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Sunday, January 30, 2011

How to make sugar cubes or shapes

My darling daughter prefers her coffee with brown sugar. She's also as I've said before, a bit of an Anglophile. Which means occasionally at least, she likes lumps of sugar instead of spoonfuls. Brown sugar cubes are awfully expensive.
So this weekend, we made a batch of sugar shapes for her.

Because the mold we used was fairly detailed, it's a bit hard to see what they are supposed to be. Here's a picture I messed with the contrast a bit and greyscaled. Hopefully it shows a little better. The contrast adjustment made it a bit grainy, but it is a bit clearer.
Because the only thing cooler than brown sugar cubes for my daughter is brown sugar daleks and TARDIS. 
You will need:
Brown sugar- we used an organic brown sugar that she really likes
an ice cube tray or small candy molds*
parchment paper lined cookie sheet
a place they can dry out safely

Wash your hands well. You could do this with silicone spatulas but it's a lot easier to do it by hand.
Put a cup of brown sugar into a bowl, and add a half teaspoon full of water. Mix it in well so that it's all just a bit moister than usual. Squeeze a handful and see if it sticks together. If it does, it's ready. If it's not, add in water just a sprinkle at a time until it does stick when you form it with your hands.
Pack your mold well, only 2 or 3 cavities at a time. Turn it out on the parchment paper. Continue until all the sugar is used. If you want to make more than that, do it the same way. If one breaks when you're popping it out of the mold, pick up the sugar the best you can and put it back into your bowl to use again.
After you get as many as you like made, put it some place safe and draft and humidity free to dry. The ones above we let dry for 5 hours. After they were dry, we put them in a tightly sealed container.
I couldn't find my paste coloring, but I think it would be fun to do a bunch of Go Go Dalek Rangers in the right colors!
The same technique works with other sugars, and the less detail there is in the mold, the better. The Cybermen in our ice cube tray had too much subtle detail to work well at all. Raw sugars or white sugars will need a little more water than brown sugar because brown sugar is so moist to begin with.
Hearts would be lovely for Valentine's Day, little roses would be sweet for a princess tea party.

*If you want cubes, I recommend using a mini ice cube tray. Otherwise, use your favorite small candy molds. The tray I used is a Doctor Who ice tray that we were given by a close friend who blames The Turnip for her Doctor Who and Torchwood addiction.

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