Saturday, April 14, 2012

DIY with Star: Rose Infused Sugar Cubes/Hearts

I'd like to share with you one of my fun new kitchen purchases: rose water.  I've been drinking a lot of tea lately and have been enjoying a certain rose flavored loose black tea my mother gave me over the holidays.  Unfortunately, I've run out of it and plain black tea lacks the rose flavor I've come to love.  While perusing the Internet recently, I came across a bottle of French food grade rose water.  I purchased it with the intention to add it to my tea.  I've seen recipes for homemade sugar cubes on Pinterest and thought rose flavored sugar cubes would be the perfect addition to my tea.  Alejandra Ramos, author of food blog Always Order Dessert has posted a rose water infused sugar cube recipe which I used as my base.

Photos courtesy of Always Order Dessert

Here is the recipe:

Homemade Flavored Sugar Cubes


1.5 cups granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons flavoring such as rosewater, orange blossom water, or fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons plain water 
1-2 drops food coloring of your choice (I used 3 drops red to get this bright pink color, 2 drops yellow for the yellow, and 2-3 drops each red and blue for the purple)

Pour the sugar into a large bowl. In a separate small cup, combine the rosewater, water, and food coloring. Pour the rosewater mixture into the sugar and mix thoroughly until evenly combined. The texture should feel and look like wet sand with a bit of fluff to it. If the mixture is too wet, add granulated sugar by the tablespoon until the texture is right (this might be the case if you live in a very humid climate). If it's too dry, add a bit more water. 
Pour the sugar onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and use your hands to pack into a flat, compact rectangle. Use a bench scraper or knife to cut the block across in rows and then again in perpendicular rows, creating approximately 1/2 inch cubes. Leave the cubes to dry for about 30 minutes, before separating gently and letting dry an additional 20 minutes. 

To make molded cubes: pack the wet sugar mixture tightly into a small (about 1" to 1.5") cookie cutter on a piece of parchment paper. Gently lift the cutter off and let the sugar dry for 30 minutes before moving onto a drying rack and letting dry on the reverse side. Repeat for each cube until completely dry (about an hour).
When completely dry (you should be able to squeeze a cube gently without it breaking apart, you can serve in a regular sugar bowl, or store in an air-tight container.

My DIY Tutorial

I made the cubes as well as molded hearts and both turned out great and were so fun to make!  Below is my tutorial for the molded hear shaped ones (my method differed slightly from the above).

I started with the ingredients listed above (I mixed red and blue food coloring to get the purple color below).  Once mixed together, it was the consistency of wet sand:

Rather than packing the sugar into the cutter, I pressed it down on a sheet of parchment paper and used the cutter to cut out heart shapes - like you would sugar cookies:

I let them dry for about 30 minutes, then flipped them and let them dry over night.

These little babies were delicious in my tea and added just the right amount of rose flavor.  If you try this recipe with rose water, make sure to start with just a bit as a little goes a long way and the flavor can quickly become overpowering.  Alejandra Ramos, of food Always Order Dessert suggests adding a few to a glass of Champagne or white wine which I think sounds lovely!  I recently made delicious vanilla cupcakes with vanilla butter cream (recipe to come) and topped them with these sugar hearts.  They were a big hit!

Think of the color and flavor combinations you could try!  These cubes or hearts would be so cute at a wedding, shower or just for you for your afternoon tea.  I think I may have to try making these with orange blossom water or lavender syrup next!


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