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?

 

Outdoor Summer Tea Party

If you follow me on Instagram (@onemoresteep), you might have already heard about or seen photos from my outdoor summer tea party last week! If you missed it, or you’re interested in learning more about what went into the tea party, continue reading!

I started planning this back in May when I first stumbled across the teal and pink flamingo paper plates and napkins at a local dollar store – which is really when the whole idea started rolling. I also picked up an extra pitcher (for lemonade), the pink table cloth, and a green serving platter at my local dollar store as well.

There were eight people total (and two dogs!), and it was held at a local park that had covered picnic tables. It was actually a pretty awesome day, weather-wise. There was some overcast in the morning and it led to the entire day being a lot cooler than it had been in previous days.

Everyone got a pineapple or a cactus glass drinking cup at their seat – and this was also something that they got to take home as well. This turned out to be a huge hit. I got both the pineapple glasses and the cactus glasses from Stokes.

Food items that I brought included: ham, cheese & lettuce sandwiches, turkey & cranberry pinwheels (wraps that are sliced), egg salad croissants (inspired by Little White House), cheese rice crackers. Food items that my guests had brought: fruit salad (so many blueberries!), cupcakes, chocolate covered cream puffs (!), and brownies.

Of course, there was tea! I cold-steeped two fruit infusions from DavidsTea – Just Peachy and Strawberry Lemonade. I also made a pitcher of ‘regular’ lemonade using organic lemons and agave syrup.

Each guest was sent home with a little goodie bag consisting of honey sticks (from the Honeybee Centre), strawberry Pocky, guava candy, and little tins of tea (assorted varieties). The goodie bags for the kiddo attendees also included a sheet of tea-themed stickers.

As it was kid-friendly, I kept the food simple and nothing too out-of-the-ordinary, and I think it worked out pretty well. Especially since they weren’t kids I’m often around, I don’t know how adventurous they are with food. That said, the iced tea choices were hit between kids and adults alike, and pretty much all of the food was gone by the end of it so I would call that a success!

Tea Experience: Bay Moorings

Bay Moorings Restaurant
Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver
High Tea $35 each

Bay Moorings Restaurant is located in Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver. For those who’ve ever gotten onto the ferry at that location, Bay Moorings Restaurant is literally across the street from the ferry terminal – so if you’re a foot passenger, it’s a stop you could make before getting on with your adventures. The views from their patio are amazing – you get the water with the marina, and then you can see the picturesque BC mountains.

Honestly, the view is gorgeous.

The High Tea at Bay Moorings features tea from Mighty Leaf. I picked the Organic Spring Jasmine (green tea) while my sister opted for the Organic African Nectar (rooibos). We received our teas in cute personal-sized teapots, the teas themselves were in tea bag form. Organic Spring Jasmine has a lovely jasmine aroma to it. This green tea steeped to a pleasant golden orange colour and had a great floral flavour to it. I did have my teapot refilled once, and the flavour was still quite strong, which made the tea enjoyable.

The food came in two tiers with the desserts on top and savouries on the bottom. For the savouries, there were four items each. There was a ham & cheese sandwich, a smoked salmon wrap, a pate and caviar open-face sandwich, and a ginger duck confit. I found the ham & cheese cheese sandwich and pate & caviar sandwich to be a little bit lackluster with nothing to exciting about each of them. The smoked salmon wrap itself wasn’t very picture-worthy, but the flavour was delicious. It had a lot of sauce and dill inside of the wrap though, and I think it might have been better with a bit less sauce inside of the wrap. The winner was the duck confit, followed by the smoked salmon wrap. The duck confit had a lovely ginger flavour, the fat was rendered beautifully, and the meat was moist and well-cooked.

Duck confit.

The desserts featured French macaron, tiramisu, panna cotta, and a slice of coconut cream cake. We each received a different flavour macaron – I ate the green pistachio one while my sister had the lemon. The macaron was nicely made with the crisp outer cookie shell. I’m not a fan of coffee, but the tiramisu had a great custard layer and the cake layer did taste a lot like coffee (unfortunately for me). The panna cotta was delicious – I’ve made panna cotta before so I know it can be a bit of pain to keep the smooth texture, this one was delicious and I would definitely have it again. Lastly, the coconut cream cake had a great cream between the layers. I found the cake itself to be on the dry side (or maybe it’s just me thinking that there should just be a lot more cream!). I’m generally a fan of cakes that have more cream/frosting/icing on it, so that might be where I’m coming from. My favourite desserts were definitely the macaron and the panna cotta.

Above: tiramisu. Below: panna cotta.

For those who aren’t in West Vancouver, Bay Moorings might be a bit of a drive. Luckily it was mostly highway driving for me to get there, and traffic wasn’t too bad when I was going to and from Horseshoe Bay. It was a beautiful day that my sister and I opted to go to Bay Moorings to check out their high tea. Good tea with good views. I’d go back for the smoked salmon wrap, duck confit, and that panna cotta.

Coconut cream cake.