I always use Americolor food gels. For me, they are the best quality and they do a great job especially with darker colors such as black, red, brown and green.
I make black two ways – either with white icing or a mixture of leftover icing. One thing that is great about creating black is you can take any color of leftover icing and make it black. You just want to make sure it’s not too old. After mixing if your icing has a grainy or weird look I would not use it and go with a fresh batch of icing.
I typically mix about 1 teaspoon of black gel color to one cup of icing to start out. It seems like a lot but trust me, a little goes a long way. You always want to start out more conservative because you can always add more gel color.
Here’s the biggest tip for making black icing. You might notice that in these pictures the black icing is not completely a saturated black. That’s because your darker colors (black, red, green, brown) will deepen over time. it will deepen while they sit in the bowl and will even deepen once it’s on the cookie.
If you have the time, let the color sit in the bowl for a few hours. Your icing color will deepen. If you don’t have the time you can go ahead and begin to work with it just remember to color your icing 1-2 shades LIGHTER than the actual color you want to achieve.
Black icing requires a lot of food gel but be mindful that there is such a thing as too much gel. Too much color can result in your cookies looking splotchy and weird after they dry.
Here are the highlights to remember:
- Mix your Black Icing to 1-2 shades lighter than the color you want to achieve. I like to say if you need black go for the color charcoal.
- You can use leftover icing to make you black icing. Just make sure it’s not too old and looks grainy.
- If you are making these for a big event like a wedding or party make you want to use black as sparingly as possible since it will turn your mouth and teeth black/purple. I try to stere customers away from having a solid black cookies and encourage black details and such.
- If you are making black cookies in bulk like for a wedding (tuxedos etc) or chalkboards invest in a larger bottle like the 13oz.