Decorative Sugars: Pearl Sugar and Sanding Sugar

With all the exciting options available to decorate food, it's easy to find yourself wondering things like, "What's the difference between pearl sugar and sanding sugar?" And then, "Where do I find purchase these fun products?" We've got some answers to get you started.

Pearl Sugar

Pearl sugar consists of large opaque white grains that look much like the large-grain salt you often see on giant soft pretzels sold in malls and ballparks. This variety of sugar withstands high heat without melting, so it makes a wonderful garnish for sprinkling on cookies, muffins, and scones before baking. It can be purchased in a variety of colors. 

Sanding Sugar

Sanding sugar is clear and sparkly, unlike the opaque pearl sugar, and its extra-large crystals also will not melt in the oven. Sanding sugar is available in many colors.

Where to Buy

Both varieties can be found in specialty grocery stores, the cake-decorating section of many crafts stores, and at online sources, such as kingarthurflour.com

Recipes with Decorative Sugars

Hanging Stocking Sugar Cookies (with pearl sugar)

Vanilla Polka Dots Cookies (with pearl sugar)

Concentric Star Sugar Cookies (with sanding sugar)

Candy Cane Sugar Cookies (with sanding sugar)

Pretty stocking cookies, cut from sugar cookie dough, become decorations when you attach a candy cane with royal icing. Here's how to make the adorable (and totally edible!) decorative Christmas cookies.

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