Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Make Your Own Colored Sanding Sugar

I came across the coolest idea the other day! I saw some homemade sprinkles on Pinterest and that led me to another article on making your own sanding sugar. Actually I came across quite a few articles on it - there are a couple different techniques out there. I spent Sunday messing around with the recipe a bit and coming up with a rainbow of colors to keep on hand for decorating.

Making your own colored sanding sugar or sprinkles is a cinch and it's such a cheaper alternative to store bought sprinkles. I don't know about you, but I typically troll the clearance aisle the week after holidays when they discount all the holiday merchandise - it's the only time I can justify to myself buying those adorable colored baking sugars... They're just so damn expensive for what the product really is. You also have control over a freaking unlimited amount of colors and shades when you make your own. The flexibility is so much fun!

If you're especially cognizant of the amount of additives you're putting into yourself and your kids, that'd be another reason to make your own sanding sugar from scratch. You can always pick up vegan coloring from India Tree - a food coloring that according to their website is "made from highly concentrated vegetable colorants. They contain no corn syrup or synthetic dyes". Speaking of children, I don't have any yet, but the entire time I was making this I kept thinking what a fun activity it'd be to do with kids.

All you need is:

Sugar (either granulated or raw)
Food Coloring
Ziploc-type Baggie
Parchment Paper
Baking Pan with sides

What you need to do:

Measure out the amount of sugar you'll be wanting into a bag that seals 

Squeeze out a couple of drops of coloring into the bag and seal. 
*note: I used liquid food coloring, but food coloring paste will work just as well. You'll just need to adjust coloring amounts

Shake bag to distribute coloring evenly. 

*I read about a couple techniques to blend the sugar and coloring (tried initially mixing in a bowl with a fork, but that took foooooooreeeever) - the one that I found worked the absolute best went like this:

Make sure the top is sealed really well, but leave some air in the bag before you seal it. Grab the bag by the top, forcing all the air to the bottom of the bag - and shake that mother like a maniac. If there's any lumps or undistributed color, just massage the bag with your hands until the color is even. This method took about half the time as the others.

If the color turns out too dark for your liking, just add more sugar and mix. If the color is too light, add more food coloring. The more food coloring you use though, be mindful to add additional drying time. 

Place sugar in a parchment paper lined baking sheet with sides. The parchment will make it easier to transfer the sugar to the storage container after drying.

Dry sugar before storing. You can do this one of two ways.

Bake at 175° for 10-15 mins. Remove from oven and let cool completely
Lay in a thin layer and air dry for several hours (could take up to a day depending on amount of food coloring used)

Store your final product in an airtight container in a cool, dry place (that isn't the fridge).

A couple of pointers:

You might want to keep track of the color recipes that your using, just in case you run out in the middle of a project and need more of the same color, or just like a color in particular and want to recreate it at some point. I wrote mine on a small piece of clear tape and stuck it to the top of the individual sugar containers.

Don't fret if you make too much of a color, or have just a teeny bit of a particular color left over. You can always add this sugar to anything where color isn't an perhaps? Food coloring, as you all know, has no taste. 

You can use flavorings such as vanilla, peppermint or cinnamon to spice things up a bit. You'll just want to add to the sugar before you add the food coloring. The moisture from the food coloring will help dry ingredients such as cinnamon adhere to the individual sugar granules.

Hope someone out there finds this information as useful as I did. Or at least someone has a little fun with it...

'til next time...


  1. fun fun fun! My boys will love this idea. Especially for dipping their ice creams in. Could put some space dust in their too for extra fizz!
    fee x
    (nice new background - it's too long since I've been over here!)

  2. This is fantastic! I especially love the tips for drying the sugar. Going to try it tomorrow to use as a finish for large icing letters. Thank you soo much for sharing this method :)

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment!
      I had a lot of fun with this post and hoped it would help someone out :)
      I'd love to hear if it came out for your icing, Bee!

  3. Thank you! I am having trouble finding the color I want at the stores or on line, should they make sugar dye colors to match??? I am mixing the icing, should just mix the sugar as well. You are the best!


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