Sparkle Dust -Make Your Cookies Sparkle
“Where there is a will there is a way!” Isn’t that a great quote by Pauline Kael? Todays post is the perfect example of that. A few years ago when Disco Dust was introduced we all loved it. It was a fast simple way to add sparkle to our baked goods. I am so guilty of using sprinkles of it on cookies but that won’t happen again. If you aren’t sure what I am talking about, click here to see a little info on the controversy over Disco Dust.
I am so happy that there are smart people out there who don’t give up. They don’t quit. They don’t let the word “can’t” stop them. When they heard you can’t eat Disco Dust they didn’t crawl up in a ball in the corner and cry. No they didn’t. The decided to make a version of edible glitter (I call it Sparkle Dust) that you can eat. I am really not sure who invented this DIY edible version of Disco Dust but I am happy they did.
The first time I saw this recipe was in a video over at Avalon Cakes. I was very curious so I decided to give it a try. It is not exactly like Disco Dust because it isn’t that as shiny as Disco Dust but it is shiny enough for me.
There are so many advantages to making your own Sparkle Dust. First of all, it is a lot cheaper than spending almost $5 for a very small container of Disco Dust. Secondly, it is made with only a few ingredients and it totally edible. And finally, you can customize any color you can think of! Isn’t that exciting!
Supplies for DIY Sparkle Dust:
1 Package of Gelatin -Not Jello! Use Unflavored Gelatin. It usually comes in a box with 4 individual packages
2 Tablespoons of water
Food gel color of your choice
Pearl Sheen Airbrush Color
Optional-White Food Gel Color
Spoon or offset spatula
Mat to spread the mixture on
Container to store the final product
The video at Avalon’s Cakes says to use 3 tablespoons of water but since I was going to use it on royal icing, I decided to reduce the amount and only use 2 tablespoons. A week later the cookie I made with the Sparkle Dust looks as good as it did when I first made it. So I think I will stick with the 2 tablespoons. You might like the recipe at Avalon’s Cakes better. Try them both and see what works best for you. Remember, “Where there is a will there is a way” so now you have a few choices to help you out.
- Begin by pouring the unflavored gelatin into a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of water and give it a quick stir.
- Let it sit for a couple of minutes. You can see how it looks in the second photo.
- Next, microwave it for 10 seconds.
- Remove from the microwave and scrape off any foam that has formed on the surface. Out of all the batches I made, I only had to scrape the top once.
- Add 3-5 drops of food gel color, 2-4 drops of Pearl Sheen for an airbrush system, and 1-2 drops of white food gel.
- Mix it quickly. you can see in the picture how the Pearl Sheen makes it shine.
- Once it is mixed, pour it onto a mat (more info below on what mats I use) and spread it out as evenly as you can on the mat. You need to work fast because it will start to gel and you need to leave it alone at that point.
- Let it dry for about 4-6 hours or overnight to be safe. If you use the same mats that I use, you will hear the mat make a popping noise as it dries and they will curl up but that’s okay. Let it dry completely.
Mats-For this project, I used the same mats that I use to roll out my cookie dough. I get them at Wal-Mart and I seriously can’t make cookies without them. Click here to see what they are. They are flexible and perfect for a project like this.
See how it curls up and pulls away from the mat? I think it looks really cool kind of like hard sheets of fruit roll ups.
- Once the sparkle sheets are dry, peel them away from the mat and cut them into strips. There may be broken pieces and that is alright.
- Next, cut the strips into squares. Be careful, some little pieces may shoot and hit you in the eye. It didn’t happen to me but you never know.
- Add the squares to the coffee grinder and pack it kind of tight and turn it on.
- You may have to pulse it a few times or even pour it into a mesh strainer to remove the larger pieces. Place the larger pieces back into the coffee grinder and give it another pulse or two.
- Place it into a container with a lid and use it when you want your goodies to sparkle!
That’t it! You are done.
There is one thing I want you to keep in mind before or when you make this. It is not disco dust so it doesn’t shine as much as disco dust does. I wish it did shine more but it does shine enough to make me happy about using an edible glitter for my cookies.
Also, be sure to clean the machine good before adding another color. Can you see the orange flakes in the green sparkle dust? I thin it adds character.
I think I am most excited about the different custom colors that can be made. Imagine a mint green or coral color or even purple for Halloween. The possibilities are endless because someone “had the will to find a way.”
That is very interesting. Thanks for sharing this!
Thanks Erin! If you make it I hope you like it.
I hadn’t heard about the disco dust controversy, so thanks for bringing that to our attention. It’s so expensive (think I paid $7 or $8 for a tiny jar) so, thank goodness, only have 2 jars. Our FDA doesn’t always seem to be looking out for us.
What is the purpose of adding white food gel and should you do that with every color of the DIY version?
Would a small chopper/blender make the DIY recipe grind up smaller than a coffee grinder?
The sheets of gelatin are pretty interesting (before you chop them). Since they’re flexible, I’m thinking possibly you’ll come up with some uses for them. Hint-hint.
Thanks for the heads up on disco dust.
Tavette – S. Fla.
I can’t believe you pay that much for Disco Dust! WOW!
As far as the FDA goes on this topic, I think it takes time to approve things like this and it became so popular so that they didn’t get a chance to approve it before we all went crazy for it. (in my opinion)
Once you mix the gelatin you need the white color to help the sparkle dust color show. The white gives it a background so the color you want will not be more translucent. It is the like a white canvas for you to get the color you want.
The sheet dry hard so I can’t think of a lot of things to do with then other than to grinder them up. If you think of something I would love for you to share it with us.
As far as the chopper goes, I think the coffee grinder is perfect for the amount one batch makes. If you put them in a food processor, they fly around and don’t get chopped. The coffee grinder is small and works perfectly.
I hope you like it once you make some! 🙂
Love this and hope to try it soon! Thanks for sharing. Just curious though, the controversy is over Disco Dust and not Sanding Sugar, right, or both?? I do use sanding sugar quite often that I purchase, although I have seen where that can me homemade as well. Thanks again!
Hi Terri! The controversy is over Disco Dust only because it is make with tiny pieces of plastic. You can read more on it here: http://thebearfootbaker.com/2015/03/diy-sparkle-dust/
Thank you Lisa!!
What a cleaver idea. I know you use unflavored gelatin to make this, so I was wondering how does it taste on the cookie?
Looking forward to trying this out; although I use disco dust on decorative cake accents. It’s always great to say everything is completely edible.
Hi Liz, It is unflavored but if you use a strong icing color (like a lot of black) you will taste it, That is why it is good to only use a few drops per batch.
I feel good saying everything is edible as well. It is weird saying, “Here is a pretty cookie, but don’t eat it.” LOL
I think I’ll love this recipe for sparkle dust. I’ve made my own from a much more complicated recipe – can’t wait to give this one a try!
Really? Is your recipe on your blog? I would love to see it. 😉
Not yet, I have been wanting to post it since Christmas, just hasn’t happened. It is one that is really not complicated, just an unusual ingredient. 🙂
Wonderful Lisa. Thank you for open my eyes about disco dust. Hey, may I use wilton white food color or only works thr recipe with white americolor gel?
Sure! I have trouble finding Wilton white color here. 🙂
Thank you for sharing … recipe is pinned!
Thanks for pinning Brenda! 🙂
thanks for this ingenius idea!
what if i don’t eat gelatin? can i replace with agar ?
I am not sure if you can use agar instead. I know it doesn’t work with Jello but you might want to give agar a try. If you do will you let us know how it turns out? 🙂
Yes Lisa, would be happy to do that!
Yay! A wonderful post about Avalon’s gelatin glitter recipe!!
If you can’t find white color, a little bit of cornstarch will provides the opacity that makes it shine really well.
You can use pearlescent airbrush colors, too, as they have a white base.
If you dry the sheets on plastic texture sheets, the irregularity AND the shiny surface create extra shine.
I haven’t tried it, but I think you could flavor this with a few drops of a concentrated candy oil. Not too much because it would affect the drying/stickiness.
It can be ground even finer through a tea strainer.
Kara Andretta of Kara’s Couture Cakes also has a long youtube tutorial on making gelatin glitter. Very similar, but some small tweaks.
Thank you so much!!!!
Everyone pass the word!
Thank you so much for all amazing tutorials!
This is awesome, I’ll try it! Thanks for sharing with us. Always thought on trying Disco Dust, I’m new at this Cookie baking theme and hesitate when I see the NOT toxic, and don’t see Edible anywhere. The other day I found an online Edible Luster Dust, is it the same as Disco Dust? I’ll appreciate the info, thanks alot.
Hi Heidie, I love adding sparkly things to my cookies but we need to aware and read the labels. “Non-toxic” does not mean edible. I honestly don’t know what is in luster or petal dust. However, I have read in cake forums that the “Crystal Color Dust” (http://www.globalsugarart.com/crystal-colors-c-995.html) has been FDA approved but I have not checked myself.
You can always email the company you are ordering from or the maker of the product and ask them questions.
Hope this helps,
Thank you for sharing this post.
I just stumbled onto your site via Pinterest and soooooooooo appreciate your efforts to help out those of us non-professional cookie creators. I have to admit that I have spent a small fortune on getting setup but it has been worth it when people tell me they love my cookies thank you for posting the sparkle dust how to and the DIY colored powder sugar!
What is the difference between Liqua-gel and gel coloring?
I’ve never used Liqua-gel so I can’t tell you anything about it. I looked on CHefmaster site here: https://chefmaster.com/collections/liqua-gel?gclid=CjwKCAjw-ITqBRB7EiwAZ1c5U64zVnKrPUkq_dtHi_gMpU4R01ebcaTFC_6lNqJpnGsGAIaFUeyOhxoCA88QAvD_BwE
This is what it said:
Liqua-Gel is a premium food coloring, or food dye specially made for baking and cake decorating. Liqua-Gel food colorings take on the form of a highly concentrated and vibrant color gel that mix easily and provide consistent tones without altering the texture of your product. These products are Kosher & Halal certified.
AmeriColor, The Cookie Countess, & Wilton are the food-gel colors I use and love. These gel colors might mess with the texture of your icing slightly but the colors are wonderful.
If you use the Liqua-gel let us know what you think. I think we’d all love to hear how you like them.