Variety is the spice of life, and when decorating sugar cookies it can make all the difference. I’m speaking specifically about colored sugars. Years ago frustrated with the lack of color choices, the problems created by the coarseness of the sugar, and the bitter after taste imparted by the dyes, I began making my own colored sugars. It is surprisingly easy. There is no limit to the variety of colors and the texture of granulated sugar is perfect for decorating cookies. The only color I have found to leave an after taste is red, and only when a very intense color is desired.
It is essential to use paste colors. Do not substitute liquid or gel paste products, these contain too much moisture and will dissolve the sugar. Paste colors can be purchased almost anywhere cake decorating or party supplies are sold. There are a number of name brands--Wilton, Ateco, and Cake Craft are among the most well known. Whether you use these brands or another is not a factor in successfully coloring sugar.
The variety of colors made available to me by making my own colored sugars transformed cookie decorating in my professional world. My customers loved it and so did I. So will you. Enjoy!
Paste food colorings
Put about 1/2 cup sugar into a glass or metal bowl. With a toothpick scoop out a tiny amount of the desired color onto the sugar. With your fingers rub/mix the paste into the sugar. Add paste a little bit at a time, rubbing/mixing as you go, until the desired color is achieved. Scrape the finished sugar into an air-tight container and store in a cool dry place. Use on cookies, cakes, muffins and other baked goods.