How to Make Shaped Sugar Cubes

I have made it no secret that I love afternoon tea. There’s something decadent about having three tiers of petite savories and sweets, freshly made Devonshire cream in little pots just waiting to go onto a warm scone, and those little bowls of sugar cubes. I love popping one into my cup and watching it dissolve before adding a touch of cream to a nice cup of Earl Grey.

The frugal girl in me hates the idea of both buying regular white sugar and sugar cubes when it’s all the same thing (right?), and then there’s the lack of organic cane sugar or golden sugar that comes in cube form – at least at my local grocery stores. Which really begs the question: is there a way to DIY it? You bet there is!

Ingredients:

½ cup white granulated sugar (or the sugar of your choice)
1½ to 2 tsp water
Gel food colouring (optional)

You’ll need a bowl and a spoon for mixing, and some kind of silicone mold. A regular ice cube tray has cavities that are much too large. I’d suggest looking at candy molds if your local kitchen supply or big box arts & crafts store carries them (I’ve also had luck finding cute candy molds in some dollar stores). The number of sugar ‘cubes’ you’ll wind up really depend on the size of your molds.

Directions:

Mix the sugar and water (and food colouring) until it clumps together like wet sand.
Press the sugar into the silicone mold.
Set the mold aside to dry overnight or for a day. If the mold has very deep cavities, it will take longer for each cavity to fully dry.
Once dry, you can push the shaped sugar cubes out of each cavity one by one.

If kept in a dry container, these sugar ‘cubes’ should be essentially shelf stable indefinitely (but you probably won’t keep it around for that long). If you are making them for a tea party and you are planning to travel with them, I would recommend nestling them in a paper towel in a small container so they don’t move around as much (less potential for breakage!).

Feel free to colour these sugar shapes for your events! You can easily customize them to be pink for Valentine’s, red & green for the holidays, orange & black for Halloween, and whatever colour you want for a bestie’s bridal shower. As long as you can find it as a food colouring option, it’s a possibility. Custom shaped sugar cubes can be just really darling and really make an even all that more special. Or you can just make your Saturday afternoon tea all that more special for yourself, because why not?

 

Plus Rigina’s Green Tea Milk Spread

Green Tea Milk Spread by Plus Rigina
Green Tea / Flavoured
250g Jar

I received Plus Rigina’s Green Tea Milk Spread as a gift earlier this year because, as rumour has it, I really like tea and people tend to think I want to try tea things (spoiler: the rumour is true).

First Impressions

Green Tea Milk Spread comes in a glass jar, it’s an imported product from Taiwan. I’ve never seen it in a store in the Metropolitan Vancouver area, and a quick Google search turned up nothing for the brand or product so I’m not entirely sure where you can find it (sorry?). But it’s tea related, and I’m a fan of potential bagel spreads, so I did have to give it a try.

The ingredients in Green Tea Milk Spread are full cream milk powder, sunflower oil, sugar, water, green tea powder, and whey protein. After opening and popping the seal on the lid, I found that the spread has a thick consistency. It’s a bit softer than commercially produced peanut butter, perhaps it’s similar to Nutella (chocolate and hazelnut spread, if you’re not familiar). The aroma of the Green Tea Milk Spread is sweet, and has a very mild green tea aroma. This product is shelf-stable prior to opening, and must be refrigerated after opening.

First Taste

After toasting a bagel, I put the Green Tea Milk Spread on it. I’m not generally one for thick layers of smear on my bagels (aside from cream cheese, I do love cream cheese!) and this product doesn’t seem to lend itself well to being spread thickly on anything (again, it reminds me of Nutella). The mild aroma of green tea is pleasant. The taste of the Green Tea Milk Spread is primarily green tea and condensed milk, although it’s not as sweet as condensed milk. I think it could have a stronger dairy flavour to it, and maybe a bit more sweetness (but it reminds me so much condensed milk, so I feel like it should be sweeter). Despite sugar showing up on the ingredients list prior to green tea powder, each teaspoon (1og) contains 3g of sugar, which is interesting (I’m sure if it was condensed milk, it’d be like 9g of sugar per 10g of product…).

My Overall Impression

I liked Plus Rigina’s Green Tea Milk Spread. I think the flavour is pleasant and makes for a nice bagel spread, so it might also pair well with tea biscuits. For me, I feel like it could be sweeter, but I do have a bit of a sweet tooth. If you’re not as in love with sugar and sweets as I am, you might be really happy with the level of sweetness in the Green Tea Milk Spread. Either way, it’s a nice bagel spread and it does become more liquid-y when heated, so it might be a nice drizzle over some vanilla ice cream as well (because, yum).

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.

DavidsTea’s Sunny C

Sunny C by DavidsTea
Fruit Infusion / Flavoured
$8.98 for 50g

First Impressions

I picked up a little pouch of Sunny C at one of my local DavidsTea retail locations (yes, I am still very much aware of how lucky I am to have several locations within driving distance to me!). I first smelled this one in store and was intrigued because the aroma of Sunny C reminds me of Tang. If you’re not familiar with Tang, it’s an orange drink mix that smells sweet and chock full of artificial orange flavouring and colour. Sunny C is marketed as an “immune booster bursting with orange, carrot & a sunny dose of Vitamin C”.

If you’re not into drinking your vitamins, vitamin C is also found in many foods – including citrus fruit, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and strawberries. Vitamin C is also important in preventing scurvy and lengthening the duration of the common cold – although there isn’t a lot of evidence to support vitamin C in preventing the common cold. Either way, vitamin C is important.

There are some huge dried fruit pieces in this fruit infusion blend that DavidsTea has put together. Sunny C consists of: apple, carrots, pineapple, orange, hibiscus, lemon peel, pink peppercorns, safflowers, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and natural flavouring. For something that smells incredibly like Tang, which is the most fake-smelling orange drink  item that I can think of, I’m surprised that orange is the fourth ingredient in the blend and not somewhere higher up.

Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping Sunny C in 95°C (200°F) water for 5+ minutes. My initial steep of Sunny C was for 7 minutes.

First Taste

Sunny C steeps to a dark reddish pink – a colour that I primarily attribute to the presence of hibiscus flowers and possibly also the safflowers as well. It still smells like Tang, but not as sweet as the dry leaf smells like. The flavour is surprisingly not as sweet as I expected it to be – and doesn’t taste as artificial as I remember Tang to be. Sunny C has a nice citrus flavour, which a pleasant acidic mouthpucker that I am attributing to all the acidic ingredients in the blend. It is a very pleasant fruity infusion that is very pleasant hot – I think it would also make for a nice iced tea as well, given the blend of ingredients, but it’s November and I really don’t want to make iced tea right now.

A Second Cup?

I attempted to resteep Sunny C once, but honestly the flavour was just not there and I would recommend only having one steep with this fruit infusion.

My Overall Impression

I liked DavidsTea’s Sunny C. For a fruity blend, it has a pleasant flavour and smells like a drink that I drank far too often when I was at my neighbour’s house after school when I was waiting for my parents to get home. If your main purpose in drinking it is consume some vitamin C, it isn’t that bad – as per the DavidsTea product page for Sunny C, this fruit infusion contains 15% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C per cup. That said, there are less expensive ways to get in your daily vitamin C (for instance, an average orange can contain approximately 88% of your daily recommended vitamin C intake), but it is fairly tasty.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.