Want to make your own sanding sugar. It is a type of coarse, sparkly sugar that can be used to add decoration and textural interest to desserts. Use this recipe to make beautiful decorative colored sweeteners that can be used in many different types of recipes from desserts to punch to cocktails.
Once you learn how easy it is to make this at home, you will skip the bakery aisle and save the money. As a bonus, you get to make whatever color you like or want to match the color theme you are going for.
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How to Make Sugar Sand
I use a lot of decorative sand crystals in my recipes. I use it for some of my cocktail recipes and some of my specialty desserts. Even though it is extremely easy to make, I am just lazy and I would rather buy it. And I tend to buy a lot of them. I really should start making them all more often and just have them stored in my baking cabinet. If I do decide to do that, I think I will get these small containers to store it in.
What Is Sanding Sugar For
It is just a fancy name for colored sugar. Sometimes it is called sugar sand as well. It is often seen in the same area of the store as the sprinkles and other baking supplies. Sometimes, it is a little more course with larger crystals than but essentially it is the same thing. When it is on top of baked goods or glassses, the difference in the size doesn’t matter.
The decorative sand is great to use on rims of glasses, like my cocktails, to decorate cookies and cakes, and other desserts. My kids love to use it on just about any cookies we make, sometimes before we bake them or after on icing.
How Long Does It Last
The best thing about making your own of this decorative sand is that it can last almost indefinitely. So you can make it once and keep it for a long time. That means it is easy to have on hand no matter what kind of dessert or cocktail you are planning to make.
How to Store
When you are storing this recipe, whether it is homemade or store-bought, you want to make sure it is stored in an airtight container. It can be mason jars, small containers, or even stored in small sandwich baggies. The containers of sugar can be stored at room temperature in a dry place.
Recipes that Use Sugar Sand
There are many ways to use this colorful. You can use it on cupcakes, cookies and on drinks, just to name a few. Here are some of my favorite recipes.
Sanding Sugar on Cupcakes
I love to use it on cupcakes. Most of the time, I use a basic cupcake recipe like How to Make Bumblebee Cinnamon Honey Cupcakes with Honey Frosting, Easy Chocolate Cupcake Recipe, Vanilla Pumpkin Cupcake and then add a colored sanding sugar to the top of the frosting.
Sanding Sugar Cookies and Desserts
Pretty much any cookie will benefit from sanding sugar. It just makes it look so pretty. I like to use its decoration.
- Peeps Cookies– Cute cookies cut into Peep shapes and topped with purple sanding sugar.
- The Best St Patrick’s Day Cookies– These cookies are perfect for celebrating St Patrick’s Day
- Easy 2 Ingredient Mint Chocolate Frosting Fudge– Who doesn’t love fudge.
- Candy Corn Brownie Bites– These brownies are cut into candy corn shaped
Sanding Sugar for Drinks
This sanding sugar recipe is perfect for decorating your cocktails or punches. I love to add some to the ring of the glass. It adds a beautiful touch as well as a fun aspect to the drink.
- The Amazing Spiderman Punch – A delicious decorative punch, that kids will love.
- Easter Punch – Perfect for Kids – Decorated with Peeps, this Easter punch is delicious.
- Non Alcoholic St. Patrick’s Day Punch – This is a readers favorite and gets lots of compliments during St Patrick’s Day, Christmas and at any kid’s party.
- Vampire Drink Halloween Cocktail – A must have adult drink for your Halloween party
- Queen of Hearts Cocktail – This bright red colored cocktail is gorgeous
- Peppermint Patty Drink | Peppermint Patty Martini – This cocktail is a must for anyone who loves peppermint and chocolate
- Grinch Cocktail – A Drink for Christmas – I love the bright green color of this Christmas cocktail.
- Chocolate Covered Strawberry Martini – Perfect for a girls night in, or just because I created this cocktail for my mom who absolutely loves it.
- Kinky Pina Colada – This vibrant blue-colored cocktail is beautiful and tasty.
- Mad Hatter Martini – For all the Mad Hatter Fans
- Cheshire Cat Inspired Cocktail – The Cheshire cat is my favorite character in Alice in Wonderland, so he deserves his own special drink
- Easy Blackberry Margaritas– This is a great light summer cocktail.
How Long Does It Last
It can last years as long as it is stored in an airtight container and does not get wet. When you are dipping for or glasses into it, make sure to pour it onto a plate or a bowl and not use the container that the sugar is stored in.
Can I Use a Food Processor to Mix It
I don’t like using a food processor. That is because it breaks down the pieces and makes it even finer than it is. Since homemade sand is already smaller pieces than store bout, typically, I don’t want to make it smaller. If you are looking for a dust rather than granules, you can use a food processor.
Ingredients in Sanding Sugar
Get the full list of ingredients, with measurements, and step-by-step directions at the bottom of the post in the printable recipe card.
- Granulated Sugar- This is the regular sugar that is used in most recipes.
- Food Coloring in a variety of colors– Use liquid food coloring for bright colors or use gel colors for a pastel look.
How to Make Sanding Sugar
Pour your sugar into a plastic baggie.
Add in a few drops of food coloring. Remember to start small. Add one or two drops in at a time. You can always add more color but you can not take it out.
From the outside of the bag, mix it around until all the sugar is dyed.
Repeat for however many colors you need. Store in an airtight container.
NOTE: If you find that the sugar seems to wet, you can fix that by adding some cornstarch. This absorbs the extra food coloring while still giving you a bight color. Because you are only adding a little bit, it does not affect the taste of it either.
NOTE: If you want a softer color, use gel color and a tooth pick. This creates a lighter color.
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Sanding sugar is a very popular item in the baking and cocktail communities. It can be made at home with just two ingredients, but it’s much easier to purchase sanding sugar from your local grocery store. If you’re interested in making your own version of this ingredient, follow these simple steps below! What are some of your favorite recipes that use sanding sugar? Share them on our blog for others to try out too!
Make Your Own Sanding Sugar
- ⅓ cup Sugar I usually use 1/3 cup
- Food Coloring
- Pour your sugar into a plastic baggie.
- Add in a few drops of food coloring. Remember to start small. Add one or two drops in at a time. You can always add more color but you can not take it out.
- From the outside of the bag, mix the sugar and food coloring around until all the sugar is dyed.
- Repeat for how ever many colors you need. Store in an airtight container.