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Edible Dusts: What to Use, How to Use them, and When

Edible Dusts: What to Use, How to Use them, and When

If you’ve been a cookier for more than, oh, five minutes, you’re probably aware that there is a huge assortment of edible** dusts out there to add color and sparkle to your decorated cookies, cakes, and other treats. But how do you know which one to use for what purpose? Well, consider this your primer for learning how to select an edible dust! For a great informational video scroll to the bottom of this blog and watch a replay of Sarah's Live tutorial! 

**Please note that there is a difference between items that are labeled “edible” versus “non-toxic.”  Edible products are actually intended to be ingested, and they adhere to strict FDA regulations.  Non-toxic products are for decoration only, but they likely won’t cause too much of an adverse effect if accidentally ingested (think of the toddler we’ve all seen happily chomping on a crayon—it’s clearly not the intended use, and it’s definitely pretty gross, but the toddler will usually be none the worse for wear.  That being said, no one is intentionally packing crayons in the lunchbox, because crayons aren’t food—and neither are dusts labeled “non-toxic”).

"When in doubt, add sparkle dust."


Sparkle Dust

Is any cookie really complete if it hasn’t been blasted with a final shot of sparkle dust to add some glitz and glamour? Well, I guess that’s a matter for debate, but what ISN’T a matter for debate is that if you want a seriously blinged-out cookie, sparkle dust is a necessity!

This type of dust can be painted onto a cookie when mixed with a high-proof alcohol, but it doesn’t intrinsically have a lot of pigment to it. If adding a lot of color is your goal, there are better products (we’ll get there, I promise!), but you can’t beat sparkle dust for adding shimmer and shine. For a great all-over coverage, use a dust pump bottle to spritz edible glitter all over your cookie (or even just a freshly-stenciled area of a cookie, before pulling away the stencil).

Sparkle Dust Options:

  • Roxy & Rich Sparkle Dust – These come in small tubs AND pump bottles of two different sizes. For a great choice that will add bling but no extra color to your cookies, go with the classic and fantastic Super Pearl.
  • Sweet Sticks Edible Glitter Pump – Far and away my favorite gold glitters. They also come in pump bottles that are both powerful and precise.
  • Flash Dust—Produced by Never Forgotten Designs, these dusts are perfect for someone who needs ingredients that don’t use artificial colorants. The colors of these dusts are achieved with turmeric, beets, vegetable juices, sunflowers, etc. No Red 40 here!
  • Really Edible Glitter—Also produced by Never Forgotten Designs, right here in the US.

Luster Dust

Just as its name implies, this product adds a more subtle luster than an outright sparkle. Luster dusts can be dry-dusted onto cookies for a subtle sheen, or it can be turned into a paint by mixing with alcohol. Choose a high-proof alcohol for best results (the higher the proof, the faster the alcohol will evaporate, leaving nothing but the color behind), and mix in a small palette. The resulting dried paint will have a light luster that can make your cookies look very luxurious.

Petal Dust

Petal dusts can be used dry or wet, just like Luster Dusts—except that they leave a matte finish instead of a sheen.  These are perfect for use on sugar flowers, royal icing, fondant, etc. 


Fondust is a no-liquid powdered colorant that can tint your fondant any color with just a little elbow grease. Simply add a tiny bit of this dust to your fondant and massage in until the color is fully dispersed. You’ll definitely want to wear gloves for this process—unless you love to have colored hands, that is.

Fat-Soluble Powdered Food Colorants for Chocolate

If you work with white chocolate or candy melts, you likely know that you can’t use liquid food coloring to tint them due to the volatile nature of the relationship between water and chocolate. Mixing these two things will cause your chocolate to seize up, making it unworkable. But along came Roxy and Rich to answer our chocolate-based prayers and introduce a fat-soluble powdered food coloring that can simply be mixed into melted chocolates. No need to search for pre-colored candy melts anymore!

And that’s it!  Whether you are looking to add some bling, paint some lustrous details, dust some flower centers, or make some pretty chocolate-covered Oreos, The Cookie Countess has what you need to make it happen!

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Marla - May 8, 2023

What gold product is on the star?
The Cookie Countess replied:
This was the Sweet Sticks Vegas Gold sparkle dust—my favorite gold!

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