DIY Sugar Cubes

There’s nothing that makes my porcelain heart swoon more than the sight of proper sugar cubes in a proper sugar bowl during tea service! And while they might feel like an extravagance, I’m here to let you in on a little secret: You can make your own sugar cubes for a fraction of the cost of what you’ll find them for at the market!

Make your own sugar cubes

What you’ll need:

Sugar (White granules or brown sugar are best)
Water
Bread loaf pan
Parchment paper (not wax paper!)
Small mixing bowl
Fork
Flat surfaced utensil, such as a spatula

Measure 1 cup sugar into the mixing bowl. Add 3 teaspoons of water. Mix thoroughly with a fork. Line the bread loaf pan with parchment paper. Pour sugar mixture into pan and press firmly and evenly into the pan with the spatula. Once pressed flat, score the sugar into cubes using a knife. This will allow you to cut the final cubes more neatly and evenly.

Put into oven that is pre-heated to 250 F and bake for 1 hour.

Allow the sugar to cool for at least 10 minutes.

Remove the sugar from the pan and use a large knife to finish cutting the sugar into cubes using the scored lines as your guide. The resulting cubes can be stored in an airtight container for a year or more!

When it’s time for tea, fill your sugar bowl with some of your hand crafted sugar cubes, bring out the sugar tongs, and you’re ready for an elegant tea experience.

The only question now is, “One lump or two?”

On the Subject of Sugar

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been subjected to it. And these days, Kat tells me it happens more and more often.

One goes to afternoon tea, is asked if one would care for milk and sugar, and when the sugar is requested, it arrives in the form of granules, or (horror of horrors) individual packets!

I know that times do and must change, and I realize that the “kids these days” like to forego the formal and embrace the casual. But there are some things that are institutions and must be preserved. Just as Theodore Roosevelt saw the importance of setting aside large tracts¬†of nature and established the National Park System, I see the importance of elegance, culture, and basic weights and measures that the sugar cube embodies!

sugar cubes

The phrase is, “one lump or two,” not “one shovel-full or two,” or (heaven forbid,) “one packet or two!” It spins my saucer when such a basic ingredient of afternoon tea is so lightly dismissed.

Now, let me be clear. If a lovely soul hosted an afternoon tea for some loved ones, and all that was on hand was the canister of the kitchen staple known as granulated sugar, I wouldn’t criticize, I wouldn’t care. It’s the people who gather together who are important here.¬†Char was insistent on that point.

What I can’t abide is an establishment that claims afternoon tea as a specialty, and sells it as a service and then has the gall to forego the bowl of sugar cubes (with dainty little tongs, mind you) for a rainbow assortment of sweetener packets! The mind reels.

How I adore the French obsession with their individually wrapped sugar cubes. The cube has been so elevated, so revered, that each one is lovingly placed in its own paper parcel.

Tea is meant to be enjoyed, savored. Don’t treat it as casually as a child dumping mounds of sugar on his morning puffed rice whilst watching Saturday morning cartoons (if they still exist!). Dress your tea as you dress yourself for a noteworthy occasion. If sugar is the adornment of choice, pick up the dainty, silver tongs, lift the porcelain lid from the sugar bowl, select the lump of sugar that will complete your tea to perfection.

Make it count. Choose the cube.