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A Rational Hatred of Sprinkles

January 5, 2015

Somebody out there must like sprinkles, or jimmies, or whatever you want to call them. After all, they are offered in every ice cream parlor across the country. Plus, they regularly show up on cupcakes, cookies, and donuts. Occasionally, you’ll even find some making an unwelcome appearance on a cannoli. At one point they could even be found at coffee shops.

Hear me now and believe me later, sprinkles are horrible.

Sure, they are bright and colorful. Even I have to admit that a yeast donut covered in white icing and topped with rainbow sprinkles is a beautiful sight to behold. It’s hard not to look at one and be happy. I mean, it’s a carnival for the eyes.

But that’s where the love affair ends. Because one bite into something topped with sprinkles and all you’re left with is a big mouthful of gritty sugar pellets that destroy the delicate texture of whatever it was you wanted to eat in the first place.

With the rare exception of some chocolate sprinkles, these monstrous interlopers don’t even add any flavor to whatever treat they top. All they add are artificial colors and carnauba wax.

Granted, not all sprinkles have a sandy texture. There are those little round ball-shaped sprinkles too. Officially, they’re called nonpareils. But they are no better. Instead of making your treat gritty, they add toothbreakingly hard pellets to your sweets. I bet they would make great birdshot though.

To be fair, I will begrudgingly make one exception for imported Dutch chocolate sprinkles. And then, only for putting on buttered toast. Because these things not only have a legitimate cocoa content, but when you use them as directed, they have none of the problems outlined above. On hot buttered toast, these sprinkles melt to form a brilliant chocolatey breakfast treat.

Conventional chocolate sprinkles on ice cream do no such thing. At their best, the cheap cocoa flavor of the lousy sprinkles helps to set off the much better chocolate flavor of the ice cream. But if an element isn’t adding value to something, it should be cast aside. A better choice is freshly toasted, roasted cocoa nibs. They add incredible flavor to ice cream, and a satisfying crunch for those who enjoy textural contrast.

If you are a baker and are looking to add texture, there are lots of better options. Please, for all that is good and holy, use them.

Sprinkles. Ha. Good God y’all.
What are they good for?
Absolutely nothing!

Say it again.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 5, 2015 10:48 am

    Oh, knock it off. I can smell BS when I see it. You probably munch soft ice cream with glorious rainbow sprinkles in secret while you parrot this sort of nonsense.

    • January 5, 2015 11:17 am

      I don’t know if I’ve ever shared my rant about the madness of soft serve milkshakes. If not, I’ll save that for summer. In the spirit of full disclosure, we do have a 400g box of De Ruijter Chocoladehagel Puur in the house.

      Do you really want to know what I was eating while I was putting up this post? I’ll tell you. My life is pretty much an open book.

      I was eating a couple slices of scrapple I brought up from Pennsylvania. No carnauba wax or FD&C #5 in that. All of its crunchy edges come from a glorious crust supplied by my well seasoned cast iron skillet.

      • January 5, 2015 11:36 am

        I’ve had Dutch “sprinkles” before. Too flavorful and the shapes are off. But they are intended for a different purpose, as you stated.

  2. January 5, 2015 8:08 pm

    Now you’re just being ridiculous. RIDICULOUSlittleBLOG.

  3. January 13, 2015 11:15 am

    Daniel – have you tried making your own sprinkles? For your kids, of course. Ive been sitting on a recipe for them for a while – and have seen some high end pastry chefs using them for a while – but Ive never bothered because its somewhat labor intensive.

    Definitely with you on the cocoa nibs. Great texture and flavor. I ran a feature this weekend at Peck’s Arcade – on it I made a coca & mint ice cream – using cocoa nibs and (real) mint to flavor the base. I couldn’t believe how much flavor I coaxed out of the nibs – before trying the base I was convinced I would have to add in some cocoa powder or paste – I was definitely wrong.

    Also, FYI, because I know how fussy you are about Ice Cream – I am making all of our ice creams and sorbets in house, and spinning them fresh every day to ensure their quality…

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