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It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.
When I was a little kid, I adored sprinkles. I would add them to absolutely every ice cream cone I ordered.
In the past few years, however, I found my love for sprinkles fading away. I blame the cheap bottles I used to buy at supermarkets; instead of the rainbow-colored sugar specks I remember from my childhood, supermarket sprinkles often come in faded primary colors and taste remarkably like nothing at all.
But on my 25th birthday, my friend presented me with a homemade cake covered top to bottom with deep purple, forest green, and sapphire blue sprinkles that didn’t ruin the cake with a plastic flavor. In fact, these beautiful, delicious sprinkles tasted like sugar and vanilla.
Her secret? These sprinkles were homemade. She shared her recipe with me (inherited from her mom, a pastry chef at a local restaurant in Portland), and since then, I haven’t turned back. I make my own sprinkles almost every time I decorate a cake. Not only are sprinkles incredibly easy to make, but you can also choose your own colors and flavors.
Makes around 1 1/2 cups
8 ounces confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 egg white, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or any other extract, such as rose water, orange blossom water, peppermint)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Assorted food coloring
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine confectioner's sugar, egg white, extract, and salt. Mix the ingredients on low speed until a paste forms. The paste should have the consistency of liquid glue. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue mixing until all the confectioner's sugar is fully incorporated.
Divide the paste into as many portions as you have colors, tinting each batch with the color of the choice. Use a rubber spatula to stir the food coloring into the paste until it's an even color.
Transfer the different colored pastes into their own pastry bags, each fitted with a small pastry tip (Wilton's #2 or #3). Pipe out long, thin lines on a cookie or jelly roll pan, ensuring that the lines do not touch each other. Repeat the process with the remaining colors and allow the piped lines to set uncovered in a dry place for 24 hours.
Once the piped lines have dried completely, use a bench scraper or a butter knife to break the piped lines into short, sprinkle-sized pieces. Use immediately, or store in a dry, airtight container for up to 1 month.
Photos by Michelle Lopez