Sugar tinted in a rainbow of colors is a handy item to have in the kitchen for adding a special decorative touch to cakes, cookies and other desserts. But why spend exorbitant prices buying sugar when you can easily make your own for much less. Doing it yourself also broadens your color palette considerably as you can custom blend the perfect shades to meet your needs. And keep in mind that the identical technique also works for tinting coconut!
All you need are some small, heavy duty, plastic zipper bags, some sugar (or coconut) and some food colors. Paste colors work best, as they help keep the sugar from getting overly soggy and it's easier to mix. Place the desired amount of sugar or coconut in the plastic bag, add a small dab of color on a toothpick. Close the bag and mix and shake until color is evenly distributed.
The secret to beautifully colored sugar is to take your time and make sure that all of the color is evenly distributed. Keep working the color through the sugar until you are sure there are no more concentrated little clumps left.
The other thing to keep in mind is that food coloring is concentrated, so start with a little bit and add more later if needed. The color can be deceiving when making colored sugars, in that you won't get the true hue until all the color is COMPLETELY incorporated into the sugar. The more you mix, the darker it gets.Don't worry about it too much, though. If the color becomes darker than you wanted, it's simple to fix. Just add more sugar or coconut and continue to mix.