Sanding Sugar
sanding sugar: photo

Sanding Sugar

Sanding sugar is a large crystal sugar used as an edible decoration that will not dissolve when subjected to heat.

Article by: Barbara Bowman

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What Is Sanding Sugar?

Sanding sugar is a large crystal sugar used as an edible decoration that will not dissolve when subjected to heat. Also called pearl sugar or decorating sugar, sanding sugar adds "sparkle"  to cookies, baked goods and candies.  The sparkling affect is achieved because the sugar crystal grains are large and reflect light.
Sanding Sugar
sanding sugar - photo by

Featured Recipe

Reprinted from Christmas Gifts From the Kitchen by Company's Coming Publishing Limited. See link to purchase or to read more about this cookbook.

Lemon Shortbread with Sanding Sugar Edge
lemon shortbread cookies from Christmas Gifts From the Kitchen uses sanding sugar to create the affect of a lemon rind

Lemon Shortbread Slices
Adorable cookies look like real lemon wedges.


1 cup (250 ml) butter, softened
3/4 cup  (175ml)  granulated sugar 
2 teaspoons (10 ml) grated lemon zest 
2 1/4 cups (550 ml) all-purpose flour
1 egg white (large) lightly beaten
1/3 cup (75 ml) yellow sanding (decorating) sugar

Cream butter and granulated sugar in large bowl. Add lemon zest. Beat well.

Add flour in 2 additions, mixing well after each addition until no dry flour remains. Roll dough into 3 inch (7.5 cm) diameter log.

Brush log evenly with egg white. Sprinkle sanding sugar evenly on sheet of waxed paper slightly longer than log. Roll log in sanding sugar until coated. Wrap with plastic wrap. Chill for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Discard plastic wrap. Cut log into 1/4 inch (6 mm) slices. Cut each slice in half. Arrange halves about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

Score each half with knife to make 4 wedges.

Bake in 325ºF (160ºC) oven for 8 to 10 minutes until golden. Let stand on cookie sheets for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool. Makes 6 1/2 dozen (78) cookies.

1 cookie: 47 Calories; 2.5 g Total Fat (1.6 g Mono, 0.3 g Poly, 0.5 g Sat); 0 mg Cholesterol; 6 g Carbohydrate; trace Fibre; 0 g Protein; 30 mg Sodium

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How To Use Sanding Sugar

Sanding sugar can be used prior to baking or used as a finishing sugar.  Here are some suggested uses.

Decorate Cookies
Sprinkle all over atop cookies prior to baking.  The sugar can be used in small amounts or used heavily for a solid color affect.

Swedish Christmas Cookies
swedish christmas cookies,

Edges only
-  dip cookie edges only in sanding sugar for subtle yet colorful affect.

Muffins and Cobblers
Martha Stewart suggests sprinkling white sanding sugar on cobbler and muffin tops prior to baking.

Use On Wet Icing
Ice cookies or cup cakes and allow icing to dry. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a small tip with icing.  Pipe on little raised accents. Sprinkle sanding sugar over the wet piping.  Tilt the cookie or cupcake and tap lightly to remove excess sugar.

Where To Buy Sanding Sugar

Sugar can be purchased at specialty baking supply shops and sometimes at very well-stock grocery stores.

Buy Online

sanding sugar 4 color set - Purchase a 4-color sanding sugar starter set, includes red, yellow, green and white.  See online catalog