Unicorn decorated sugar cookies

As if my love for pastel colors hadn’t hit an all-time high, this next dessert recipe takes it to a whole new level. If you’re schedule is looking a lot like mine lately (peppered with baby showers and birthdays for little ones) it’s safe to say that keeping simple and delicious treat recipes on hand is a must. With busy days ahead, I can appreciate spending less time in the kitchen yet still managing to create something beautiful and tasty. Lucky for me, my friend and LaurenConrad.com resident baker Lauren Lowstan made my life a whole lot easier when she whipped up these magical sugar cookies for my latest soiree.

I’m not kidding when I say that these unicorn and rainbow sugar cookies are out of this world. They’re simple and sweet and will have everyone reaching for seconds. I am seriously loving this playful twist on a classic sugar cookie—and the best part is that you don’t have to be a professional to bring this dessert to life. Keep scrolling to find the complete step-by-step tutorial to turn your next party into something magical…

Unicorn and rainbow sugar cookies recipe

Ingredients: 

For the cookies:

  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 6 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • unicorn and rainbow shaped cookie cutters

For the royal icing:

  • 2 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 7 tablespoons water, plus a little bit more
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • gel food coloring in green, blue, purple, yellow, and pink
  • gold disco dust
  • vodka, or clear vanilla or almond extract
  • small paintbrushes
  • paper towels

Instructions:

For the sugar cookies: 

1. In a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla for about 3 minutes, until well mixed and creamy.

2. Add the eggs and mix until incorporated.

3. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl.

4. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients into the sugar-butter mixture and beat just until incorporated.

5. Chill the dough for about 20 minutes in the refrigerator. Once the dough is chilled, roll it out on a lightly floured surface until the dough is about ¼-inch thick.

6. Cut out cookies with your unicorn and rainbow cookie cutters and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Chill in the freezer until the cookies are rock solid.

7. Once your cookies have hardened, immediately bake them in a 350-degree oven for about 6-10 minutes. You don’t want the cookies to turn golden at all.

8. Let the cookies cool completely before icing.

For the royal icing:

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the meringue powder and 7 tablespoons of water until frothy.

2. Add in all of the powdered sugar and beat with a paddle attachment for a couple of minutes, until thick and fluffy. Tip: Don’t skimp on this step! The longer you beat it, the fluffier it will become. At first it may look too thin, but it will thicken up the longer you beat it. This will be for your piping and outlining.

3. Once thick and fluffy, add some to a piping bag fitted with a #3 or #4 piping tip. Set aside.

4. Now, make the rest of your icing a tad thinner to flood your cookies by adding a couple more tablespoons of water and beating for a couple more minutes. Add in more water if need be. Add this to a large piping bag without a tip and set aside. Tip: Make sure to keep your royal icing covered with plastic wrap at all times. If it sits out, air will harden it.

5. Take your thicker royal icing (the first batch) and outline all of your cookies. This will create a dam and trap in the thinner icing.

6. Once you’ve finished outlining all of your cookies, flood them with the thinner icing. Cut a small tip off of the end of your piping bag and start to fill in with the icing. Once each cookie is finished, hold onto the sides of each cookie and lightly tap it down on your work surface. This helps to bring all of the air bubbles to the surface of the cookie. Tip: If you see a major air bubble you can pop it with a toothpick!

7. Let your cookies harden until the royal icing is completely dry, at least 12 hours. Yes you read that correctly…the longer the better!

8. Now it’s time to decorate. Add a teaspoon full of vodka or extract of choice to 5 small bowls. With a toothpick, add a tiny dot of each color into the bowls. Tip: A little food coloring goes a long way. If your vodka or extract looks too dark and you’d like to lighten it up a bit, just add more vodka or extract.

9. Fold up a paper towel and set it on your work surface. Starting with one color, dip your paintbrush into the colored vodka or extract and lightly tap the excess onto the paper towel. Tap the brush in random spots onto each cookie. Make sure to leave room for the rest of the colors!

10.  Repeat step 9 and finish until the cookies are covered in all the colors.

11. Add a small amount of gold disco dust, and a couple drops of vodka or extract into a small bowl, until a thin paste forms. Trace the outlines of every cookie. Let icing dry completely and enjoy your magical treats!

The prettiest unicorn cookies

Will you be baking up some magic in the kitchen this week?

Let me know if you do in the comments!

XO Lauren

Photos: Valorie Darling for LaurenConrad.com
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