The truth is you don’t have to use colors when decorating cookies but it’s such a great way to show style and personality in your cookie designs. It makes them eye-catching and really stands out and if you are decorating well known characters, colors play a big part in identifying who they are.
Now there are few different types of food coloring that you can invest in, we use majority of them because there are pros and cons for each type which we will briefly go through.
Liquid Food Dyes
So these are the water based dyes that you can typically buy from most grocery stores. They are less intense which means you can continue adding until you get the desired color tone that you want, really great for light pastel hues and normally they are inexpensive.
However because they are water based they will change the consistency of your icing, it will make it thinner, so if you need thicker 10 second or 20 second icing, best not to use these types of dyes unless the color is extremely light and you only 1 or 2 drops of the liquid food dye.
Liquid Gel Food Dyes
These are thick gel-type liquids that have this texture because of the glycerine and corn syrup base. Compared to the water based dyes these colors are more concentrated, which means you only need a small amount to make darker and vivid colors. Since you don’t have to use as much, the liquid gel will last longer and it doesn’t change your icing consistency as much.
Unfortunately these are really hard to find in your local stores, especially if you want a variety of colors, so we have to buy most of them online.
Gel Paste Food Dye
This is a thicker and way more concentrated version of the liquid gel colors. It’s extremely thick almost like glue or paste and it’s best to use just a very small amount unless you want the icing color to be very dark. The best ways to add these dyes to your icing is by using a toothpick.
These will last you a very long time because you use so little of it, but not easy to find at the grocery stores so will have to go online again for these ones and they can also get a little bit messy, if you’re not careful.
Powdered Food Dye
We’ve actually never used this type of dye before but it is pretty much a food dye in powder form. I guess one of the good things about this would be that it doesn’t change the consistency of your icing because there is no liquid in it to do so.
I’ve never seen powdered food dyes at the store so I assume that it would be a specialty product that you would have to search for online.
Natural Food Coloring Dyes
This is another one that we have never used before but it is a food coloring that is made from plants and natural sources instead of synthetic ones.
These ones are great for those who suffer from allergies, they are a healthier food coloring option, but because they are naturally they tend to be a bit more expensive and they cant really produce the vibrant colors that you see with the other food dyes.
You can learn more about mixing food colors and where to get all the different types with our new online class – Learn Cookie Decorating Basics in 10 days with Royal Icing.