I’m almost embarrassed to admit this… because ya know I have to be so thrifty and all… but, have you ever considered that it costs about the same amount to buy one small bottle of colored sugar as it does to buy a 2lb bag? Sheesh. I never did.
Never even thought twice about it.
And then I got invited to a cookie decorating party. In Germany. Where you have to bring your own cookies and decorating items. (I guess the host provides the drinks?)
I baked my cookies and then realized I didn’t have anything with which to decorate the fated biscuits. So, as any smart woman does, I googled, “make your own colored sugar.” And sho’ nuff, you can!
Several recipes and numerous variations in technique exist; I happened to pick this one as a starter. And, I say starter because things just never really go the way I think they will.
First, you will need something to put your colored sugar in once it’s done. A ziploc bag will do if you don’t happen to have two boys in your current possession who will be decorating said cookies.
I bought a small set of salt/pepper shakers at the 1 euro store thinking I would just do red and green. But then I realized an advantage to making your own colored sugar is that you can mix the colors to make any combination that tickles your fancy.
Turquoise and Purple. Those two tickle my fancy.
I dug up old spice jars (waiting forever in the corner of my kitchen to be taken down to the recycling bin…), washed and dried them. I filled them 2/3 full of white, granulated sugar and hunted down my gel food coloring tubes.
Just as an FYI: apparently you can also color brown natural sugar. I didn’t have time to try it. If you do, leave a comment and a link so we can see!
Since the original recipe says you should put a few drops of food coloring in a jar with the sugar and shake, I tried that first. Not so good. The color didn’t distribute very much at all. This could be due to the fact that my food coloring is gel, not liquid, or that I didn’t use enough.
Next, I tried putting a few drops of the gel in a medicine cup and diluting a bit with water. This worked okay, but I ended up with a large glob of colored sugar and a large pile of uncolored sugar.
In the end, the best method is to put the sugar in your spice jar so you know the amount you want. Then dump it on a plate or parchment paper. I chose parchment paper in a moment of clarity when I realized I don’t have a funnel to get the sugar back in the jars.
Squirt some food coloring on the sugar pile, and use a fork to mash the color into the sugar. It does take a few minutes to get all the color worked in, but don’t give up. Also, you should know that when mixing two or more colors, it tends to take longer to fork mash.
When finished forcing your sugar to take on its new identity, spread the sugar out on the surface to dry. Leave for 1 or more hours. When dry, break up any clumps, put back in the spice jars, and admire the pretty rainbow of inexpensive colored sugar you just made.