We brought, as is our want, ice cream to our recent Green Dinner Redux. It was a natural choice: having recently experimented with matcha in sweets, we were eager to try our hand at green tea ice cream, and what better opportunity to parade matcha’s showstopping color than at a dinner in honor of said color?
The ice cream was easy, just your basic custard with four teaspoons of earthy matcha powder whisked in. (Whisking is important for color and flavor release.)
The real question was: what to serve it with?
Dan suggested cups of hot green tea, for an interesting sensory contrast (his own personal favorite method for consuming green tea ice cream) but with summer hinting at the edges of our days, we couldn’t bring ourselves to serve hot tea. Crystalized ginger? Or would that overpower the subtle smokiness of the matcha? Mint? No connection beyond the color. Someone joked, off hand, that it was too bad store-bought sprinkles were artificially dyed, thus disqualifying them. An idea was born: could we make our own sprinkles?
Turns out, it’s shockingly simple to make your own homemade sprinkles. So simple, we might never buy sprinkles again.
It’s just some confectioner’s sugar, water, a binding ingredient, in this case, egg white….
…and 24 hours drying time. (We impatiently attempted to chop our sprinkles 16 hours into the process and were surprised to find out efforts create a crumbly mess. It does in fact take that long to dry, so plan ahead.)
And, voilà: homemade sprinkles!
As the matcha powder doubled as both color and flavor in this case, we omitted a flavoring extract, though you could make sprinkles in as many flavors as there are colors (or more!) for absolute customization. And, if you have a pastry bag with a very small tip — think Wilton’s #2 or #3 — go with that. Our sprinkles ended up a bit wide, and while delicious, were more like crunch than sprinkles.
adapted from Hummingbird High
makes about 1 1/2 cups
8 ounces confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 egg white, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or any other flavor, such as rose water, orange blossom water, peppermint, etc.)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine confectioner’s sugar, egg white, extract (if using) and salt. Mix the ingredients on low speed until a paste forms. The paste should have the consistency of liquid glue. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue mixing until all the confectioner’s sugar is fully incorporated.
2. Divide the paste into as many portions as you have colors, tinting each batch with the color of the choice. Use a rubber spatula to stir the food coloring into the paste until it’s an even color.
3. Transfer the different colored pastes into their own pastry bags, each fitted with a small pastry tip (Wilton’s #2 or #3). Pipe out long, thin lines on a cookie or jelly roll pan, ensuring that the lines do not touch each other. (You shouldn’t need parchment or wax paper, though we used some since our cookie sheets are old and show it.)
4. Repeat the process with the remaining colors and allow the piped lines to set uncovered in a dry place for 24 hours. Seriously, 24 hours!
5. Once the piped lines have dried completely, use a bench scraper or a butter knife to break the piped lines into short, sprinkle-sized pieces. Use immediately, or store in a dry, airtight container for up to 1 month.