Ignore the Fog and Make Your Own Ice Cream Cones and Sprinkles

| September 3, 2014 | 0 Comments
  • Comment
DIY sprinkles (and ice cream cones) can transport you to a fog-less end of summer. Photo: Kate Williams

DIY sprinkles (and ice cream cones) can transport you to a fog-less end of summer. Photo: Kate Williams

It’s a weird time of year here in the Bay. When I was a kid living in the Southeastern U.S., the end of summer always meant stifling hot temperatures and mandatory day-long trips to the pool. Frozen desserts were an absolute necessity. So when I sit down to dream up the ultimate end-of-summer DIY recipes, my mind immediately drifts to ice cream. Forget the fact that I am wrapped up in a blanket on the couch as I write this story.

Homemade ice cream is wonderful, but for a true taste of summer, consider making your own cones and sprinkles. Add your own batch of ice cream if you wish, or pick up a pint of your favorite flavor. If both sound like too much of a project, try making just one. Either will elevate your ice cream game.

Ingredients for homemade sprinkles. Photo: Kate Williams

Ingredients for homemade sprinkles. Photo: Kate Williams

If you’re going to tackle both, I’d suggest starting with the sprinkles. They need 24 hours to dry, and they keep well for several days. To make the sprinkles, you’ll need sugar, flavoring, coloring, and egg whites. I can’t eat raw egg whites, so I’ve used dried egg white powder instead. If you prefer whole whites, go for it!

The best part about making sprinkles at home is that you can flavor and color them however you’d like. Use all-natural coloring and flavoring if you prefer, or embrace the junk food-ethos and mix bright colors and bold flavors. I’ve chosen to use mint extract in these sprinkles, but you could use vanilla, almond, or anything else you can find.

Before you make the sugar mixture, you’ll want to sift out any lumps from the confectioner’s sugar. Small lumps of sugar will clog up the piping tip. Next, mix the egg white powder with a little water, flavor extract, and salt until the mixture is frothy. Whisk in confectioner’s sugar.

The sprinkle mixture should be smooth, shiny, and very thick. Photo: Kate Williams

The sprinkle mixture should be smooth, shiny, and very thick. Photo: Kate Williams

At this point, the mixture should be smooth and shiny. The mixture should be thick enough to hold its shape when piped, but not so thick that you won’t be able to manipulate it. Add water a tiny bit at a time if you need to soften the mixture up.

Now choose how many colors of sprinkles you’d like to make (I’m making four here), and divide the sugar mixture equally into that number of small bowls. Add several drops of food coloring to each bowl and mix it in well.

Prepare a piping bag by placing a small (#2) tip in the bottom of the bag and trimming off the tip. If the piping bag is very long, cut off the top 4 to 6 inches of the bag. Fold the top over to form a lip. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Folding down the top of the piping bag will make it easier to transfer the sprinkle mixture into the bag. Photo: Kate Williams

Folding down the top of the piping bag will make it easier to transfer the sprinkle mixture into the bag. Photo: Kate Williams

Using a spoon, transfer one batch of sugar mixture into the piping bag. Squeeze gently to press the mixture to the tip. Now use a bit of pressure to gently pipe the sugar mixture in a long line onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. It does not have to be completely straight, but you’ll ideally want to pipe as many lines as possible on each tray. Continue piping the mixture into thin lines until you cannot squeeze any more out of the bag. Remove the piping bag from the tip. Rinse out the tip and fit it into a clean piping bag. Repeat piping with remaining batches of sugar mixture.

Pipe the sprinkle mixture into long thin lines on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Let them dry out for 24 hours. Photo: Kate Williams

Pipe the sprinkle mixture into long thin lines on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Let them dry out for 24 hours. Photo: Kate Williams

Once you’ve piped out all of the sugar mixture, you’ll need to let the sprinkles dry out for about 24 hours. Finally, use a knife or bench scraper to cut the lines into short sprinkles. I like to use a bench scraper so that I can keep the sprinkles on the rimmed baking sheet and catch any stray pieces. Mix all of the colors together, and transfer to an airtight container until you’re ready to eat dessert.

I like to use a bench scraper to cut the sprinkles on the rimmed baking sheet. The sides of the pan will keep the small pieces from rolling off of the counter. Photo: Kate Williams

I like to use a bench scraper to cut the sprinkles on the rimmed baking sheet. The sides of the pan will keep the small pieces from rolling off of the counter. Photo: Kate Williams

Homemade ice cream cones require a little more hands-on crafting. I like to shape my ice cream cones based on a method developed by Louise Emerick at America’s Test Kitchen. She figured out how to make stencils and molds without needing to buy any specialty equipment—perfect for those of us who don’t want to shell out for cone molds. First, make cone stencils. Using a 6-inch bowl as a guide to trace two circles on a sheet of parchment paper. I like to repeat these stencils one or two more times so that I’ll have backup. Flip the parchment paper over and place on a rimmed baking sheet.

To make the cone molds, first cut out a 10-inch circle from poster board, and then cut the circle into quarters. Photo: Kate Williams

To make the cone molds, first cut out a 10-inch circle from poster board, and then cut the circle into quarters. Photo: Kate Williams

Bring together the straight sides of each quarter to form a cone. Use tape to secure the shape. Cover each cone with aluminum foil. Photo: Kate Williams

Bring together the straight sides of each quarter to form a cone. Use tape to secure the shape. Cover each cone with aluminum foil. Photo: Kate Williams

Next, make the cone molds. Using the 10-inch round pie plate, trace and cut out a 10-inch circle from the poster board and then cut the circle into quarters. Bring the straight sides of each quarter-circle together and slightly overlap to make a cone. Tape the cone to secure it and then cover the cone with aluminum foil, keeping the foil as smooth as possible.

Begin the cone batter by melting two tablespoons butter with two tablespoons honey. Let it cool a bit before mixing the rest of the batter. Whisk together granulated sugar, an egg white, a whole egg, vanilla, and salt. Whisk in half of the flour, and then whisk in the melted butter and honey mixture. Whisk in the rest of the flour until smooth.

Use only one heaping tablespoon per cone, and spread it out to the edges of the stenciled circles using a small offset spatula. Photo: Kate Williams

Use only one heaping tablespoon per cone, and spread it out to the edges of the stenciled circles using a small offset spatula. Photo: Kate Williams

Many cone recipes call for a large portion of batter for each cone, but I’ve found that they make for chewy, wan cones. Instead, I try to use as little batter as possible, about a heaping tablespoon of batter per cone. Drop the batter into the center of each outlined 6-inch circle on the prepared parchment paper. Using a small offset spatula (or a spoon), spread the batter out into an even circle. Bake in a 325 degree oven until the cookies are golden brown.

Work quickly to roll cooked cone rounds around the molds. Press the edges to seal and let the cones cool upside down until firm. Photo: Kate Williams

Work quickly to roll cooked cone rounds around the molds. Press the edges to seal and let the cones cool upside down until firm. Photo: Kate Williams

Working quickly, gently run a spatula underneath each cooked cone round to loosen them from the parchment. Roll the rounds around the molds, and press the edges tightly together to seal. Keep the cone on the mold and flip it upside down to cool. Repeat with the remaining cookie. If the cookies become too hard to roll, return them to oven for 30 seconds to 1 minute to soften. Once the cones are cool enough to handle, gently twist them out of the molds and place them upright in a glass to finish cooling.

Let the cone finish cooling upright in a glass while you finish baking the remaining cones. Photo: Kate Williams

Let the cone finish cooling upright in a glass while you finish baking the remaining cones. Photo: Kate Williams

Repeat the spreading, baking, and shaping process using a cool baking sheet with the remaining batter. If the parchment becomes too wrinkled to form flat cones, use a clean sheet of parchment. The cones are best on the day they’re made, but they can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

To serve, stick a chocolate chip or marshmallow in the bottom of the cone to prevent too much ice cream from dripping out. Scoop ice cream into the cone and top with sprinkles.

Serve a scoop of ice cream in a cone, topped with a generous scoop of sprinkles. Photo: Kate Williams

Serve a scoop of ice cream in a cone, topped with a generous scoop of sprinkles. Photo: Kate Williams

Recipe: DIY Sprinkles

Makes 1/2 to 2/3 cup

    Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons dried egg white powder, or one egg white
  • 2 tablespoons water (omit if using egg white)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, mint, almond, or other flavored extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 8 ounces confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • Assorted food coloring
    Equipment:

  • 2–3 rimmed baking sheets
  • Parchment paper
  • Plastic disposable piping bags
  • #2-sized piping bag tip
    Instructions:

  1. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Prepare a piping bag by placing the tip in the bottom of the bag and trimming off the tip. If the piping bag is very long, cut off the top 4 to 6 inches of the bag. Fold the top over to form a lip.
  2. Combine egg white powder, water, salt, and flavored extract in a small bowl or measuring cup. Whisk until frothy.
  3. Mix egg white mixture into the sifted confectioner’s sugar, and stir until well combined. The mixture should be smooth and thick. If it is dry and crumbly, add additional water, 1/8 of a teaspoon at a time, until all of the sugar mixes in.
  4. Choose how many different colors of sprinkles you would like to make. Divide the sugar mixture into one individual bowl per color. Add 3-5 drops of food coloring to each batch of sugar mixture and stir until well-combined.
  5. Using a spoon, transfer one batch of sugar mixture into the piping bag. Squeeze gently to press the mixture to the tip. Using a little bit of pressure, gently pipe the sugar mixture in a long line onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. It does not have to be completely straight. Continue piping the mixture into thin lines until you cannot squeeze any more out of the bag.
  6. Remove the piping bag from the tip. Rinse out the tip and fit it into a clean piping bag. Repeat piping with remaining batches of sugar mixture.
  7. Once all of the colors have been piped, set the trays in a cool area and let them sit for 24 hours. At this point, the long lines of sprinkles should be completely dried out.
  8. Use a knife or bench scraper to cut the lines into short sprinkles. Mix together in an airtight storage container, and use for ice cream cones, sundaes, cupcakes, and other dessert projects.

Recipe: DIY Ice Cream Cones

Makes 8 cones

    Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
    Equipment:

  • Parchment paper
  • 1 6-inch round bowl
  • 1–2 rimmed baking sheets
  • 1 10-inch round pie plate or cake pan
  • 1 piece poster board, at least 10 inches wide
  • Aluminum foil
  • 1 small offset spatula
    Instructions:

  1. Adjust an oven rack to middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Using the 6-inch bowl as a guide, trace two 6-inch circles on a sheet of parchment paper. Flip parchment paper over and place on a rimmed baking sheet. (Recommended: Repeat with a second sheet of parchment paper and second rimmed baking sheet.) Using the 10-inch round pie plate, trace and cut out a 10-inch circle from the poster board. Cut the circle into quarters. Bring the straight sides of each quarter-circle together and slightly overlap to make a cone. Tape the cone to secure it and then cover the cone with aluminum foil, keeping the foil as smooth as possible.
  2. In a small saucepan or skillet over medium-low heat, melt the butter and honey together. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg, egg white, vanilla, and salt. Whisk in half of the flour, and then whisk in the melted butter and honey mixture. Whisk in the rest of the flour until smooth.
  4. Drop a heaping tablespoon of batter into the center of each outlined 6-inch circle on the prepared parchment paper. Using the small offset spatula, spread the batter out into an even circle. Use the stenciled circle as a guide. Bake until the cookies are golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking.
  5. Working quickly, gently run a spatula underneath each cooked cone round to loosen them from the parchment. Place one prepared cone just off the center of the cone rounds, making sure the tip of the mold is about 1/4 inch from the edge. Use the spatula to lift the edge of the cone round onto the mold, and then tightly roll the cone round around the mold to form a cone. Press firmly on the outside seam of cone to seal. Flip the cone upside down, still on the mold, to cool. Repeat with the remaining cookie. If the cookies become too hard to roll, return them to oven for 30 seconds to 1 minute to soften.
  6. Once the cones are cool enough to handle, gently twist them out of the molds and place them upright in a glass to finish cooling.
  7. Repeat the process on a cool baking sheet with the remaining batter. If the parchment becomes too wrinkled to form flat cones, discard parchment and trace new circles on a fresh sheet. The cones are best on the day they’re made, but they can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Related

Explore: , , , ,

Category: baking and bakeries, Bay Area Bites Food + Drink, cooking techniques and tips, dessert and chocolate, DIY, foraging, urban homesteading, kids and family, recipes

About the Author ()

Kate Williams grew up outside of Atlanta, where twenty-pound baskets of peaches were an end-of-summer tradition. After spending time in Boston developing recipes for America's Test Kitchen and pretending to be a New Englander, she moved to sunny Berkeley. Here she works as a personal chef and food writer, covering topics ranging from taco trucks to modernist cookbooks. In addition to KQED's Bay Area Bites, Kate's work appears on Serious Eats, Berkeleyside NOSH, The Oxford American, America's Test Kitchen cookbooks, and Food52.