At Mimi's Cookie Bar, we don't use any artificial colors. But, there are times when we want to make things a little more fun and add some color. I've played around with using beet juice, extracting color from other vegetables like cabbage and spinach... but honestly, it's just so much work! So, I've searched out brands that have done some of that work already and make it easy and fun to play with color - the good way. Today I'm listing my favorites and showing you how we use them in the bakery. Pick up some of these for the holidays and you can make baked goods more festive, and better for you!
ColorKitchen Natural Food Dyes are the absolute best for coloring frostings, cookies, french macarons and cakes. I have tried other natural food dyes in the past and they haven't worked well at all. When I came across ColorKitchen, I thought - oh yay, another natural dye made from vegetables that won't work. I'll buy it anyways (just to be sure). So glad I did! I was so surprised with how well they worked and how easy they are to use.
These dyes are all powder instead of liquid or gel. I absolutely LOVE this because you're not adding liquid to you recipes if you want to add color. Sometimes liquid is not the best thing to add to frostings, french macarons or anything if you want it to come out just right. The only thing you have to do is make sure the powder dissolves in whatever you put it in to show the color. They make pink, blue, yellow and green and from there you can make orange and purple too. You can make everything from perfect pastel colors to bright bold colors!
SPRINKLES, SUGARS & DECORATIFS
I love India Tree for their sprinkles and sugars. The adorable pastel rainbow sprinkles you see us use in a lot of our items - those come from India Tree. They also make solid colored sprinkles in white, purple, green, pink, yellow and orange. These sprinkles are amazing on shortbread cookies, on top of cupcakes, cakes and of course on your ice cream.
They also have colored sugars in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink and white! These sugars are perfect on top of frosting. I've tried putting them on top of cookies before baking, and they don't do so well. I'd stick to these when topping frosted sugar cookies or brownies like our Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownies.
One of my other favorite items from India Tree is their Peppermint Crunch. During the holidays we use this all the time! It tops our amazing Peppermint Bark (which you can find in our Organic Vegan & Gluten Free Sweets Cookbook), cupcakes, cakes, cookies and marshmallows. This is best as a topping for already baked goods, don't put this in the oven. Be careful when you're shopping India Tree, they also make sprinkles and sugars with actual artificial colors in them - I know, not cool. So, make sure you're purchasing from their Nature's Colors line, those are all colored naturally with vegetables. And if you see their natural gel dyes - stick to Color Kitchen from above because these do not work very well (tested multiple times), and you'll have way better luck with Color Kitchen.
ColorKitchen has also started making sprinkles! They have rainbow sprinkles as well, and theirs are much brighter than the ones from India Tree. Both sprinkles are free of artificial dyes and made with plant based ingredients. So, this is just a personal preference if you want really bright and colorful sprinkles or more pastel sprinkles. I carry both at the bakery and use different ones for different things. You can find ColorKitchen Rainbow Sprinkles here.
ColorKitchen is also making Christmas Tree Sprinkles and Valentine's Day Heart Sprinkles now too! Find both of them on their website here. These are just fun extra things to have around the holidays!