I love the way the painted pearl dust colors look on cakes! However, I am looking to paint without mixing alcohol. I have heard that high concentrated lemon extract can be used...but that's kind of expensive. Does anyone have any ideas? tips?
Well lemon extract is 35% alcohol. It's available in bulk (16 ounce bottles and up) from bakery supply stores and online.
Is there a religious reason?
The alcohol is used because it's certified edible and it dries fast. There are several materials that dry fast but they are POISON so you are stuck with alcohol.
To paint, if you want/need it to dry, you use something edible with alcohol in it: Everclear, gin, vodka, white rum OR good quality lemon extract (mine is 86% alcohol).
In the end, the alcohol evaporates--it's just the "carrying" medium. The evaporation is actually the drying process in action.
If you don't need it to dry, you can mix powdered colors with a bit of canola oil and you get a lovely translucent painting. You can also use melted cocoa butter with powdered colors or with oil based candy colors, but you need to work quickly because it will glob up on the brush.
Baking Irene: I know that lemon extracts have alcohol... bummer :/
I am still experimenting..
BlakesCakes: Canola oil sounds interesting, I will be trying that as well. I have diluted my gel colors with plain water, and painted them on gumpaste. It does take an overnight to dry. but it dries eventually!
OK so try piping gel which will dry faster than water.
I shall! thanks for your help!