I’ve written several times about my lifelong obsession with sprinkles (such as here and #4 here). I increased my daily intake to almost 8 oz when I was pregnant, somehow avoiding gestational diabetes (and successfully giving my daughter a seriously wicked sweet tooth). I just love them, in every shape and size. But when it comes to purchasing commercially made colored sprinkles, the choices are quite limited.
I recently posted photos of this cake:
I was particularly excited about my new technique for creating embossed criss-cross lines of equal depths and wanted to showcase it, but a lot of the feedback I got was about where I had bought my gold dragées in such a lovely, non-offensive gold.
Whether you call them sprinkles, nonpareils, beads, sugar pearls, or dragées, when you purchase them in gold they’re sort of metallic in a bad way, the way that looks a little toxic, reminds you inexplicably of your dentist, and makes you think eating them would somehow be a little like chewing steel wool. This is NOT the gold we want. The gold we want is warm and soft, and makes you think of kittens, your grandma, and sunset.
So, I color my own. And you can too. It’s quite easy. You’ll need just three things:
A teensy, tiny drop of alcohol (I use grain alcohol because it’s 95% alcohol and evaporates very quickly, but it’s not available in all states.) Do not use too much as you do not want to dissolve the sugar in your sprinkles.
Of course the sizing–all the same or varied?–is completely you. As for brands, I have no particular preference. A few of the brands that I use, seen below, are Surfas, BakeDeco, and Wilton, but there are lots of brands and lots of sizes available.
Sugar pearls and dragées come in bead sizes from about 1mm up to about 12mm or even 14mm. Unfortunately my understanding of the metric system is very limited, so when it comes to millimeter sizes, it’s always kind of a guess for me. This bead chart helps a little.
For this cake, we wanted equal(ish) parts tiny nonpareils, dragées, and sugar pearls.
Place sugar beads to be colored in a small container with a lid or ziplock bag. We used the plastic jar that the sprinkles came in.
Add enough gold luster dust to coat.
Add a drop of alcohol so the gold really sticks.
Shake vigorously until gold is evenly distributed, and you’re done. If you use too much liquid and the sprinkles look clumpy, place some more gold powder in a different container and repeat, this time without adding liquid. You can also simply lay the sprinkles in a thin layer on a piece of parchment until the liquid evaporates.
You’re done! Your sprinkles are now the exact gold you wanted. Yay!