This is one of those projects you might just want to keep to yourself. At the very least you’ll probably get a quite a few quizzical looks, and some of your friends will actually wonder if all your cylinders are firing.
The credit for this idea goes to Brave Tart. It’s the kind of idea that ignites some people’s imaginations and leaves others dead cold.
This is an easy (if a teeny bit tedious) project. The hardest part is deciding on your colors, and with gel food coloring, you have lots and lots of options. I was envisioning slightly more brilliant shades than I was actually able to achieve. It takes a little practice to control the results, but I had fun along the way.
I’ve simplified the project a little bit to make it easier to take on if, like most of us, you’re not a seasoned pastry chef. I think it would be a great kid-friendly activity if you have any little sprinkle fiends in your life.
I’ve rarely ever had a pastry bag in my hands. I do a lot of cooking, but I’m happy to leave the detailed frosting work to the experts. So I had to go out and buy the supplies for this project, but I’m actually glad I did because you never know when the urge to make sprinkles is going to hit. Now that I’ve mastered the basic rainbow sprinkle I may have to attempt the gourmet flavored sprinkle!
This is a 2 day project. Day 1 will be a little messy, and you won’t have much to show for your efforts except for lots of waxed paper lying around covered with weird colored stripes and an aching arm from all the beating and piping.
But the next morning things will be different. You can line up your weird little stripes of color and start chopping them into wonderful sprinkles. Keep the colors separate or mix them all together. Bag them up and give them away, save them for a special occasion, or sprinkle some right on your morning yogurt.
- several piping bags
- #3 plain piping tip(s) (this is a very common tip)
- couplers and collars for the pastry bags
- confectioner's sugar
- powdered egg whites (I used Just Whites, in the baking aisle)
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- gel food coloring (the liquid kind won't work well)
- waxed paper or parchment paper
- You will use about 1 cup of confectioner's sugar for each color sprinkle you want to make. You can prepare each color separately or make them all at once if you have multiple bags etc. I did one at a time.
- Sift 1 cup sugar into a small bowl. Sifting is important to avoid lumps that can clog your tip later.
- In a separate little glass, mix 1 tsp of the dried egg whites with 1 Tbsp warm water. Whisk until the egg whites are completely dissolved. Add to the sugar along with the vanilla and mix it together. Add a little bit more warm water until you get a thick but pipeable consistency. It should not be stiff, but it should not be too thin. Keep mixing until it is completely smooth.
- Add in your gel food coloring. Start with a little for pastel colors, more for intense colors. The colors will dry slightly lighter than they look when wet. Mix the color in completely, no streaks.
- Spoon the frosting into a piping bag and twist the bag to force the frosting toward the tip.
- Pipe out long lines of frosting onto the waxed paper. Don't let the individual lines touch each other. Keep your tip slightly above the paper as you glide down and pipe your line. Don't worry about keeping the line straight, it doesn't matter, but try to keep an even pressure on the bag. If the tip clogs, use a toothpick to clear it, or remove it and wash it out.
- Do this for all the colors and then let them air dry overnight. Don't try to move the waxed paper, leave them as is.
- The next day when your piped frosting lines are completely dry, cut them into little pieces. The frosting will be very brittle, just nudge the lines together, lining them up as if you were cutting chives, and slice them in small pieces. Don't worry about being too precise.
Sprinkles are one of those simple joys I don’t think we ever outgrow.