Sorghum is a natural sweetener, made from juice extracted from a sorghum plant. It has a very distinct taste, leading many chefs to hesitate when substituting for it in a recipe. Although the taste will be altered when using a different sweetener in gingerbread, it is possible to make the switch without ruining the recipe.
Look for sweeteners with a comparable consistency to sorghum, preferably ones made from similar processes. Molasses is a good one-for-one substitute for sorghum in gingerbread cookies or cakes, but you will need to adjust the overall amount of sugar in the recipe. Sorghum is sweeter than molasses, so increase any other sugars in the recipe by up to one-third. If no other sugars are called for in the recipe you are using, simply increase the molasses slightly. Work with small batches until you get the combination that appeals to you.
Honey is another viable alternative, but the National Sweet Sorghum Producers and Processors Association recommends avoiding honey and sorghum substitutions in cookies and cakes if the recipe includes baking powder. Choose a recipe that uses baking soda instead, as the soda is needed to neutralize the acidity in honey when used in baked goods.
Wendy K. Leigh is a travel writer and photojournalist from Seattle. She is the Editor of Islands America, a travel website for visiting islands within the United States. She also writes about home design, food and historical architecture. Leigh holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Washington.