What Are Sprinkles Made Of?

Mar 12, 2013 1:31 pm

Exploring that sweet, colorful dessert topping

what are sprinkles made of?
Photo: Jose and Roxanne on Flickr
What are sprinkles made of? Insert any witty answer here. Or find out the process for yourself.

According to certain schools of thought, rainbow sprinkles, those brightly colored additions to the icing on the cake, are made from hopes, dreams and unicorn farts. We here at Food Republic know better than that. But the process of adding sugar insult to sugar injury (two of our favorite ways to insult and injure) is actually kind of interesting. 

So, the short answer is: sugar, corn syrup, cornstarch, a little food-grade wax (for those of us who eat wax) and artificial coloring and flavoring. Mmm. The long answer is this: sugar, cornstarch, cocoa and an emulsifier are combined into a doughy paste and pushed through an extruder with very small holes — think angel hair pasta. 

The sprinkle "noodles" fall onto a vibrating conveyer belt, which breaks them up into the right range of sizes. Once the sprinkles are properly formed, they're still very soft. To harden them up, they get a spray-coat of color, then a coat of sugar glaze to make them shiny and durable. 

Next stop: your doughnut. Or, if you're Dutch, on your morning toast. They got so many things right, those Dutch...

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