Edibles

Fancy Sugar Cubes

Hello! I hope you’ve been having a good week! I’ll take a short break from the office decor series this week and present you with something sweet: sugar cubes! Although… come to think of it, is it really a divergence? … Office → Coffee/Tea → Sugar Cubes!

I’ve been thinking about a little tea party for a couple of weeks. It’s been getting warmer and oh so lovely outside, and all I want to do is sit outdoors and drink tea like a proper lady! Unfortunately, times are busy right now and I just haven’t been able to put one together. However, I decided to go ahead and get started on it with these fancy little sugar cubes. Each one is measured out and is just over a teaspoonful. I love sugar cubes, even though I don’t take any in my tea/coffee, and I have to say I just love the colours.

I used silicon and plastic candy molds to make these. I bought a cute Lego figurine mold last year that holds exactly a teaspoon of sugar, and I like throwing those little guys into a cup of steaming hot tea (sadistic much?). I also used a cute mini hearts mold, and some plastic molds that I saved from an assorted box of chocolates – there was one tray with sea shells and another one with swirls/rosettes. The silicon molds are much easier to work with because the set sugar cubes pop right out. The plastic ones require a little more force to take out, and sometimes you lose a tiny detail as you’re popping the dried sugar cube out.

In the past, I have also used mini cookie cutters, my favourites being mini cookie cutters shaped like a teapot and teacup respectively, which I think make the cutest sugar cubes! Once again, pre-blogging mindframe; hence, no pictures. Using cookie cutters requires a lot more time and patience because you can only make a single cube at a time, and the cubes tend to crumble and develop rather rough edges because each sugar “cube” gets too little time to set before being disturbed.

So here it is, the super-simple process of making your own fancy sugar cubes!

You will need:

{Amounts specified below made 33 teaspoonfuls worth of cubes}

  • White, brown, cane or turbinado sugar – 1/2 cup
  • Water – 1 tsp
  • Food colouring (optional)
  • Mold of your choice; read the Tips & Tricks section if you don’t own one

The steps:

1. If you are using turbinado sugar or some other type of sugar with large granules, grind it first. This helps the sugar stick together in a clump when you are making the cubes.

2. Mix the sugar and water until the water is well-distributed. The ideal texture should resemble wet sand. 

3. If you are making coloured cubes, decide how many colours you would like to use. Divide all the sugar into as many parts as the colours you want to make and place in separate bowls. Add in a different food colouring into each bowl and mix. There is really no wrong way to do this. If you want an uniform colour, mix until all the sugar is uniformly combined. If you like a little texture, mix lightly for a marbled effect.

4. Next, measure out a teaspoonful of sugar and place into each cavity of the mold. It is fine if it seems to overflow; just heap it up. When you have distributed the sugar uniformly, press it down with your fingers or the back of a spoon until all the sugar is tightly packed. The more tightly you can pack the sugar in, the better it will hold its shape when dry.

5. Let the sugar cubes dry in their molds for 12 hours or so, although I’ll admit I usually play safe and wait about 24 hours. After the waiting period is over, flip the molds over and pop out the cubes. I usually let them air dry for another 24 hours. Once they have dried completely, store them in a tin and they’re ready to be used!

Before storing them, make sure you have a little more fun with them:

Tips, tricks & ideas

Don’t have silicon molds? Want to play around with colours and textures? Here are a few more ideas to help you make awesome sugar cubes:

  • When I have a lot of colours to mix, I like to use a single bowl for multiple complementary colours. This really helps to cut down on clean-up time. For instance, suppose that I want to make pink, orange, blue, green, yellow and purple cubes. I would divide all the sugar into three, then add pink, blue and yellow colouring respectively to each bowl. Mix thoroughly, then press half the amount of sugar in each bowl into the mold. Next, add in yellow colouring to the pink bowl to get orange, pink into the blue bowl to get purple, and blue into the yellow bowl to get green. Move on to steps 4 & 5.
  • You can also use the same trick to get different shades/intensity of the same colour. Start with a bowl of sugar, add in enough food colouring to get your lightest shade. Press the coloured sugar into the mold. Next, add in another drop or two of the same food colouring to get a slightly deeper shade. Press some more sugar into the mold. Continue in this manner to make the colour more and more intense as you make more cubes.
  • If you don’t have molds to work with, you can also use cookie cutters. Place the cookie cutter on a flat surface (a counter, baking sheet or plate) – remember, you cannot move the sugar until it has set completely, so pick a surface accordingly. Fill the inside of the cutter with as much sugar as it will hold. Press down until the sugar is very tightly packed, making sure to get to all the nooks & crannies. If the cookie cutter is oddly-shaped, use the handle of a spoon to get to the corners. Once you are sure that all the sugar is tightly packed, gently lift the cookie cutter off and do not move the sugar until it has set – about 12-24 hours. Believe me, it is heartbreaking when you have made a beautifully-shaped sugar piece and it crumbles on you!
  • If you don’t mind regular cuboid cubes (duh!), here’s another time-saving alternative. Mix the sugar and water, and colour as (and if) you please. Spread the sugar mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet – if you have multiple colours, you can make stripes of colour or random patches. Score it with a knife to form cubes as large or small as you like. Then let the sugar set. Once it is completely dry, cut the cubes with a knife and you are set! I’m excited to make striped cubes next!
  • If you want flavoured sugar cubes, you can add in some flavouring or extract to the sugar-water mixture. You can also add crushed petals or candied citrus peel for dainty little cubes to complement the type of tea you’re having/serving!

Now I’m beginning to get all excited about this (potential) tea party again! Time to start planning!

While it surely is much easier to plop a spoonful of sugar or a store-bought sugar cube into your tea or coffee, I believe it is the little touches that make life all the more special. And then there are those days when a girl (person?) just wants to be transported to the world of Downton Abbey; feeling like near-royalty, putting on airs and graces, going around calling everyone Cousin <First Name>, and drinking a cup of tea with fancy sugar cubes in it, right? 😉 🙂 😀

 

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