Updated: Mar 19
Before I start in with this post, I wanted to let you know there is a video at the bottom that talks about all this. The blog post goes into more detail but in case you're like me and like to watch videos instead, it's there.
So you want to add pretty gold embellisments to your cookies kinda like this baby shower set.
Well okay lets talk about how to do this! There are several ways to add gold, silver, or any other colour of shimmer to your cookies. Most of the time they're done using luster dust of some sort or with edible paint or you can add luster dust to your royal icing. You can also airbrush shimmery colours but I'm not gonna go there today. What I am going to go into is these items here.
So what is luster dust? It's a type of edible powder that can be used as food colouring or to add shimmer to your baked goods. The way you apply this is by mixing the dust with water, vodka, or certain extracts to make a paste that you paint on with a brush. Now I do NOT recommend using water for this. Some bakers do and it works great for them but the majority of people use everclear or some kind of high proof, unflavoured vodka. This is because Everclear is 95% alcohol which means that it evaporates REALLY quickly. Why is this important? because water will disintegrate your royal icing in most cases.
So what about lemon extract? I've heard a bunch of people say to use that. Personally, I've never used it. I also don't like lemon flavoured things so I'm really not sure about its pros and cons. Like everything, play around with it and see what works for you.
Another option aside from lusterdust is Edible Art Paint. This stuff is an actual edible paint that is already liquidy that you can paint onto your cookie. There are several brands of similar stuff out there but so far, edible art paint is one of the wider ones known and is the one I started out with before luster dust.
Now you're probably asking which one should I use?? Lets talk about them.
Generic Luster Dust
This stuff is pretty inexpensive. Maybe 3-4$ and you can get it at most craft stores. It's great in an emergency or to add a little shimmer but it's not very pigmented therefore it won't give you that rich gold you see on most cookies.
Also! note that when you buy it, make sure you check to see if you're buying luster dust or color dust. They look nearly identical and the packaging is the same. They are NOT interchangeable. Color dust is meant to be used as a powdered food colouring or for painting and has no shimmer. Luster dust is used for the exact opposite. So check your tags before buying.
Edible Art Paint by Sweet Sticks is exactly what it sounds like.
This stuff comes from Australia and is wonderful because it is already premixed so all you have to do is shake it and use it.
The problem I have with it is this is a TINY bottle. Unfortunately, this bottle is also 8-9$ and while you can use it for a lot, if I wanted to cover 75 cookies like I did this weekend, I'd end up using more than half it's contents.
You also have to store it upright as I've found they can leak....everywhere. Again it's from Australia but my good friend, Yoli, does sell it in the US (and she has amazingly fast shipping).
You can get it in multiple colours which is nice but I still prefer the next item.
The Sugar Art Edible Dusts
Are my absolute fav. They have sooooo many colours and they are a very good full coverage dust. Most of my cookies are done with these and you can get big containers of the gold, silver and a few others instead of using those little ity bity ones in the video. (ity bity ones are about 5$ per container, the whopping one i have here is about 70$ but it lasts FOREVER)
As for other really good brands, I've heard TMP Gold is really good, Crystal Colours is a good one. they have a LOT of colours and Confectionary Arts has some beautiful ones too. Specifically their black is gorgeous.
Now to show you that all luster dusts are NOT created equal upon application:
Luster Dusts, and paints are applied via paintbrush. As you can tell, there is a clear difference in the consistency, coverage, and shine to all 3 brands I use. The edible art paint can be streaky sometimes, the generic luster dust is NOT a full coverage dust and the Sugar art looks smoother, shiny-er, and covers the whole cookie.
Some other words about using shiny stuff, it is time consuming because you have to pipe your details, wait for them to dry and then paint over them. They can also add up cost wise. You have to purchase the everclear, the paint, and the brushes. Therefore, charge appropriately.
Also as a side note, I was painting the rest of this star set last night and was holding the container of dust with everclear up too close to my face while doing it and I'm pretty sure I got a little tipsy while doing so just be aware if you’re feeling lightheaded, stop sniffing the everclear.
Otherwise have fun with shiny things bakers! Show me your pics! And see the video below.