One the greatest things to have as a treat when you are making tea or other drinks is flavored sugar. I have actually purchased flavored sugar but even back before I started to understand chemicals in our food I was disappointed by the lack of natural flavors and how just plain awful those sugars were.
Making your own flavored sugar is so simple that it makes me wonder why anyone would ever buy it. It does take time, depending on your method.
Sugar is a great platform because it has no actual flavor and absorbs flavors easily.
There are technically two methods I use – dry and wet. With the wet you have two options – alcohol or oil based flavoring.
So let’s actually get to it. What you need is sugar, flavoring and a container. The dry method works best in a jar that has a lid so you can shake it while wet needs a more open surface to dry out before being “jarred”.
Our favorite is vanilla sugar – just two split vanilla beans in a quart sized canning jar and then fill with sugar. Every now and again we shake the sugar. Now I will warn you, even with the dry method the sugar can get lumpy and a little weird. We just poke at it with a chopstick until all the lumps are out. So far we’ve not had much of a problem. We, also, use the sugar fairly slowing.
Other dry ingredients – cocoa, cinnamon, mint, any dried herb, dried citrus peels, dried flowers (lavender is popular).
Now for the wet method – we pour a cup of sugar in a wide bowl with not a terribly high lip (about an inch tall) or you can use a cake pan. You want a lot of surface area to dry out your sugar. Then drip on your choice of flavoring agent. These can range from extracts (which are usually alcohol based) to alcohol to candy flavorings (which are usually oil based). The wet method offers more flavor options and a stronger flavor where the dry method gives more of a hint of a flavor depending on ingredients used.
Once you’ve added your flavoring agent, you need to stir and then let the sugar sit for 12-24 hours to dry out before pouring into a jar. This sugar needs to be used fast or it will turn into a rock. The benefit of a wet method is that you can use it right after you make it so long as you don’t seal up the container. You, also, have more control of the concentration of the flavor.
I believe you could use fruit juice to flavor your sugar but I wouldn’t trust it to not spoil. However, that is easily prevented by keeping the jar in the freezer.
See, I told you it was simple. As I’m writing this, I’m thinking that maybe it’s time to learn how to flavor honey. I’m thinking a nice chocolate honey would be amazing on homemade sweet bread or a cinnamon honey on cornbread. Thankfully, we are well stocked in our house because tonight it’s a honey night.