Afternoon Tea and DIY Sugar Cubes




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diy fancy sugar cubes

DIY Sugar Cubes ~ these fancy sugar cubes are surprisingly easy to make, and can transform morning coffee or afternoon tea into a truly memorable occasion!

Make your own adorable sugar bon bons for afternoon tea

The other day I had the most fun I’ve had in a while, some girlfriends and I went on an afternoon tea excursion to the historic Langham Huntington hotel in Pasadena.  I could definitely get used to this…we spent a leisurely couple of hours sitting and chatting and being waited on hand and foot.

tea at the langham hotel

We started off with a Kir Royale, which is one of my favorite elegant cocktails — Crème de cassis topped off with champagne, and no, it wasn’t 5 o’clock yet!

kir royale

Langham Hotels and Resorts is a British owned company, and so it makes perfect sense that they would institute the venerable old tradition of Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood at the Langham Huntington. It’s one of the more complete services I’ve experienced, with lots of interesting choices of tea, (I chose the English Floral, a rose, heather, elderflower, and lavender blend) and plenty to eat.  I came super hungry, and left super happy!  The three tiered tray holds everything from traditional scones and clotted cream to tea sandwiches and pastries.  I’m not sure if the other ladies noticed, but I scarfed down one of the smoked salmon on sourdough with caramelized shallot caper cream before we even unfolded our napkins… :)

tea sandwiches at the Langham Huntington

If you live in the area and want to show Mom how much she means to you, I recommend taking her to the Langham…they’re all booked up for this Mother’s Day, but you can give her a rain check.  She’ll love it, and so will you.

diy lemon sugar cubes

It’s hard to come off the high of spending a few glorious hours at a luxury hotel, it’s like the letdown after a great vacation…reality settles in like a thud.  I kinda wanted to keep the romance alive, so I set right to work creating my own elegant little DIY sugar cubes to make my regular old tea a little more special.  They aren’t really cubes, I guess, they’re more like little bon bons, but, whatever.  They’re even prettier than the plain paper wrapped ones we had at the Langham!  It’s super duper easy, even your toddler can help.  You can use them to fancy-up your own afternoon tea, or add them to the breakfast-in-bed tray this Sunday.  If you’re the ‘Mom’ in residence, make these and set them out as a hint…

rose flavored sugar cubes

I went a little nutty and made all kinds of flavors, starting with lemon, and then I moved on to rose, orange blossom, lavender, and even jasmine.  There’s no end to the fun you can have.  But I’m guessing most of you will be happy with plain sugar.  The key is that you moisten the sugar ever so slightly with either water, or your flavoring of choice, and then press it firmly into a plastic or silicone mold.  You can add a touch of gel paste food coloring if you like.

molding sugar cubes

Flip the mold over and voila! – you’ve got perfect little sugar bon bons.  They dry firm in less than an hour, and then you can set them out on a tray or in a bowl.  The plain ones will keep indefinitely, but the ‘flavored’ ones will not last as long because the scent and flavors will eventually fade.

do-it-yourself sugar 'cubes'

There is no trick to these at all, the sugar falls right out of the molds.  The only thing you have to do is make sure to mold your sugar while it is still damp, and let the cubes sit, untouched, while they dry, for at least 30 minutes.  If you mess up, just scoop up the sugar and remold it.

diy jasmine flower sugar cubes

One of the interesting ‘flavors’ I made was jasmine.  I made it the same way I made my lemon sugar for my LEMON SUGAR SHORTBREAD, but instead of lemon rind I processed regular sugar with a handful of blossoms.  This would work with honeysuckle, lilac, and lavender too.  You can even use raw sugar for this, if you prefer, because the processor will break up the crystals enough for it to mold sharply.

I used my trusty Cuisinart mini food processor to blend up the sugars, and the very same plastic bon bon mold I used in my MEYER LEMON FILLED CHOCOLATES.  Any plastic or silicone mold with small openings will do.  You can find them at large craft stores.

These DIY sugar cubes are a really straightforward, simple project, it shouldn’t cause you any trouble at all.  Whether you’re treating mom, or just kicking back with friends, the only thing you have to decide is…one lump, or two?

DIY Sugar Cubes for Afternoon Tea
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Yield: each 1/2 cup sugar makes approximately 12 sugar cubes

Ingredients

    plain sugar cubes
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp water
    lemon sugar cubes
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • rind from 1/2 lemon (I use a serrated vegetable peeler to thinly peel the rid off, just the yellow, not the bitter white part)
    rose sugar cubes
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp rosewater
  • touch of gel paste food coloring (optional)

Instructions

  1. For the plain sugar cubes, put the sugar into the bowl of a small food processor and add the water. Process until the sugar is uniformly moist, this will just take about 30 seconds.
  2. For the lemon sugar, put the sugar into your processor. Add the lemon rind and process until the rind is completely incorporated into the sugar and it is a pale yellow. I give the small machine a little shake now and then to redistribute everything. You don't need the water for this one because the rind adds the moisture.
  3. For the rose sugar cubes, process the sugar with the rose water.
  4. Spoon the moist sugar into plastic molds and press in firmly. Use the pads of your fingers to really make sure you've packed it in. The processor will have 'fluffed up' the sugar which is why you need to pack it down.
  5. To invert the mold you can either do it directly onto a flat surface like your counter top, or you can place something firm and flat over the mold, and invert the mold and the surface together,
  6. Gently lift the mold so you don't disturb the delicate impressions. Let them sit for at least 30 minutes, or up to an hour. They will be firm enough to handle and even stack, carefully!

 

Don’t forget to pin these DIY Sugar Cubes!

DIY Sugar Cubes ~ these fancy sugar cubes are surprisingly easy to make, and can transform morning coffee or afternoon tea into a truly memorable occasion! #tea #sugarcubes #sugar #diysugarcubes #hightea #afternoontea #mothersday #diy

 

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49 Comments

  • Reply
    Julia Frey
    October 2, 2018 at 7:35 am

    Oh my goodness, these are adorable, Sue. My daughter and I were at a French patisserie the other day and she asked me how sugar cubes are made. I am pinning this and getting her to make them!

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 2, 2018 at 7:37 am

      This is such a fun project and I only wish I’d known about it when my girls were little, we would have loved doing it together.

  • Reply
    Nicole Lee Bielby
    September 20, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    I am wanting to make peppermint sugar cubes, any advice on the perfect way to make them?

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 20, 2018 at 8:19 pm

      I would try using mint extract in place of the water, that should work!

      • Reply
        Sue
        September 20, 2018 at 8:27 pm

        Another interesting idea would be to process the sugar with fresh mint leaves and then mold.

  • Reply
    May Ling
    August 30, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    Where do you find these plastic molds? I bought some but they aren’t as pretty as your molds.
    Thank you.

  • Reply
    Rosewater Fudge Brownies - This Is How I Cook
    June 26, 2018 at 12:03 am

    […] DIY Rosewater Sugar Cubes from The View from Great Island […]

  • Reply
    Christine Ashkeboussi
    February 3, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    Hello Sue,
    I so enjoyed your post and look forward to making my own batch of pretty molded sugar cubes. I’ve been checking online and finding lots of hearts and roses but none as unique as yours. Do you remember exactly where you found them or the manufacturer? Any additional information would be helpful. Kind Regards, Christine

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 10, 2018 at 12:45 pm

      Hi Christine ~ I believe I got my mold from the Chocoley site, here: https://www.chocoley.com/molds/ I looked and didn’t see my exact one, but they have lots to choose from!

  • Reply
    Patricia D. Pageau
    August 2, 2017 at 9:47 am

    Thank you so much for your wonderful recipes! As you, High Tea is a great way to have a relaxing and quite delicious afternoon! I was wondering where did you get your jasmine flowers? I will be trying them for sure I have a “Tea Party” soon. Shall take a try at the clodded cream too. Once you have the “Tea” bug you live from one experience to the next, so wonderful to be served!

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 2, 2017 at 10:12 am

      Hi Patricia! Thanks for your kind words, and I have a jasmine vine growing in my yard, so I have an endless supply of flowers!

  • Reply
    Julie Meadows
    June 1, 2017 at 11:16 am

    How far in advance can I make these? Will they freeze well?

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 1, 2017 at 6:26 pm

      These will last basically forever, Julie, no need to freeze.

  • Reply
    Christie
    March 10, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Can this be done with Stevia powder?

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 10, 2017 at 3:19 pm

      I’m not sure, you’d have to experiment, Christie! And let us know :)

  • Reply
    Barbara
    February 8, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    These are so incredibly easy! I adore fancy sugar cubes for afternoon teas but am not that skilled at piping icing onto ready made cubes. These are an effortless option. I have found that 1/2 teaspoon water did not work for me, I had to use a bit more. In fact I grated lemon rind for some and orange rind for others and then squeezed lemon or orange juice in the processor without even measuring it. The texture of wet sand is the key to success. Thanks for the idea, I appreciate being able to make them myself.

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 8, 2017 at 5:35 pm

      You’re so welcome Barbara!

  • Reply
    Melissa
    August 12, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    My boys enjoy a cube or two whenever we’re dining out at a local french restaurant. They are just 6 and 3 but I’d be super mom if I could make them at home for a special treat, esp. if I can find airplane or car molds! Thank you for the awesome post!

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 12, 2016 at 8:32 pm

      You can definitely find those molds, Melissa —https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01EFN551G/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=thvifrthgris-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B01EFN551G&linkId=791dab0a519a160cd5e9c26b32500515

      • Reply
        Carla
        January 25, 2017 at 10:43 pm

        I love the pattern of ur blue and white cup, where do you get it, I purchase a plate with the same pattern in a yard sale. But I will love to buy the set.

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