Want to create bright, festive cookies without using synthetic food dyes? Here are three ways to make naturally colored frosting.
This post is not about making artfully decorated sugar cookies. Obviously!
I call my style of cookie decorating “rustic” and “accessible”.
This is all about the colors anyway. Aren’t these colors pretty? And not a synthetic dye in sight!
How to Make Naturally Colored Frosting
Here are the three different methods I used:
#1: Color Kitchen Natural Colors: Color Kitchen makes great natural food colors. They don’t carry this holiday set anymore but they do have this holiday icing mix and this winter icing mix. The natural colors are all derived from plants like spirulina (a kind of blue-green algae), turmeric, and grape color extract. You can find a full set of the Color Kitchen Natural Colors here and some festive holiday sprinkles from Supernatural here.
#2: McCormick Color Nature Food Colors: This set comes with three packets–blue, pink, and yellow–with directions on the package for making other colors like green, purple, and orange. These are powdered mixes like the Color Kitchen colors, so they won’t affect the frosting’s texture. I simply mixed the blue and yellow together until I got a green I liked.
#3: Homemade Food Colors: I used my recipes for Naturally Colored Frosting using fresh beets and spinach. The green is a lighter, brighter shade than I got with the powered colors. And I was so pleased with how this red turned out! The key was putting it on the stove to simmer for 40 minutes but then forgetting about it for about an hour and a half. The longer it simmers, the deeper the color.
To mask the flavor you’d get from the spinach and beets, I recommend using a bit of almond extract or vanilla extract in your frosting recipe (if using almond extract, please be aware that some extracts are not safe for people with nut allergies). Here’s my recipe for Basic Frosting for Decorating. For a smoother finish, you can’t go wrong with Royal Icing.
Get more details on these methods and learn more about synthetic dyes on my Facebook Live (watch it here).
And here’s my favorite recipe for cut-out sugar cookies: Whole Wheat Cut-Out Sugar Cookies (no chilling required!)
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