AskDefine | Define sprinkles

Dictionary Definition

sprinkles n : bits of sweet chocolate used as a topping on e.g. ice cream [syn: jimmies]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. (always plural) Small candy or sugar pieces that are sprinkled over other confections.
    He had a double ice cream cone, with sprinkles.


  1. Third person singular simple present of to sprinkle.

Extensive Definition

This is about the decorations for sweet foods; for other uses, see Sprinkles (disambiguation).
Sprinkles (sometimes known as "jimmies" or "hundreds-and-thousands"; see below) are very small pieces of confectionery used as a decoration or to add texture to desserts – typically cakes or cupcakes, cookies, doughnuts, ice cream, 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, being nearly flavorless. In the Netherlands, chocolate sprinkles, or "hagelslag," are used as sandwich topping for sandwiches with sweet contents, this is also common in Indonesia, once a colony of Netherlands
In New England, the multicolor confectionary candy are known as sprinkles, and the chocolate ones are known as jimmies.
Dutch hagelslag was first invented in 1936 by Gerard de Vries for Venz, 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. 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.
Popular terminology tends to overlap, while manufacturers are more precise with their labeling. What consumers call sprinkles covers several types of candy decorations which are sprinkled informally over a surface rather than 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 for holidays or themes, such as Halloween witches and pumpkins, or flowers and dinosaurs.
  • Sanding sugar, which is a transparent crystal sugar of larger size than general-use refined white 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."
  • 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 hundreds-and-thousands, and multi-colored. However, British hundreds-and-thousands may also be spherical. In Australia and New Zealand, hundreds-and-thousands (always spherical) are almost always eaten on top of patty cakes or on buttered bread as fairy bread, as festive items at children's birthday parties. In the northeastern United States, sprinkles are often referred to as jimmies. Most New Englanders consider jimmies to be chocolate and sprinkles to be the multi-colored variety, while the term "jimmies" is used more generically elsewhere. A 1997 rumor falsely claimed that the name "jimmies" was a racist reference.
The sprinkles known as nonpareils in French and American English are tiny opaque spheres which were traditionally white, but now come in many colors. They 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 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 which are more similar in consistency to another type of candy, even if used similarly to sprinkles, are usually known by variation of that candy's name — for example, mini-chocolate chips—or praline.
An interesting alternative use for sprinkles is the confetti cake. In this dessert, sprinkles are mixed with the batter, where they slowly dissolve and form little dots, 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.


sprinkles in Indonesian: Coklat butir
sprinkles in Malay (macrolanguage): Coklat beras
sprinkles in Dutch: Hagelslag
sprinkles in Kölsch: Hagelslag
sprinkles in Finnish: Strösseli
sprinkles in Swedish: Strössel
sprinkles in Vlaams: Muzestrountjes
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