I would like to start by saying thank you. I was nervous about my first post, but you guys gave it an overwhelmingly positive response. For that, I thank you. And because of that overwhelmingly positive response, I wrote up a tutorial to answer the most asked question – how I color my nonpareils!
Valentine’s Day is behind us (insert deep sigh of relief) . . . Now scrape that blob of dried, red royal icing off your counter, and let's get ready for St. Patrick’s Day! I see this as an excellent opportunity to embellish some cookies with colored nonpareils!
Disclaimer on my technique for coloring nonpareils: This is by no means an original idea. I have no idea who came up with it, but I’d like to shake his or her hand.
What you'll need:
- White nonpareils (or un-coated white dragÉes, any size)
- Gel colors
- Resealable plastic baggie
- Parchment paper-covered baking sheet/plate
Start by adding the white nonpareils to a resealable baggie. Then add the coloring. Really all you need is a SMALL drop. More can be added, but too much and you’ll have clumpy nonpareils. And then what are you going to do with clumpy nonpareils?? If you are only coloring a small amount of nonpareils or if you are an overly cautious person, a toothpick can also be utilized to add the coloring.
Let some of that air out of the baggie and zip it up. “Smoosh”* the coloring around with the nonpareils. Make sure that all of your nonpareils get coated. If you have achieved your desired color, move onto the next step. If not, repeat the above steps.
*“Smoosh” is a technical term meaning "mix together".
Carefully spread the nonpareils onto the parchment paper. You will want to flatten them out so that they will dry evenly and fully. Use a utensil or your finger . . . The nurse in me wants you to use a utensil, but the mom in me says "Who's got time? Flatten with your finger!" Use your best judgment on that one.
You can see my little setup below. Is it pretty? No. Functional? Yes!! The parchment paper serves two purposes. It helps the nonpareils to dry without sticking and, once they're dry, you can use the paper to pour the nonpareils into their designated storage container.
How long will these take to dry? Good question! About an hour. Unless you really dumped the color in . . . then it’ll take longer.
Some exciting variations of this whole baggie process for you!
Sanding sugar! Dump some white sanding sugar and gel color into a baggie - and voilà! Colored sanding sugar! I did find that the sanding sugar was dry and ready for use immediately. But not if oversaturated with coloring . . . Are you sensing a trend here??
And it gets even better. WHAT?! Oh yes!
You can also replace the gel coloring with luster dust and a DROP of clear extract or vodka to color both nonpareils and sanding sugar. Perfect for when you want that metallic color!
So to wrap it up, your color choices for nonpareils are unlimited now. I want to see them. Show me texture and depth in your cookies!! Embellish! And, as always, have fun with it!
Please let me know what you’d like me to write about next time. You can leave your question in the comments area below or send me an email! Thanks for reading!
Cookie photo credits: Kari Arroyo
Kari Arroyo started decorating cookies in 2011 after deciding to take a break from nursing, and learned the ways of royal icing by reading tutorials and LOTS of trial and error. When she’s not decorating cookies, you can find her chasing after two busy boys! Check her out on Facebook or her site, and email her your cookie questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credit: Kari Arroyo
Note: Dear Yankee Girl is a regular Cookie Connection blog feature, written by Kari Arroyo, which allows you to get all your critical cookie technique questions answered, Dear Abby-style! Its content expresses the views of the author and not necessarily those of this site, its owners, its administrators, or its employees. To catch up on all of Kari's past posts, click here.