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Hi,

I tried my hand at decorating some sugar cookies. I was working on getting Halloween colors and unfortunately could not get the any color icing to look like how I planned for it to look

Here are the challenges I faced:

Black colour icing- This seemed unattainable inspite of adding multiple drops of liqua gel food color, tried gel food color too on another batch. Both batches looked dark grey at the best and not black.

Similarly had problem with purple too, no matter how many color droplets I used, it turned out lavender at best and not original purple.

Could any of you share tactics on how to color royal icing to attain deep dark colors? Such as black, dark blue, brown, purple,red,etc.?

Reference color chart:

I was trying to get pumpkin color (and not orange or yellow) Found multiple color charts online, tried some, with no success.

I wanted to understand how to mix colors to get desired colors, such as pink+blue makes purple? or what colors to mix to get pumpkin color.

If any of you have any reference color charts that will work for coloring royal icing too, it will be of great help if you could share it with me.

Thank you. 

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For black add some red or purple.  I donโ€™t know what brand you are using, but most need time to develop the color.  Try making your colors and letting the icing sit for a couple of hours to let it darken.  The queen of food coloring is Lila loa.  She has a great book where she talks about how to make colors (and other things).  She also has a blog.  Good luck!

The brand and type of food coloring matter a lot. Wilton doesn't color very intensely; but both AmeriColor and Chefmaster do. Also, you want to use a concentrated gel or soft (or liqua) gel coloring, not a liquid coloring. Depending on the intensity/saturation you want and how much icing you're trying to tint, you may need more than a few "drops" of coloring, however - more like several healthy squirts for very saturated colors. Also, as Econlady said, the colors (black, red, and purple, especially) will get more saturated as they sit and as they dry. So if you use a color that looks dark gray in the bowl, it may end up drying closer to black. You can always test what the end color will look like off the cookie - by painting a dab on white cardboard and speed-drying it for 30 minutes or so. This approach will give you a better indication of color without having to waste cookies in the process.

Also, adding brown to bright orange will make a more pumpkin color. Basic color wheel/chart/mixing theory applies to icing colors as well.

Hi, I have similar problems getting rich deep colors, especially black and reddish/purple (without making it look grey).  I have found that adding cocoa powder with back liquid gel makes a great, deep black.  Added benefit that it tastes chocolate, if you don't mind that.  I found this achieves a black with much less liquid gel.  Still working on the purple, maybe I'll try the cocoa in that as well!?  Good luck!  

@Econlady posted:

For black add some red or purple.  I donโ€™t know what brand you are using, but most need time to develop the color.  Try making your colors and letting the icing sit for a couple of hours to let it darken.  The queen of food coloring is Lila loa.  She has a great book where she talks about how to make colors (and other things).  She also has a blog.  Good luck!

@Econlady Thank you for the tips.

I will also check out Lila Loa's blog

The brand and type of food coloring matter a lot. Wilton doesn't color very intensely; but both AmeriColor and Chefmaster do. Also, you want to use a concentrated gel or soft (or liqua) gel coloring, not a liquid coloring. Depending on the intensity/saturation you want and how much icing you're trying to tint, you may need more than a few "drops" of coloring, however - more like several healthy squirts for very saturated colors. Also, as Econlady said, the colors (black, red, and purple, especially) will get more saturated as they sit and as they dry. So if you use a color that looks dark gray in the bowl, it may end up drying closer to black. You can always test what the end color will look like off the cookie - by painting a dab on white cardboard and speed-drying it for 30 minutes or so. This approach will give you a better indication of color without having to waste cookies in the process.

Also, adding brown to bright orange will make a more pumpkin color. Basic color wheel/chart/mixing theory applies to icing colors as well.

@Julia M. Usher Thank you for your insight. I tried with Wilton Gel food colors and also tried with Chefmaster Liqua Gel. Like you correctly mentioned, the results were definitely better with Chefmaster. Maybe that's why Chefmaster is also more expensive, because it is more potent?

I will let the colors sit going forward. Trying on a cardboard is a good idea,I am going to try that. 

Thanks again!

@Julia M. Usher Thank you for your insight. I tried with Wilton Gel food colors and also tried with Chefmaster Liqua Gel. Like you correctly mentioned, the results were definitely better with Chefmaster. Maybe that's why Chefmaster is also more expensive, because it is more potent?

I will let the colors sit going forward. Trying on a cardboard is a good idea,I am going to try that. 

Thanks again!

Not sure it's that much more expensive - I haven't compared them on a per ounce basis. Did you? Anyway, you'll end up using way more Wilton to achieve the same saturation, so you may end up spending more with it because you'd have to buy more coloring over time.

@Shea posted:

Hi, I have similar problems getting rich deep colors, especially black and reddish/purple (without making it look grey).  I have found that adding cocoa powder with back liquid gel makes a great, deep black.  Added benefit that it tastes chocolate, if you don't mind that.  I found this achieves a black with much less liquid gel.  Still working on the purple, maybe I'll try the cocoa in that as well!?  Good luck!  

@Shea Thank you for that hack! Will try it out. I would love the chocolate taste too  

The only thing I am wondering is, will the addition of cocoa powder not impact the consistency of Royal Icing? Also, will it delay/ impact Royal icing drying and will it impact how its consistency is when it sets- like will it be more crumbly after it sets? Could you share your experience please?

Also, if you find your hack with Purple or other deep colours, could you maybe let me know or maybe write a post so that everyone will know?

@Shea Thank you for that hack! Will try it out. I would love the chocolate taste too  

The only thing I am wondering is, will the addition of cocoa powder not impact the consistency of Royal Icing? Also, will it delay/ impact Royal icing drying and will it impact how its consistency is when it sets- like will it be more crumbly after it sets? Could you share your experience please?

Also, if you find your hack with Purple or other deep colours, could you maybe let me know or maybe write a post so that everyone will know?

adding Cocoa will make the icing softer.

Not sure it's that much more expensive - I haven't compared them on a per ounce basis. Did you? Anyway, you'll end up using way more Wilton to achieve the same saturation, so you may end up spending more with it because you'd have to buy more coloring over time.

@Julia M. Usher No, I haven't compared them very accurately, like cost per oz of each brand.

But here is Canada, Wilton is very readily available with no delivery charges (generally) but Chefmaster usually comes in only big packs that cost at least 40 to 50 CA$. So, if one is not frequently using colors it seems like a big expense upfront as opposed to Wilton's smaller packs that cost just 10-11 CA$. But, I think like you mentioned it makes sense in terms of using a color that requires less quantity for the same effect. Also, I should do a cost/oz comparison for both colors just for my knowledge.

@Shea Thank you for that hack! Will try it out. I would love the chocolate taste too  

The only thing I am wondering is, will the addition of cocoa powder not impact the consistency of Royal Icing? Also, will it delay/ impact Royal icing drying and will it impact how its consistency is when it sets- like will it be more crumbly after it sets? Could you share your experience please?

Also, if you find your hack with Purple or other deep colours, could you maybe let me know or maybe write a post so that everyone will know?

Hi, I got the idea to add cocoa from Lilaloa's blog https://www.lilaloa.com/2013/0...-school-cookies.html.  I obviously did not read the instructions well, I do not make a paste with cocoa, just add directly to RI with a few drops of black gel food coloring, and get a really nice black.  The icing sets up well, has a nice 'bite', tastes like chocolate.  Cookies stack well, no soft icing, and no problems with bleeding, cross fingers.   Hope this helps, Shea

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