So my article about Dye Free Halloween Candy persuaded you to ditch the artificial food coloring for good, eh? Probably not but hey, a girl can try, no?Next up, after we bake, we’ll learn how to decorate without artificial food colors.
I’m going to talk decorating once the baking is done. To ensure you have all the supplies you need to bake with your toddlers, my friend Becky at Mommy Takes 5 has a good list for you. The last one on her list is crucial! If you miss this, you’re sunk.
How To Decorate Without Artificial Food Coloring
So you can make your own food coloring from things like root powders, spices, berries, beets, spinach, etc. but that’s some extra work and if I know you, the dog is barking, you’ve got kids pulling at you to decorate all the cookies and you just want to get right to it!
If you’re looking to do those crazy, bright, vivid colors, many times the homemade natural food dyes aren’t going to get you there…she says without having actually tried doing it. I honestly don’t have the patience.
I’m a mom who bakes with her kids for holidays and special occasions. We are not creating artistic masterpieces here.
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Natural Food Coloring
There are plenty of options available when it comes to artificial free food coloring. Seems every year, a new company has hopped on the bandwagon, YAY for progress.
Consumers are demanding safer, healthier options and companies are responding. Money talks, doesn’t it?
I have tried these three brands and prefer the Watkins and Simple Truth brands. In my experience, natural food coloring tends to give a more subtle color than traditional petroleum based food coloring.
RELATED: Dye Free Halloween Candy
This is the first brand I tried, when it was one of the few on the market. I didn’t like it too much.
It comes in these little packets that aren’t really resealable so you’ve pretty much got to use the entire thing all at once. The package says each packet will color about 1lb. of icing so if you need to color that much, you’re good to go. Otherwise, I’d suggest something else.
It did a decent job coloring the icing, but I was turned off by the all or nothing proposition.
Kroger has an artificial free food coloring in their Simple Truth brand. The colors come in the traditional small plastic containers that most other brands use. The colors are made from concentrated vegetable colorants and spices, free of corn syrup. The box has a nice chart on the back to guide you in achieving your desired color.
Similar to Simple Truth, Watkins comes in the traditional small plastic containers for easy use. The colors are derived from pure vegetable juices and spices and are gluten-free.
You can see the difference between the two brands. Each bowl has 1/3 cup plain white icing (that was slightly off color due to the vanilla extract) and 10 drops of green natural food coloring.
The Simple Truth came out more minty colored while the Watkins came out with a more grassy color.
Artificial Free Gel Food Coloring
Many years ago I decided to dabble in cake decorating, I took a basic class at Michael’s and made birthday cakes for friends and family. At that time, I was using the Wilton Gel colors for coloring the fondant and that stuff was intense.
About the same time I decided nix the artificial food coloring from our diet, I also hung up my cake decorating apron. I think gel colors make coloring fondant so much easier but I’m no professional so I could be totally wrong. It was just my experience.
I have not tried these gel colors but have heard good things about them so if you’re looking for a more professional decorated look to your creations, gel colors may be the way to go.
100% plant based, vegan friendly and paleo friendly.
Dye Free Sprinkles
I don’t know any kid that doesn’t like sprinkles and lots of them. Aren’t they the finishing touch on any cupcake or frosted cookie? When it comes to artificial free decorating sprinkles, there are several choices.
India Tree Nature’s Colors
This line is made with vegetable colorants and no artificial dyes. India Tree does have a line made with artificial colors so be sure to look for ‘Nature’s Colors’
Decorating a Gingerbread House
If you’re going to go all in and decorate a gingerbread house, we’re going to need to dig deep to find all the artificial dye free candies to adorn your new home.
The gingerbread house kits come with a bunch of colorful hard candy balls. I don’t know that you’ll be able to find an exact swap for those but you could take the Torie & Howard Chewie Fruities and microwave them for a second or two just to soften them up. Then break off a bit and roll it into a ball. I bet that would be super cute and much easier to chew.
I’ve got a whole host of artificial dye free hard candies, as well as some fruity chews in my Dye Free Halloween Candy post.
The last thing I wanted to mention is Natural Candy Store sells all sorts of baking, decorating, candy, etc supplies and the best part, they are artificial food coloring free and many of them are free of a variety of allergens.
Do you bake with your kids during the holidays? Let me know in the comments your favorite type of cake, cupcake or cookie to make?
Make it a green day!