Father's Day is June 16

You know what's inside your Brita filter, right? Charcoal. You know the best way to keep the fridge from smelling bad? Put a piece of charcoal in it.

Due to its purifying effects, people in Japan take powdered charcoal as a daily supplement, and some people even say it saves you from radiation. There's no scientific proof in this, but there is hope.

So I asked my mom to send me a pack of charcoal powder so that I can incorporate it into my baking to make goth-looking stuff.

There are two types of powdered charcoals, one is made out of wood, and the other is made out of bamboo. There isn't much difference in consistency, but wood is usually more expensive. Being from Wakayama prefecture, where bincho-tan charcoal is from, my mother found a pack of bincho-tan powder.  The smart lady sent me a big pack of it.

Yep, it looks like powdered charcoal.

Since the powder has no flavor, it is basically used to add the color black. Usually the choice for black color is squid ink or black food coloring. Squid ink adds a slight taste of the sea, and who knows what's in black food coloring. So powdered charcoal is definitely a good alternative to add the color black into foods.

In my first experiment, I tried making a bi-colored sandwich bread. I should have sifted the charcoal in with the other dry ingredients, since adding it later during the kneading stage created a marbled pattern.

It rose perfectly.

I braided it and put it into bread pan.

I may have added too much yeast... Oh well, this was a color trial...


I like this, each slice has a different face.

Sort of brushstroke-esque and cool.

Making macarons with charcoal may be a revolutionary. When adding color to macarons, you usually add food coloring, but as you know macarons are such sensitive bitches and a little bit of oil in the food coloring sometimes screws up the entire batch. But charcoal powder seems to work pretty well, plus about 1 tbsp of the powder makes it a super dark slate color, which is very fun.

They kinda look like oreos, but a lot more effort has been put in here.

Black and white macarons are perfect as a cool gift, definitely packed in black box, with white strings.

Don't you think?

What should I make next with the charcoal? Any suggestions are appreciated. I can totally see Grant Achatz going nuts over this stuff.
Column: MOTOism


  • I want to buy this activated charcoal for food preparation kindly advice from where I can order

    Vinod on

  • Activated charcoal can be purchased at most US pharmacies. It’s usually next to where all the white and black labeled chemicals are for people who make their own creams, etc.
    Or, just ask the person at the pharmacy counter- they’ll know, or order it.
    It’s commonly given to help with gas pains, or as an antidote in certain types of poisonings from household chemicals. Coming from the pharmacy, it is safe to consume.

    johnny108 on

  • Hi, I love this so much!

    Have you tried making your own charcoal powder? I’m very keen to try this but would be unsure how to make anything that’s safe to consume, do you have any ideas?

    Thank you!

    Flora on

  • Hi! I used powder charcoal in my icing, it came out beautiful! No need of black food coloring anymore! Great!

    CLaudia on

  • Fondant , black fondant please , kinda asap ?

    Abjilasha on

  • I just made some charcoal and chocolate macarons… gonna put a mint buttercream as the filling. When I told my family I was gonna us charcoal in my macaron they said they wouldnt try it. too bad for them. lol

    samantha o on

  • Charcoal doesn’t change any flavor whatsoever, and I feel it makes a tad drier shells (no scientific proof, but maybe charcoal sucks moisture out better than usual?) which works pretty well when adding wet cream in between.

    Moto on

  • Wow! What a great idea. I think this is the first time I’ve seen anything cooked with charcoal powder. I do have some at home so maybe I’ll try! Does charcoal change the flavor profile of the macarons at all?

    esther on

  • Cool stuff. I tasted a charcoal bun today at Hinoki and the Bird in LA. They make a lobster roll with a black charcoal powder bun. It’s strange to think of black/grey colored bread, but it didn’t taste very different from white.

    Liz Laing on

  • that looks amazing! at first i thought the macarons had gold dust flecks in them but was thrown off by the shiny bokeh. i’d love to see a cheesecake utilizing charcoal – could be an interesting play on black and white layering w/red or berries on top.

    chungy on

  • Looks beautiful!

    How about black ice cream or anything black milk producty? Black layer cake would be slightly nasty. Or black chicken wings.

    How would it look to place white tulips in charcoal water – would they become shades of grey?

    Anders on

  • Hi I just found your blog through a link from another blog that was discussing charcoal powder in baking. I was wondering if you would be willing to share your recipe for the charcoal macarons? I would love to try and make them. Thanks in advance.

    Kristin on

  • Hi, where can I buy the powder?

    BumiLangkawi on

  • I found your blog through looking up how to make icing black with charcoal (making my son’s Darth Vader birthday cake). Will the charcoal cause digestive issues for the kids? How much is ok to use? Thanks! Love your bread and macaroons!

    Ria on

  • Since I can’t find what makes black food coloring ‘black’, I am going to try tinting royal icing with charcoal to make it black.I want to make some halloween cookies.

    Karen Nowak on

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published