We admit that we have long thought sprinkles are added AFTER baking. We’ve tried brushing on sugar water and watering down icing to make a glaze to make the sprinkles stick.
Our next thought was that we would need to press the sprinkles into the dough to get them to stick. And while pressing is necessary for very large nonpareils, it is not how to do it for your run of the mill sprinkles.
But finally we learned how to get the sprinkles on BEFORE the bake so that they will stick to the cookies without additional icing.
Here is the simple answer:
Water. Brushing the surface of your cookie with a bit of water will slightly gum up the surface enough to make sprinkles stick while applying and while baking!
It’s actually so simple. And it does not affect how the cookie looks or bakes. Some people might suggest an egg wash, but that will cause the cookie to bake darker and shinier.
And BONUS…all sprinkles that fall off the sugar cookies when you are applying get caught by the pan and not all over your counter when you try and apply after baking! Less clean up! That’s a win!