Vegan sprinkles you might ask?
Yes, it’s a thing.
Animal products creep into just about everything; so it seems we vegans spend most of our time reading labels.
Confectioners glaze is the main culprit in most candy and confections.
Also known as “confectioner’s polish” and “shellac,” is used by many candy manufacturers to improve the appearance of their finished products by giving them a “shiny sheen” that will not easily wear off.
Shellac is a resin excreted by certain female Asian beetles after they have feasted on tree bark. The resin is then harvested, heated, and purified. India is the world’s leading producer of shellac, and the U.S, Europe, and Egypt are the top consumers of it. While some are taken aback by the fact of shellac’s origins, it really is not much different in nature than other insect products, such as honey and the honeycomb. But as vegans we are living life with as little animal (and insect!) exploitation as possible.
So confectioners glaze is a NO.
But whether you are vegan or not or if you care about eating beetle secretions or not, this homemade recipe for sprinkles is not only easy and cost efficient, but fun too!
It costs just about $1 to make over 2 cups of vegan sprinkles!
Just give yourself an hour (or more if you want to double the recipe to make 4 cups; the time is spent piping out those long strings of icing) and unless you have endless counter space, you will need several sheet pans too.
Vegan food coloring is another issue, but you can get some natural food colors here if you are going the full vegan mile.
I have also used homemade natural colors with tumeric (for yellow) beet juice (for purples and pinks) and spinach or kale juice for green when I made my Easter Checkerboard Cake, but it will also work for these sprinkles, you will just have to use much less water or aquafaba for the main recipe since the juices are primarily water.
You will notice I list Aquafaba OR water in the ingredients list, I have used both with great results in each, I do prefer the AF though as I find it makes the sprinkles slightly "harder" or more "dry" if that makes sense
- Sifted Confectioners Sugar 3 cups
- Salt pinch
- Vanilla Extract 1 teaspoon
- Aquafaba or Water 4-5 Tablespoons
- Food Color as needed
- By hand in a large mixing bowl or with an electric mixer, combine the sifted confectioners sugar with the salt and then add the vanilla extract and then the water, starting with just about half the water.
- Mix to a paste and then add more water as needed. *see note in the blog text about using liquid food colors such as natural juices, you will not need nearly as much water since those juices are primarily water.
- Divide the icing into as many smaller bowls are you are making colors.
- Add the food color and mix well, then cover each small bowl with plastic wrap to prevent drying as you pipe each color.
- I use parchment paper cones to pipe each color, since you are working with such small portions at a time it just makes more sense, it is cleaner and easier to handle those small bags rather than large pastry bags, not to mention the canvas or plastic pastry bags we use for other projects may have residual grease in them which can break down the sprinkle icing.
- Pipe the colors out in long strings onto parchment paper lined sheet pans. *It's ok if the strings break as you pipe, they are going to get broken up later anyway.
- You will see in the video I also made some dots with the icing for another size and variation from the strings.
- Let the icing dry for at least 2 hours in a cool, dry (not humid!) spot
- One the strings have dried all the way, roll up the parchment paper and let the sprinkles pour out into a bowl!
I use parchment paper cones to pipe each color, since you are working with such small portions at a time it just makes more sense, it is cleaner and easier to handle those small bags rather than large pastry bags, not to mention the canvas or plastic pastry bags we use for other projects may have residual grease in them which can break down the sprinkle icing.
Watch this video below for a step by step look at how to make your own parchment paper cones for icing decorations