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How to Make Colored Sugar

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How to Make Colored Sugar

Colored sugar can be used to decorate cookies, cakes and candies; it can be used to rim cocktail glasses; and it can even be used to make cotton candy, but have you seen what it sells for? It’s highway robbery. One popular baking supply company sells their colored sugar for $2.08 an ounce. To put that into perspective, that’s like paying $166.40 for a 5-pound bag of sugar!

With a price tag like that, you’d think colored sugar is hard to make, but it actually only requires two ingredients and a few minutes to make a batch.

Learn how to make your own colored sugar at home, and you can make any color you want, in any quantity you want.

This is a fun project to do with kids, and it makes a great gift for bakers and mixologists.

Let’s make a batch!

Jars of Homemade Colored Sugar

How to Make Colored Sugar

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sugar (granulated, sanding, coarse, etc.)
  • Food coloring

What Type of Sugar and Food Coloring to Use

Traditionally, colored sugar is made with either sanding sugar or coarse sugar, but it can be made with any type of sugar. Use castor sugar or granulated sugar, if you want something fine. Use sanding sugar or coarse sugar, if you want something with more texture.

I usually use liquid food coloring to color my sugar because I always have it in my pantry, and because it’s fairly easy to mix into the sugar. You can use gel food coloring, but it takes a bit more effort to get the color mixed in. Powdered food coloring is by far the easiest to mix in. If you’re buying food coloring specifically for this recipe, you may want to give it a shot; otherwise, I’d just use whatever you have on hand.

What You Do:

Add Food Coloring to Sugar

Measure sugar into a plastic zipper bag. Add a few drops of food coloring. Then, seal the bag.

Pink Colored Sugar in a Bag

Knead the bag, until the food coloring is evenly distributed throughout the sugar.

Red Colored Sugar in a Bag

Continue adding food coloring and kneading the bag, until you’re happy with the color.

Trays of Homemade Colored Sugar

Spread your colored sugar out on a piece of wax paper, parchment paper or a baking sheet. Break up any clumps. Then, allow it to air-dry for 15-20 minutes (longer, if it’s humid or rainy).

Homemade Colored Sugar

Use your colored sugar right away, or store it in an air-tight container, until you’re ready to use it. Colored sugar has a really long shelf life. Just make sure it’s dry, before you store it, and it’ll keep just as long as uncolored sugar.

Tips for Making Colored Sugar:

  • Make your colored sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Small batches make it faster and easier to mix the food coloring in.
  • If you end up with a darker color than you want, just add more sugar to lighten it up.
  • Use your fingers to break up any clumps in your finished sugar, or run it through a sifter or sieve, to restore it to it’s original consistency.
  • Add a couple drops of flavoring extract, to flavor your colored sugars.

How to Use Colored Sugar

  • Sprinkle colored sugar on cookies and cakes, before they go in the oven
  • Add a dusting of colored sugar over frosted cookies and cakes
  • Shake colored sugar over cake pops, truffles and other homemade chocolates, before they harden
  • Use colored sugar to embellish the rim of cocktails

How to Make Colored Sugar Stick to Cookies and Cakes

To get colored sugar to stick to cookies and cakes, sprinkle it on before you bake them. Rolling your cookies in colored sugar works especially well. It helps to embed the sugar in the dough. If you prefer to decorate your sweets after baking, allow your cake or cookies to cool completely. Then, ice them, and sprinkle your colored sugar over the icing, while it’s still fresh. The sugar won’t stick very well, if you wait until after the icing has hardened.

How to Make Colored Sugar With Gel Food Coloring

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, you can use any type of food coloring to make colored sugar, including gel food coloring. It doesn’t mix in quite as easily as liquid food coloring, but it’s well worth the extra effort. Gel food coloring is highly concentrated, so it only takes a couple drops to achieve deep, vibrant colors. Just keep kneading the bag, until the sugar is consistently colored and free of clumps.

Things You Can Make With Colored Sugar

Lavender Sugar

How to Make Lavender Sugar
Make lavender colored sugar; then, use it to make this lavender sugar. It’s flavored with dried culinary lavender.

How to Make Vanilla Sugar

How to Make Vanilla Sugar
Then, make a batch of this vanilla sugar …

How to Make Sugar Scrub Cubes

How to Make Sugar Scrub Cubes
and a batch of these sugar scrub cubes.

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How to Make Colored Sugar

How to Make Colored Sugar

Here’s how to make your own colored sugar to decorate cookies, cakes and candies, rim cocktail glasses and more.

  • Total Time: 2 minutes
  • Yield: 1/2 cup 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/2 cup sugar (granulated, sanding, coarse, etc.)
  • Food coloring

Instructions

Measure sugar into a plastic zipper bag. Add a few drops of food coloring.

Seal tightly. Then, knead the bag, to mix the food coloring into the sugar.

Continue adding food coloring, a few drops at a time, until you reach the desired color.

Spread colored sugar out on waxed paper, parchment or a baking sheet. Allow it to dry for 15-20 minutes.

Use immediately, or store in an air-tight container.

Notes

  • Colored sugar is typically made with sanding sugar, or coarse sugar, but you can use any sugar.
  • Add a couple drops of flavoring extract to flavor your colored sugar.
  • If you overdo the color, just add more sugar to lighten it.
  • Have clumps in your finished sugar? Break them up with your fingers, or run the sugar through a sifter or sieve.

Keywords: how to make colored sugar

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