Rainbows and unicorns

I don’t know about you, but I could definitely use some good vibes right about now. And so, I present: unicorn and rainbow cookies.

rainbow and unicorn

I tried some new-to-me methods when decorating these cookies, and some worked better than others. But really, how can you go wrong with unicorns and rainbows?

whoops

Instead of using colored icing to decorate the unicorns’ manes, I filled in the mane area with white flood icing, then covered them in rainbow sprinkles.

decorating unicorns

Then I just went back afterward and filled in the rest of the unicorns’ faces with more white icing. I also did the clouds for the rainbows while I was working with the white icing. For the actual rainbows and the rainbow unicorn horns, I had all five colors of flood icing ready (you don’t want it too runny, or it will run right off the cookies) and piped all the colors onto two or three cookies at a time, in color order. You can use a toothpick or something to make sure there are no holes or gaps in between the colors, but if the icing is the right consistency, it will stay basically where you put it but still dry flat with the other colors.

rainbow cookies

unicorn cookies

I also tried a thing where I put all five piping bags into one bag and then tried to pipe all the colors at once (sort of like what Bridget did with her candy corn unicorns). But, I wasn’t really into the results.

weird unicorns

However, I WAS really excited about how the other cookies turned out. Rainbows and unicorns make everything better.

unicorn and rainbow cookies

Unicorn and rainbow cookies (I doubled this to make a bunch of cookies, but this should make you at least two dozen)
2 sticks (1 cup/225 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg (at room temperature is best)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400F (my oven here is weird so I set it to about 170C for basically everything), unless you want to chill the dough.

Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy*. Beat in egg and vanilla. In another bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt.

Add flour mixture to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. You don’t have to chill the dough, but you can if you’d like. Cover baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.

On a clean, floured surface, roll each ball out to about 1/8-inch thick. Cut using unicorn and rainbow cookie cutters dipped in flour.

If you didn’t chill the dough, stick the cookie sheets into the fridge for about 10 minutes before baking – it helps them keep their shape.

Bake cookies until they’re very lightly browned on the edges, 6-10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on pan for a few minutes, then move to a cooling rack (or flat plate).

*If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can use a regular hand-held electric mixer. Just make sure the butter-sugar mixture is very fluffy before you add the rest of the ingredients.

Royal icing (Two notes: I haven’t been able to find powdered egg whites in Bahrain, so I have been buying Wilton meringue powder and using the royal icing recipe on/in the package. I do prefer this recipe, though. Also, you should double it if you double the cookie recipe)
1 pound powdered sugar (also called “confectioners sugar”)
4 teaspoons powdered egg whites (usually available with the baking supplies)
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
food coloring gel (I used Americolor bright white, super red, orange, lemon yellow, leaf green, and sky blue)
piping bags (I use the disposable kind), tips, couplers and rubber bands (you can also use small squeeze bottles if you’d prefer — and you can attach Wilton tips and couplers to the Wilton ones)
Rainbow sprinkles

Prepare your piping bags and/or squeeze bottles, all with relatively small tips (Wilton #3 is good). Set all the cookies out on clean cookie sheets or trays.

Place the powdered sugar and powdered egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and turn on low for a few seconds to combine. With the mixer still going on low, gradually pour the water, lemon juice and vanilla into the bowl.

Once the powdered sugar is all wet, turn the mixer up to medium or medium-high speed and beat for a few minutes, watching after the first minute or so until the mixture gets past the liquidy phase and looks glossy and firm. (You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl at some point to get everything well combined). You can check whether it’s mixed enough by turning off the mixer and pulling the paddle attachment up. If the peaks stand straight up or just bend a little at the top, it’s ready.

Separate the icing into six parts — one that is about half the total, and then five that are roughly equal to each other. Use food coloring gel to make the largest portion of icing white, and place some of that white icing into a piping bag (test it out by piping it into the bowl). Cover the rest of the white icing by pressing a piece of plastic wrap down on the surface of the icing.

Dye the other five bowls of icing red, orange, yellow, green, and blue. Thin one color at a time by adding about a tablesppon of water, stirring, and then adding a tiny bit more water and stirring. I’ve found it’s easier to stir with a mini spatula than a spoon, but either will work. To test for the correct consistency, drag a spoon, knife, or spatula through the middle of the bowl and count how many seconds it takes for the icing to smooth itself out. You want the icing to take between 12 and 18 seconds to smooth out — if it takes longer, you need to add a little more water. Once the icing is the correct consistency (similar to honey), put it in a squeeze bottle or piping bag with a cover on the tip.

To decorate the cookies: Use the white icing (not thinned) to outline the unicorns (except for their horns), and then pipe another zigzag line to make an outline all around the mane area. Outline the clouds on the rainbow cookies.

Put the remaining white icing from the piping bag back into the original white icing bowl. Thin the icing out using the method above. Once it is the desired consistency, put it in a piping bag or squeeze bottle. Use it to fill in the mane area of a few cookies, then cover that with rainbow sprinkles while the frosting is still wet. Brush off excess sprinkles. Once all the unicorn manes are covered in sprinkles, use the rest of the thinned white icing to fill in the rest of the unicorns, and the clouds.

For the rainbows, working two to three cookies at a time, pipe the red, orange, yellow, green, and blue icing onto the cookies, next to each other. Use a toothpick to spread the icing out/fill in any holes if necessary. Use the remaining frosting to decorate the rainbow unicorn horns.

Allow the cookies to dry overnight.

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