We love sprinkles on cupcakes, doughnuts, ice cream, and more! Here’s how to make your own. Bonus: You can make them in lots of different colors—and flavors.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Use rubber spatula to mix together confectioners’ sugar, 4 teaspoons milk, vanilla extract, and salt in medium bowl, scraping down bowl as needed, until smooth icing forms, 1 to 2 minutes (icing will be very thick). If icing is too thick to stir, add extra milk, ¼ teaspoon at a time, until icing becomes smooth.
Divide icing evenly among bowls, leaving one-third of icing in original bowl (you should have 3 bowls of frosting). Use spatula to stir 2 to 4 drops yellow food coloring into 1 bowl of icing. Clean spatula or spoon before mixing next color. Stir 2 to 4 drops pink or red food coloring into second bowl of icing. Keep 1 bowl of icing white.
Hold pastry bag so it’s standing straight up, perpendicular to baking sheet, with tip about 1 inch from parchment paper. With 1 hand, squeeze pastry bag above twist to steadily push icing out of bag. At same time, move bag from one end of parchment paper to other end. Continue piping lines of icing until you run out of white icing. You should pipe lines close together—just make sure they don’t touch.
Use bench scraper to push as much of white icing down toward tip as possible. Stand bag upright in drinking glass (with tip touching bottom of glass) and fold top of bag out and down, over edge of glass. Use spatula to transfer yellow icing to pastry bag. Remove bag from glass and unfold cuff. Use bench scraper to scrape yellow icing down toward tip and twist top of bag tightly.
Continue piping lines of icing across parchment, moving to second parchment-lined baking sheet when you run out of room on first sheet. Use all of yellow icing.
Use bench scraper to push as much of yellow icing down toward tip as possible. Stand bag upright in drinking glass (with tip touching bottom of glass) and fold top of bag out and down, over edge of glass. Use spatula to transfer pink or red icing to pastry bag. Remove bag from glass and unfold cuff. Use bench scraper to scrape pink or red icing down toward tip and twist top of bag tightly.
Continue piping lines of icing across parchment paper, moving to third parchment-lined baking sheet when you run out of room on second sheet. Use all of pink or red icing.
Set baking sheets aside in cool, dry place. Let lines of icing dry at room temperature until they are fully hardened, at least 8 hours or overnight.
Once icing is fully dry, roll up parchment the long way (with icing lines facing inside). Use your hands to gently squeeze parchment paper roll, breaking up icing lines into approximately ¼- to ½-inch sprinkles. Turn parchment paper roll upright over airtight container, perpendicular to counter, and slide sprinkles into container. Use bench scraper to scrape off any sprinkles stuck to parchment and scoop up any sprinkles that fell out and transfer them to container.
Did you know that in England sprinkles are called “hundreds and thousands”? Maybe because they’re so small, hundreds and thousands can fit into a container (or on your sundae)? And in Dutch, they are called hagelslag, which translates as “hailstorm” after their resemblance to the icy precipitation. What would you call these tiny, edible decorations if you could give them a new name?