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The Ultimate Guide to Sprinkles: Toppings, decorations, occasions-Bakell®

The Ultimate Guide to Sprinkles: Toppings, Decorations, Occasions

Sprinkles are tiny bits of candy you see topped over a cake or confection creation to decorate desserts. Some are ideal for baking, others not so much; so here's an in-depth guide to understanding Sprinkles.

Some sprinkles are gentle to the bite while others are much harder to initially chew, which may resemble a bit like a hard candy at first. Some are big, others are tiny; in either case, the world of sprinkles is very large.

Just know there are sprinkles for baking that are better than others, meaning there could be big implications for your overall project depending on what kind you choose.

Different types of Sprinkles

While people may be familiar with one or two types of sprinkles, there's actually quite a few including jimmies, quins, nonpareils, dragées, sugar pearls, sanding sugar, and shaped sprinkles.

jimmies rainbow krazy sprinkles on a cupcake from bakell

1. Jimmies

Jimmies have deep roots in American confections since they were popularized around the 1930s. They are small candy pieces that come in solid or pastel colors ranging from red, green, blue, yellow, orange, and anything in between.

Jimmies are often used as toppings and are the most iconic decorations for cookies, cupcakes, and cakes. They're a favorite to bake with but could be a bit tricky to work with straight out of the oven. Most people prefer using Jimmies on cakes because of their sweet taste and can be found in most grocery stores.

2. Nonpareils

Nonpareils are small, mini beads made with a sugar and starch coating that give them a crunchy, satisfying texture. Like Jimmies, these come in colorful concoctions and give treats a fun detail.

Nonpareils can be used in all sorts of snacks because they are small enough to be added to a recipe but also big enough to be seen through the frosting or icing on top of a cake. They can also be used as decorating ingredients for baked goods like cupcakes. You can also enjoy a donut with sprinkles of nonpareils.

rainbow quins sprinkles for cake decoration bakell

3. Quins

Quins are one of the more uniquely shaped sprinkles that usually come flatter than others. They have the right texture and consistency to make fun shapes for decorating cupcakes, cookies, and cakes.

You'll probably see quins the most in seasonal blends or for special events where you can get really creative with the mix.

4. Dragées

Dragées (pronounced 'dra.zhayz') are the uniform round balls that typically have a really hard shell. For that reason, they're usually seen on elements of an elegant cake or project that isn't exactly meant to be eaten.

You may have seen silver and gold dragées often used on baked goods like pastries or cakes. In these cases, always double check the type of sprinkle you're adding to verify it's truly safe for consumption.

Again, be warned, as pretty as they look, these are normally one of the tougher sprinkles to bite into directly!

silver bead sprinkle for cake decorating from bakell

5. Sugar Pearls & Beads

Sugar Pearls & Beads are the round, tasty sprinkles and can be considered in the same family as dragées. These candy spheres are smaller than your typical dragées and serve a similar purpose in elevating the visual aspect of your bake.

Use them as a standalone or in a sprinkle mix with your other favorite sprinkles to give your decorations a unique look.

Once again, just be careful with biting into them. Though edible, they have a hard surface that may catch someone off-guard.

6. Sugar Sand

Sugar sand is great for giving bakes color and a subtle yet present crunch as a topping. At its core, this sprinkle is a fine, colored sugar but it can add a definitive layer of decoration for your project.

You'll find that there's varying degrees of coarseness when it comes to sanding sugar, so make sure you're using the right kind for your application.

gold star shape sprinkles for cake decorating from bakell

7. Edible flakes and shaped sprinkles

Edible flakes and shaped sprinkles come in several forms that can be festive for holidays or even in distinct designs like dinosaurs. They are among the most popular sprinkles due to their versatility and exciting shapes.

Commonly used in cookies, cupcakes, cake pops, and ice cream, the possibilities are endless depending on your occasion.

Search through your favorite shaped sprinkle catalogue to see what you'll find: Witch Hat sprinkles for Halloween, basketball sprinkles for March Madness, or even Snowflake sprinkles for your favorite Holiday treats.

How Are Sprinkles Made?

Sprinkles are made from glucose, refined sugar, shortening, food-grade waxes, cornstarch, and typically other coloring agents. They come in various shapes and flavors, including fruit-flavored, colorful, pasta-shaped, and sometimes chocolate-covered sprinkles.

Ingredients used to make sprinkles include:

  • Powdered sugar - A finely grounded sweetener
  • Cornstarch - A solidifying agent derived from grains
  • Carnauba wax - A reliable waterproof covering
  • Confectioner's glaze - Used as a shine for some sprinkles
  • Dextrin - A form of starch that aids in enhancing sprinkles' texture
  • Lecithin - trace amounts can be used as an emulsifier or to lock in flavor
  • Artificial flavors - They come in many different flavors and contain chemicals to create different tastes
  • Artificial food coloring - A significant ingredient in making sure sprinkles have a wide array of hues

Sprinkles are typically made by mixing the sugar with shortening and artificial colors. Then cornstarch would be added to the sprinkles mixture for a deliciously light texture.

The confectioner's glaze may be added along with other ingredients to ensure the sprinkles are not dull and improve the overall texture. Soon after corn syrup and water are added to give the sprinkles a shiny appearance.

Sprinkles are then sifted and placed in a bowl for shaping. Depending on the kind of shape, there could be a bolding process shortly after. Finally, the sprinkles are left to cool and harden in their molds before being packaged and sold.

Can Sprinkles Expire?

Most sprinkles do not have an expiration date. They can be stored in a dry place and used for a long time. However, some varieties, like jimmies, may harden when stored for too long.

These types of sprinkles can sometimes be softened by using heat from an oven. In either case, you can tryout a single candy to check for quality before adding it to your recipe.

silver beads sprinkles edible glitter on a cupcake from bakell

Sprinkles on Cakes, Cookies, Cupcakes, and More

The best sprinkles to use on foods are jimmies or nonpareils. Jimmies and nonpareils are an assortment of small shapes, colors, and sizes that change baked goods' appearance when sprinkled on top.

The other types of sprinkles described above can be added to different desserts like cakes and cookies.

Some sprinkles are not recommended for oven use like nonpareils and quins simply because the texture might become compromised and you'll see colors bleeding into your batter. Meanwhile, sprinkles like pearls, dragées, and beads are not recommended for your batter simply due to their shape and toughness, which may cause an unpleasant bite.

Where to Buy Sprinkles

Krazy Sprinkles products from Bakell will cover all of your sprinkle buying needs from unique designs to classic shapes.

Whether you're decorating a glamorous cake or preparing a fleet of cupcakes for the holidays, our online store carries everything you'll need for your creative confections. We have a large variety of Jimmies, sprinkles, and toppers to complete your perfect bakes.

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