hi Lara, That’s chocolate. I didn’t use it but the photo is from the cookbook — I included her instructions for adding chocolate at the end of the recipe. Hope you enjoy it!

  • Made this today. Very easy, was perfect consistency after mixing on high for 4 minutes with a hand mixer. I folded in some frozen mini brownie bites leftover from another ice cream recipe and it made for a tasty combination. I need an idea of what to do with the remaining can of condensed milk 🙂

    • Hi Danita, It is delicious in coffee or tea. 🙂

      • Would this recipe work in an ice cream maker or is the process really only based on using a mixer? Thank you.

        • — Rudresh Mahanthappa
        • Reply
        • Sure, you can use an ice cream maker here. Enjoy!

  • OK, WOW. Was bored last night and decided to give this a try because it seemed easy. Tried the finished product and it’s *so* good and creamy.

    There are some reviews that say the mixture never whips up, and it did take me longer than 3 minutes to whip. Just gotta trust the process–it’ll firm up eventually.

    So, so good.

  • Worst recipe ever, it would not whip at all!! Very disappointed and a lot of wasted ingredients

    • — Jo Ann Baumann
    • Reply
    • It took me about 5 minutes to get mine to whip, but it was likely because of the temp of the cream. Whipping heavy cream is a commitment and you gotta trust the process!

  • Yum ! I am thrilled to finally have an icecream recipe that doesnt require a icecream machine and actually works! Thank you 🇳🇿

    • — Karen - Australia
    • Reply
  • I tried the ice cream with unsweetened cocoa. I doubled the recipe (Used all the condensed milk) and 1/2 cup special dark Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa and added a tsp of espresso powder. It turned out thicker. I guess because the cocoa powder is more dense. Still delicious and chocolatey but not as creamy. It was fun experimenting and I will have no problem finding eaters!

  • Have made three batches of this so far, with no plans to stop! It occurred to me that this recipe would be divine with toffee chips/crushed Heath bar bits, and I was right 😉

  • This was divine and so simple to make! We opted to add in the chocolate and it was the perfect balance. Thank you for another winning recipe. I haven’t had a bad one yet!

  • This was SO good! I made it exactly as written except I substituted dark corn syrup because I didn’t have molasses. If you like coffee, you will love this ice cream. It is so creamy and easy to make. You can hardly find coffee ice cream in the store, so now I can make this and always have it on hand. Thanks for another great recipe!

  • Oh wow! I made this for a back yard picnic and it got rave reviews! It was outstanding! I will share my no fail tips! I put my beaters, metal bowl, and whipping cream in the freezer for 30 minutes first. I put the condensed milk in the fridge. I then followed the recipe to a tee and after 3 1/2 minutes, had the perfect consistency. I added 2 ounces of chopped Bittersweet Ghirardelli and the result was fantastic. I was feeding chocolate fans so left the chocolate a little chunkier. This is a keeper…silky smooth and oh-so flavorful!

    • Can I just use coffee or espresso and reduce it down?

      • I don’t recommend it, Carol. Sorry!

  • This is ITALIAN Espresso Gelato. You can call it Vietnamese if you like but this is the same as Italian Gelato. Delicious and cheap. Make sure you triple the recipe. It’s not enough the way it sits.

    • As far as I know – and you can correct me if I’m wrong – Italians do NOT traditionally mix espresso with condensed milk. That is the twist. I grew up partly in Saigon and I started drinking Vietnamese coffee as a child at breakfast, prepared lovingly by my Aunt. Later I dated an Italian man from Trieste (home of Illy) and he did not drink his espresso this way.

      Vietnam in fact grows coffee in some parts and traditionally it is dark roasted (French-roasted) as the country was colonized by France for many decades.

      (It’s also why Vietnamese sandwiches (banh mi) are slathered with pate and served on a baguette, banh xeo are similar to French savory crepes, and the soup for pho used roasted garlic, onion, ginger and beef bones similar to a French brown stock. I learned all this growing up and only later made the connection with French cooking techniques.)

  • I tripled the recipe and made in my Cuisinart ice cream maker. Served it for dessert for my son’s birthday dinner this evening. Everyone loved it! Wonderful coffee flavor and so creamy! A winner!

    • Susnna, I have one of those ice cream makers and never used it….how did you do it for this recipe? Thanks so much.

      • Hi Martha, be sure you put the freezer bowl in the freezer at least 24 hours before you want to make the ice cream. I just tripled all the ingredients together and put the mixture in the frozen freezer bowl and turned on the machine. Making another batch now! SO GOOD!

  • Had coffee ice cream just a few days ago from a restaurant where the promise was that decaf coffee was used. A few hours later found out that real coffee was what was really used. Can this recipe be made with decaf coffee and if so, what needs to be done to raise the level of the decaf to be the correct intensity needed to approximate the espresso powder?

    • Hi Angela, by decaf coffee, do you mean instant coffee granules? Thanks for clarifying!

    • Hey there — I’ve just whipped up a batch using instant decaff espresso. Of course I tasted it before popping it into the freezer and the flavour is intense. Obviously you could use a little less if you desire . (Now, shall I go to my front porch to finish reading “The Mirror and the Light” or shall I just check the ice cream?) It is VERY good!
      Greetings from the Pacific Coast. TW

  • Delicious! Easy! (My favorite recipe types. )

    • Delicious! Tastes just like Vietnamese coffee! And so easy.

  • Thank you Jenn, this is fabulous!! I substituted sweetened condensed coconut milk (that is what was in the pantry) and folded in some bittersweet chocolate. I let the mixture freeze for 24 hours in a glass container. I just ate some and it is perfect.
    (Glad to have some leftover sweetened condensed milk to make more!)

  • I made this and it didn’t set. I went to serve it and it was a sloppy mess, but had lovely flavour. I used all correct ingredients and followed the directions exactly. It spent 18 hours in the freezer before serving. What went wrong?

    • Hi Stacey, Sorry you had a problem with this! I’m happy to troubleshoot with you. A couple of questions – – is there a chance you used evaporated milk instead of sweetened condensed milk? When you whipped it did it resemble the consistency that I show in the pictures? Was your cream really cold? Did you leave it out for a while before serving? Did you add anything else to the mixture?

      • I had the same problem. Put the sweetened condensed in the fridge before. And put the mixture in freezer after it would not whip and it still would not whip. Totally frustrated and aftraid to start again with the same results. I am a very good cook and again frustrated.

        • — Jo Ann Baumann
        • Reply
        • I’m so sorry you had trouble with this, Jo Ann. Was the heavy cream cold before whipping? What brand of sweetened condensed milk do you use?

  • Can I double the recipe without any problems?

  • Oh gosh, this is so good. Save yourself the time and just double the recipe. It took me about 5 min on high with my mixer. Just made my second batch and this time added finely chopped bittersweet chocolate. Now to wait 5-6 hours…

  • Made this yesterday and will make it again. Not too sweet-I had thought it might be. It tasted like and has the consistency of gelato. Easy too.

  • I have always been a fan of Vietnamese coffee. When I saw the recipe title I was so excited. And, I had all the ingredients in my cupboard. It was so easy to make. I will make a few tweaks the next time I make it as my 12 year old son who loves coffee ice cream as much as I do, thought that the coffee flavor was a tiny bit too strong (I didn’t). I followed the recipe exactly, and not quite knowing how much a pinch of salt is/was, I may have added too much. So I will level off the espresso powder, and put in less than 1/8 of a tsp of salt next time. I also added mini chocolate chips to it before I froze it. It firmed up nicely after about 10 hours. I will also try adding it to a mini graham cracker crust pie shell to make little pies! Thanks for the recipe!

  • I whipped the mixture for 3 minutes and it was still the same consistency as when I started. I kept whipping but then the cream whipped to butter while the coffee solution remained liquid.

    • Hi Michael, Did you by chance make any substitutions? It’s strange the the coffee solution wouldn’t blend with the cream.

      • Nope. Well, I’m not 100% certain whether the sweetened condensed milk is full-fat or not (but I’m pretty sure it is).

        Do you chill the bowl and beaters ahead of time? I wonder if it was too warm in my house…

        • Hi Michael, You shouldn’t need to chill the bowl/beaters. Are you sure it was sweetened condensed milk and not evaporated milk?

          • Yep. Definitely was sweetened condensed milk. I’ll give it another go and see what happens. It was delicious nonetheless!

            • — Michael
          • Okay good luck! Please send me a photo at jennifer@onceuponachef.com if it happens again, and I can help troubleshoot.

            • — Jenn
    • The same thing happened to me the first time I tried to make this. I wondered whether being in a hot, humid house without A/C affected the cream’s ability to whip, so I tried making this again in a very cold metal bowl and it worked perfectly! Also, heavy cream has a slightly higher fat content than whipping cream, so I find that it whips more easily. Delicious recipe.

  • Hi Jenn. I was wondering if I could use decaf fine ground coffee or instant decaf coffee instead of espresso powder in this. What do you think? Thanks. Kathy

    • Hi Kathy, I think the instant decaf will work but because I’ve never tried it, you may want to test it out first by dissolving some of the granules in cold water to make sure they fully dissolve. If so, I think you’re good to go. I’d suggest using a little extra about 2.5 tablespoons to get a more robust flavor. Taste it after you’ve added the cream, sweetened condensed milk, and molasses, and add a bit more if you want a stronger coffee flavor. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

  • Just whipped this up – so excited to try it later today! I have a question that’s a bit of a tangent: can you (or any of your lovely readers) suggest some other things I can make to use up the rest of the sweetened condensed milk? I don’t want to waste any leftovers!

    • Hi Kelly, Hope you enjoy the ice cream! Here are some suggestions for using up the remaining sweetened condensed milk. 🙂

    • Following up to give the recipe five stars! It’s *wonderful*! Thanks for the suggestions on how to use the rest of the condensed milk – but I might just end up making a bunch more of this! 🤣

  • I love the way you SHOW us the ingredients you are using for a recipe. Other chefs make an effort to hide the brands they use, but you are willing to share. You are my “go-to” chef. Thank you.

    • So glad you like that feature! 🙂

  • You MUST have been reading my mind. I have some leftover coffee beans that I purchased from Nguyen Coffee Supply. She’s a small, female owned, roasterie in Brooklyn and buys her beans from small growers in Vietnam. I was just thinking how delicious her coffee would be in an ice cream, and then you posted THIS! I can not wait to try it. Thank you, Jenn for reading my mind. 💕

    • 🙂 Hope you enjoy!

  • I’m sitting here drinking Vietnamese iced coffee and have all the ingredients available in my kitchen! Just wanted to say, Jen, that I’ve been making a lot of dinners from your book ( which I bought) or your site and have enjoyed them all. Thank you!

    • ❤️

      • Hi Jen
        I have some fresh ground coffee (espresso grind) which I use to make expresso but no instant. Can I use this or would it be too much liquid? Can’t wait to try it, it looks delicious 😀

        • Hi Ann, Unfortunately, it will be too much liquid. Sorry!

  • If I don’t have molasses what else can I use to replace?

    • — Fatima Siddiqui
    • Reply
    • Hi Fatima, I’d go with dark brown sugar or honey.

  • This looks delicious! Excited to try it. However, I struggle to find molasses here. Do you have any suggestions for substitutions, or do you think it could be left out?

    • Hi Elise, I would replace the molasses with dark brown sugar or honey.

  • Will sweetened condensed coconut milk work? I love your recipes and share them often! Thanks, Jenn

    • Hi Lisa, I’d be nervous to recommend it here, as I’m not sure the mixture would freeze the same way – sorry!

  • This looks amazing! If you don’t have a handheld, mixer could this be mixed in a Kitchen Aid stand mixer? Thanks!

    • Sure, Ashley – just keep in mind that it will whip up a bit faster. You have to be careful not to over-whip it, or the ice cream will be heavy. Just watch it and stop when it gets to a fluffy whipped cream consistency.

    • I haven’t tried it yet, but I made mine in a stand mixer and it worked fine.

      • So now I’ve tried it, and it’s excellent. I just used instant coffee powder, looking forward to a more coffee-forward taste with espresso powder. And some Heath bars.

        • Glad it worked out well — thanks for reporting back!

  • How can make this in a lighter version? The calorie count here is way above what I would use.

    • — Polly Tonsetic
    • Reply
    • Hi Polly, Because this is a no-churn ice cream, you really need to use full-fat heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk. I’m sorry!

  • Love the thought and anticipate the taste of this – can you use evaporated milk instead of condensed milk ? this is to lower the fat content from a cholesterol point of view

    thank you

    hilary

    hilary.schuman@gmail.com

    • — Hilary Schuman
    • Reply
    • Hi Hilary, Unfortunately evaporated milk won’t work here — most of the sweetness comes from the sweetened condensed milk. Sorry!

  • This looks delicious and easy! My question is, can this recipe be doubled? Thank you!

  • Is there any way to make vegan version is this… it sounds delicious!!!

    • Unfortunately, I don’t think so, Barbara – I’m sorry!

    • Barbara, if you have sweetened condensed coconut milk (available in some stores) and whip up coconut cream like one would for coconut whip cream, it is totally doable. 🙂

  • Will this recipe work in a Cuisinart ice cream maker?

    • Sure, Carol. Enjoy!

      • Hi! Looks tantalizing! I am out of molasses. what is the purpose of molasses? May I omit?

        Thx!

        • Hi Christine, It adds really nice flavor, but I think you could either omit it or replace with dark brown sugar.

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