All You Need To Know about Dessert Toppings

all about dessert toppings

Curious to know more about Dessert Toppings? In this post, you’ll learn all you need to know. Sprinkles are considered to be tiny pieces of confectionery that are generally used as a part of food decoration or to add texture to various desserts such as cupcakes, brownies, ice creams and doughnuts. These candies are made available in a tiny form having several colours. This candy is generally used as a topping in different desserts. 

It acts as a decorative element and makes the dessert attractive so that it can catch the attention of passersby. The Dictionary of American Regional English defines sprinkles as ‘tiny balls or rod-shaped bits of candy which is used as a topping in ice cream, cakes and other things. 

To know more about this candy, we researched about this and collected some valuable information. Let’s discuss this data in brief so that one can clearly understand what a sprinkle is and why it is used as a topping in most desserts.

The Different Names of Dessert Toppings

In countries like the United Kingdom and other Anglophonic commonwealth countries, these dessert toppings candies are used to get denoted by various signifiers. For example, hundreds and thousands are considered to be the most famous denotation which is used in Britain as well as Anglophonic Oceania (which can also be considered as Australia and New Zealand) in order to refer to this candy and nonpareils. 

Another United Kingdom variant for this candy is termed Vermicelli, especially when the candy is made of pure chocolate. This name seems to be borrowed from Egyptian Arabic, known as farmasil.

In regions like Philadelphia and Boston, people use the word jimmies to refer to dessert toppings. Till now, the origin of the word jimmies is a mystery, but it was first used in 1930 to refer to the candies that were put over the cake as toppings. The Just Born Candy Company of Bethlehem, PA, has claimed that they are the inventor of the word jimmies and named it after one of their employees; this is considered unlikely.

Another unlikely claim for the invention of the word jimmies came from Dr Sidney Farber and Edward Brigham. The Dana Farber Cancer Institute at Boston, Massachusetts, was co-founded by Dr Farber. He also opened a charity in the name of one of his child patients, 

The Jimmy Fund. Edward Brigham decided to open an ice cream parlour and named it Brigham’s. Brigham’s was charging an extra penny for chocolate toppings over the ice cream. This, in turn, benefitted the Jimmy Fund. The Fund started in the year 1948, immediately after the first historical reference.

In Connecticut and some other places in the United States, these candies are considered shots. 

dessert toppingsHistory of Sprinkles

It is believed that nonpareils date back at least to the late 18th century and not earlier than that. Back then, these candies were used as decoration for desserts. At that time also these candies were used to make the dessert attractive and eye-catching.

Dutch Hageslag (also known as sprinkles) was invented in the year 1913 by Erven H. De Jong, who is from Wormerveer. Another Dutch company known as Venz was responsible for making Hageslag popular among people. 

Hageslags were generally used in bread at that point in time. In order to hold off the Hageslags in the bread and prevent it from falling, chefs spread out butter over the bread. After doing a number of researches, de Vries and Venz were successful in creating a machine that can produce tiny cylindrical treats; this was the first of his kind and was very helpful in making these toppings. 

These candies were named hageslag after their resemblance to a common weather condition in the Netherlands known as Hail. Hageslags having a cocoa percentage of over 32% were given the name chocoladehagelslag, and those who have a cocoa percentage of less than 32%, they’re referred to as cacaofantasie hagelslag.

The candy company Just Born claims that its founder, Sam Born, invented the name jimmies for these tiny candies. They claim that the name was invented by Sam in Brooklyn, New York. However, it is said that advertisement for chocolate candies like this was seen in the year 1921, which is predating Just born for two years.

A similar product which is known as sanding sugar was there in the market. It was available in a small range of colours for a decade. Now it is sold in different varieties, including black and metallic-like glitter.

Types of Dessert Toppings

Popular terminology for these candies tends to overlap while manufacturers are becoming more precise and careful with their labelling. What customers often call candies includes a lot of varieties that are sold in the market. 

So it is important to name each candy so that it will be easy to distinguish it from the others. Nonpareils, confetti, silver, gold and pearl dragees are not to be confused with pearl sugars (which get sprinkled on baked goods), and hundreds and thousands are also used in the same way as the above candies. Recently some new products are getting introduced in the market which is known as sugar shapes and sequins. 

These candies are made available with different shapes having various flavours for holidays and themes such as Halloween witches and pumpkins or flowers and dinosaurs. Candy cane shapes are one type of candy that might taste like peppermint and gingerbread. Men usually like gingerbread cookies.

Sanding sugar is considered a transparent crystal sugar that is large in size compared to the general sugars that are sold in the market. Crystal sugar is considered to be clear and has much larger crystals as compared to sanding sugars. They are used in various candies to make them taste and look better.


Sprinkles are one of the best things which help to make a dessert look beautiful and make them tasty. This tiny form of candies that are available in a lot of colours can attract many people, thus increasing the popularity of a particular dessert. They look not only beautiful but also taste good when used as a topping over different desserts.


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