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For other uses, see Sprinkles (disambiguation). This article or section has multiple issues. Please help improve the article or discuss these issues on the talk page. It needs additional references or sources for verification. Tagged since November 2009. Sections should be added to this article, to conform with Wikipedia's Manual of Style. Tagged since October 2009. Hundreds-and-Thousands

Sprinkles (also known as jimmies or Hundreds-and-Thousands, or by many other names) are very small pieces of confectionery used as a decoration or to add texture to desserts – typically cupcakes, cookies, doughnuts, ice cream, frozen yogurt, and some puddings. The candies, which are produced in a variety of colors, are usually too small to be eaten individually and are in any case not intended to be eaten by themselves.



Birthday cupcakes with colored sprinkles Sprinkles, chocolate syrup and whipped cream on top of icecream.

Popular terminology for this confection tends to overlap, while manufacturers are more precise with their labeling. What consumers often call ``sprinkles`` covers several types of candy decorations that are sprinkled randomly over a surface, as opposed to decorations that are placed in specific spots. Sanding sugar; crystal sugar; nonpareils; silver, gold, and pearl dragées — not to be confused with pearl sugar (which is also sprinkled on baked goods); and hundreds-and-thousands are all used this way, along with a newer product called ``sugar shapes`` or ``sequins.`` These latter come in a variety of shapes, often flavored, for holidays or themes, such as Halloween witches and pumpkins, or flowers and dinosaurs. Candy cane shapes may taste like peppermint, and gingerbread men like gingerbread cookies.

Sanding sugar is a transparent crystal sugar of larger size than general-use refined white sugar. Crystal sugar tends to be clear and of much larger crystals than sanding sugar. Pearl sugar is relatively large, opaque white spheroids of sugar. Both crystal and pearl sugars are typically used for sprinkling on sweet breads, pastries, and cookies in many countries.

Some American manufacturers deem the elongated opaque sprinkles the official sprinkles. In British English, these are sugar strands or hundreds-and-thousands (the latter term is often used to refer to the multi-colored [rather than the chocolate] type). In the northeastern United States, sprinkles are often referred to as jimmies. Jimmies are considered to be chocolate and sprinkles to be the multi-colored variety, while the term ``jimmies`` is used more generically elsewhere.[1]

The sprinkles known as nonpareils in French and American English are tiny opaque spheres that were traditionally white, but that now come in many colors. The sprinkle-type of dragée is like a large nonpareil with a metallic coating of silver, gold, copper, or bronze. The traditional almond dragées (confetti in Italian) are not sprinkles, although they are sprinkled on people at weddings and other celebrations. The food-sprinkle dragée is now also made in a form resembling pearls.

Toppings that are more similar in consistency to another type of candy, even if used similarly to sprinkles, are usually known by a variation of that candy's name — for example, mini-chocolate chips or praline.


Nonpareils date back at least to the late 18th-century, if not earlier. French confectioners may have named them for being ``without equal`` as delicate decoration for pièces montées and desserts.

The Just Born Candy Company claims to have invented ``jimmies`` (named then after the employee who made them) but do not claim to have invented chocolate sprinkles in general.[2]

Dutch hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles) was first invented in 1936 by Gerard de Vries for Venz[3] , a Dutch company made popular by said treat. Several letters to Venz from a five-year-old boy, H. Bakker, asking for a chocolate bread topping, inspired and prompted de Vries's development of sprinkles.[citation needed] After much research and venture, de Vries and Venz created the first machine to produce the tiny cylindrical treats. They were named ``Hagelslag`` after their resemblance to a weather phenomenon prominent in the Netherlands, hail.

Sanding sugar has been commercially available in a small range of colors for decades. Now it comes in a wide variety, including black, and metallic-like ``glitter.``


In the Netherlands and Belgium, sprinkles – hagelslag – are commonly used as a sandwich topping.

Sprinkles generally require frosting in order to stick to the desired food surface. They can be most commonly found on smaller confections such as cupcakes or frosted sugar cookies, as these generally have more frosting and smaller diameter than do cakes.

In the Netherlands, chocolade hagelslag is used as a sandwich topping (similar to muisjes and vlokken); this is also common in Belgium and Indonesia, once a colony of the Netherlands.[4]. These countries also use vruchtenhagel and anijshagel (made of sugar and fruit/anise taste respectively) on sandwiches (mainly at breakfast).

A dessert called confetti cake has sprinkles mixed with the batter, where they slowly dissolve and form little colored spots, giving the appearance of confetti. Confetti cakes are popular for children's birthdays in the United States. The Pillsbury Company sells its own variation known as ``Funfetti`` cake, incorporating a sprinkle-like substance into the mix.[5]

The term ``hundreds and thousands`` to refer to sprinkles appears in Agatha Christie's mystery novel The Thirteen Problems. It also appears in a cookie recipe at the back of Tomie dePaola's children's book ``Jingle the Christmas Clown,`` though it was published in the United States (perhaps this is because the recipe was originally created by Mary Ann Esposito, host of ``Ciao Italia,`` a U.S. public television cooking program).[6]

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Sprinkles Confetti


^ The Capital Times - August 1, 2006 ^ Just Born Fun Facts; see also their photograph of a package of jimmies (on page 4 of their photo gallery, dated to the 1930s and showing a trademark symbol. ^ Venz ^ The Chocolate Sprinkle Sandwich ^ Pillsbury ^ dePaola, Tomie (1993). Jingle the Christmas Clown. New York: Scholastic, Inc.