Sometimes I finish a weekend of baking, look at the mess I've made and the time I've spent, and I ask myself if it was really worth it.
Before I answer that, let me explain something. I've got this weird habit of making things way more difficult than they have to be. Things like dating, interacting with fellow human beings, grocery shopping, making phone calls, and feeding myself are much more, I don't know, involved, when I do them. I can attribute that to my anxiety, to my astrological sign (Virgo), or to my constant need for other's approval. Or I can just accept it and move on to actually making things more difficult, which is what I've chosen to do. And that's why when I bake, I always make things from scratch, instead of just buying them at the store like a well adjusted person does.
For instance, sprinkles. Have you ever really thought about where they come from? Like, before just now? Probably not. But that's the kind of stuff I think about and the kind of thing I really enjoy dedicating brief portions of my life to. It's the kind of thing I start contemplating when I should be focusing on more important things, like the fact that my car is making a really weird sound when it runs now, or that I should probably have more money in my Roth IRA by now, or that it's about time I actually set up my Roth IRA instead of casually acting like it's something I have or even know what it is.
But it turns out that sprinkles are a relatively simple thing to make, they just involve a little prep time. You make icing, pipe it out into thin lines and let them dry overnight. Easy right?
Well it actually took me three tries to get it right. Because I got a little ambitious and tried to flavor my sprinkles with something that's notoriously difficult to use.
Rose water. Use too much and it will feel like you just got punched in the teeth by a very expensive bouquet of roses. Use too little and you'll wonder how and when this bar of soap got mixed in with your food. Rose water provides an aggressive flavor, at least in my experience, but when it's used properly it's just lovely. You can find it in specialty food stores, or on Amazon. In this recipe I found that mixing the rose water with vanilla extract brought out the floral notes without making them too overpowering.
Another tricky thing about sprinkles? Having a good icing base recipe that doesn't have any dairy in it. A few vegan recipes I've seen rely on shortening, or corn syrup to bind the sugar together. But I've got a very special ingredient that works just as well, and you probably have it in your pantry right now. Aquafaba. If you're not familiar, aquafaba is the water that canned beans sit in. It's an absolute vegan baking game changer because it works really well as an egg replacer. You can use it to make macarons, merinques, brownies and now, sprinkles.
(psst. you can find the recipe for these coconut oil sugar cookies on Oh Lady Cakes.)
Let's see, we've got aquafaba, powdered sugar, and flavoring. Guess what? That's it! Only four ingredients, and you can make your very own sprinkles. The recipe itself is very versatile, and by substituting the rose water for any other extract your flavored sprinkle options are endless. I piped out the icing using a wilton #3 tip, and it really made my sprinkles look like the kind you can buy in a grocery store. But if looks aren't important to you (good for you, hero) you can use a ziploc bag with one of the corners cut off. Just make sure it's very thin.
And while these little jimmies are cute enough to eat on their own, they pair really nicely with a sugar cookie. I topped my cookies with a lemony glaze and haphazardly threw the sprinkles on top. Delightfully messy, and a sweet little afternoon treat. And, I can finally say that I made every single thing in a dessert from scratch.
So to answer my question? Yes, I spent the majority of my last three weekends trying to make sprinkles that taste like roses, and you bet your ass it was worth it. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to alphabetizing my spice cupboard and ignoring the part of my brain that tells me vacuuming is necessary.
Homemade Rose Water Sprinkles
Makes approximately 100 million sprinkles
- 1.5 oz aquafaba
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon rose water
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Food Coloring ( I used Wilton gel colors)
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk aquafaba until frothy, about 30 seconds.
- Add in powdered sugar, rose water and vanilla until an icing forms. It should be just thick enough that it will retain it's shape when piped, but not so thick that it cracks.
- Add in desired food coloring.
- Scoop icing into a piping bag fitted with a #3 tip.
- Pipe straight lines onto a baking sheet (or any surface) lined with parchment paper. Leave to set overnight.
- After the icing has dried, chop the lines up into small pieces. Use as a garnish for cookies, cupcakes, sundaes and other desserts. Store sprinkles in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
Recipe inspiration from Brave Tart.