It’s Christmas cookie time again and that means the cookie exchange! However, if you are buying jar after jar of colored sanding sugars to sprinkle on your creations it can get very costly rather quickly.
Working in this business has made me acutely aware of what things REALLY cost. Walking through stores and seeing someone pay $4.50 for a tiny 3 ounce bottle of colored sanding sugar for example… I know that they could make huge bags of it for $4.50.
I have a drawer full of them, I’m not immune to be sucked in by all the pretty colors… but no more!
It’s not that I’m cheap; I prefer to think of it as frugal, but what gets under my skin is paying an exorbitant amount of money for what I’m getting.
It’s all about getting a decent value for your money.
So, with that said: We are going to make our own sanding sugars this year for a fraction of what we would pay at the grocery store.
DIY Sanding Sugars
clear sanding sugar, can be purchased here
gel food coloring (I don’t recommend liquid)
pinch of cornstarch (optional)
wax or parchment paper lined sheet pan
I tend to make it in large batches, so I usually use a bowl and a whisk to get started and then mix with my hands. Unless you are making a few pounds at a time, the zip-top bag would be the way to go…
For a normal batch of cookies or cupcakes, start with 1/2 – 3/4 cup of sugar.
Pour sugar into bag and add 1 drop at a time of gel food coloring.
Mix it around in the bag until color is consistent throughout. If color isn’t dark enough, add another drop and repeat until you reach desired shade.
IF you find your sugar is a bit clumpy or sticky from the food coloring, add a pinch of cornstarch and mix thoroughly. I only do this when I have added quite a bit of color.
The cornstarch helps to keep the sugar from clumping together, but it also makes it less shiny.
Once you have reached your desired color, pour the sugar out onto your lined sheet pan and spread it out into a thin even layer so it can dry out a bit. When sugar is no longer “tacky”, store in airtight jars. It will keep for months!