Add a little magic to your life with these prancing unicorn sugar cookies. Gold luster dust applied with a paint brush gives them their golden manes.
Has the food world gone unicorn crazy? Yes, and count me in! I love seeing everyone’s culinary interpretation of what qualifies as ‘unicorn’. So far the criteria seems to be any food that is rainbow swirled, piled with colorful candy and maybe has some kind of edible horn attached.
This unicorn dessert is a bit more literal. I had plans for wild rainbow pony hair and glittering hooves, but none of that felt right. These gals were determined to be more dainty. I really love how they turned out because they remind me of storybook illustrations.
I will never ever tire of sugar cookies, and when I make them I always save a plain one to eat with my coffee the next morning. Here I’ve used my favorite vanilla sugar cookie recipe (again!) from the Sprinkle Bakes book. To make these, you’ll need this unicorn cookie cutter. I used ready-made white rolled fondant on these cookies, but if you’re anti-fondant then I suggest using this icing recipe and omit the pink food color.
Gold lustre dust and a little clear vanilla extract mixed together creates gold paint for the unicorn’s mane, tail, hooves and horn. A single black sugar pearl pressed into the fondant is used for the eye. Last Christmas I discovered fine-tipped food color writers (remember this Spirograph post?), and the black marker makes drawing all the details on these cookies easy.
I used a dry brush loaded with a little red powdered food colorto give this small army of unicorns a pinkie blush. I recommend loading the brush and first brushing the color on a piece of scrap parchment paper. This will remove some of the color and avoid making your unicorns look sunburned (ha!).
These cookies were so much much fun to make, and I think we could all use a little unicorn magic in our lives.
Unicorn Sugar Cookies
- unicorn cookie cutter
Sugar cookie dough
- 1/2 lb. two US sticks unsalted butter
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons 225g granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 cups 380g all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 lb. ready-made white fondant
- Powdered sugar
- Parchment paper
- Gold lustre dust
- Clear vanilla extract
- Fine-tipped black food color marker
- Black sugar pearls
- Red powdered food color
- Small soft hair art brush
For the cookies
- In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar together until just incorporated. Do not over-mix at this stage, or the cookies may spread while baking.
- Add the egg and vanilla extract. Mix again on low speed, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl intermittently as needed.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add to the butter and egg mixture. Mix on low speed until a dough is formed and there are no longer any streaks of butter in the mixing bowl. The dough will often clump around the paddle attachment while being mixed. This is normal and a good sign that your dough is the right consistency. If your mixture does not come together and is crumbly, add ice cold water 1 tbsp. at a time until the dough clumps. Roll the dough flat between sheets of parchment paper and chill until ready for use, at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Use a 4.5-inch unicorn cookie cutter to stamp shapes from the dough and transfer them to the prepared pans. Bake cookies for 12-15 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly brown on the edges. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Remove the fondant from the packaging and knead well with your hands for 3-5 minutes. If the fondant sticks to your hands at any time during the kneading, dust it with 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar. Lay a piece of parchment paper out onto a work surface and flatten the fondant slightly. Top with a second piece of parchment and roll using a rolling pin to 1/4-inch thickness. Use the unicorn cookie cutter to stamp shapes from the fondant. Re-roll scraps and cut more unicorn shapes.
- Brush a little water on the backs of the fondant unicorn shapes and place them onto the cookies. Mix gold lustre dust and drops of clear vanilla extract in a small bowl until a medium-bodied paint is formed. Brush the paint over the horn, mane, tail and hooves; let dry about 10 minutes. Use the fine-tipped black marker to outline the mane, horn, tail and hooves of each unicorn. Move the side of the pen against the top edge of the fondant to completely outline the shape. Draw diagonal lines on the horn, a small triangle on the ear, and an ‘L’ shape nostril at the end of the muzzle. Load a dry brush with red powdered food color and blot on a piece of scrap paper. Gently and lightly brush the powder onto the cookies in a circular motion. Deepen the color at the cheeks, hind legs and forelegs; leave the body of the unicorns mostly white.
- Keep cookies sealed airtight for longevity. Cookies keep for about 2 weeks.