Colored sugar cubes are a whimsical accent for a tea party, baby or bridal shower -- or just put a smile on your face as you make your morning tea. Choose from two approaches to this task:
- Dyeing granulated sugar and forming it into cubes
- Dyeing store-bought sugar cubes.
Both methods call only for white sugar and liquid food coloring, and the results are fully edible with no change in flavor.
Dyeing dampened granulated sugar with food coloring and forming it into cube shapes takes a little time but not a lot of effort. Start with white sugar for the brightest color results. You can make as many different colors as you wish at one time by using separate bowls of sugar.
Measure white granulated sugar into a bowl. Use a separate bowl for every different color of sugar cubes you wish to make.
The volume of granulated sugar you start with should be the same as the volume of sugar cubes you want to create. So, if you're aiming for about 1 cup full of sugar cubes, start with 1 cup of granulated sugar.
Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of water per cup of sugar into the bowl.
Sprinkle a few drops of food coloring into the bowl.
Thoroughly mix the water and food coloring into the sugar with a fork until the color is even throughout. The sugar should also be damp -- if it's still dry in parts, add a little more water, and mix again.
Assess the color results. If you want a bolder color, add more drops of food coloring. For a lighter color, add a little more sugar.
Thoroughly mix the sugar again, and repeat the process until you are happy with the results.
Line a cookie sheet or square cake pan with wax paper.
Pack the sugar firmly into the pan, pressing it up against the edges and smoothing the top with a knife or spatula.
Cut the packed sugar into cube shapes with a sharp knife while it is still damp. Score lines horizontally, then vertically across the top of the sugar. For perfect cube shapes, use a ruler as a guide. Then slice cleanly through the sugar along the scored lines.
Leave the sugar in the pan for about 30 minutes, then carefully transfer the sugar cubes to a wire rack. Let the cubes continue to dry for at least another hour.
Dyeing store-bought sugar cubes is an alternative to creating your own from dyed sugar. There are two ways to do this. With either method, be careful not to let the cubes get too wet or they might dissolve and lose their shape.
- Mix water and food coloring in a shallow dish. Dampen a pastry brush with the liquid and brush the mixture, a small amount at a time, over the sides of the sugar cubes. Let the cubes dry out and repeat the process until you're happy with the results.
- Mix water and food coloring in a spray bottle with a fine mist nozzle. Lightly spritz the sugar cubes, coating all sides with the colored water. Let the cubes dry and repeat until you get the final color you desire.
Pastel colors are fitting for a girls' tea party or a baby shower. Make sugar cubes matching the wedding colors for a bridal shower. Also consider holiday theme colors -- think black and orange for Halloween, red and green for Christmas, or red and blue, plus white, for an Independence Day celebration.
Serve colored sugar cubes with unsweetened lemonade or iced tea as well as hot tea and coffee. You could also crumble colored cubes over oatmeal, fresh fruit and plain yogurt.
For flavored and fragrant colored sugar cubes, add a little rosewater, vanilla or almond extract, lemon juice or other fruit juices to the sugar instead of water.