Sugar-cookie "rabbits" and "carrots" are frosted with royal icing and painted with a bright mixture of luster dust and water for these festive treats. Hand the kids a paintbrush and let them help decorate—it's the ultimate Easter activity!


Credit: Bryan Gardner

Recipe Summary

1 hr 25 mins
7 hrs 35 mins
Makes 36


Royal Icing


Instructions Checklist
  • Royal Icing: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat confectioners' sugar, meringue powder, and 2/3 cup water on low speed until smooth, about 7 minutes. Icing should be the consistency of glue. (If icing is too thick, mix in a little more water. If icing is too thin, add more confectioners' sugar.) Use immediately, or store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 week. Stir before using.

  • Cookies: Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat together butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. Divide dough in half; shape each half into a flat disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Let one disk stand at room temperature until slightly softened, about 10 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to just under 1/4 inch thick, adding more flour as needed to keep dough from sticking. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Using a 3-inch bunny- or carrot-shaped cutter, cut out cookies; transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets. Reroll scraps once; cut out more shapes. Repeat with remaining disk. Freeze until very firm, about 15 minutes.

  • Bake, switching positions of sheets and rotating halfway through, until edges are light golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer sheets to wire racks and let cool completely.

  • Transfer icing to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip (such as Ateco #3). Pipe a thin line of icing around the border of each cookie. Pipe an even layer of icing in center of cookies; using a toothpick, spread icing into corners and edges of cookies. Let stand at room temperature until set, at least 2 hours.

  • Place 1/4 teaspoon of each luster dust color in separate small bowls. Add 1 teaspoon water to each bowl and stir to combine. Working with one color at a time, use a small food-safe paintbrush to paint brushstrokes over surface of cookies, applying pressure to paintbrush to create more saturation. Let stand until dry, about 1 hour.

Cook's Notes

Making a batch of these cookies for adults only? Use a neutral spirit, such as vodka, instead of water to create the watercolor pigments. It'll cut your drying time in half and leave no scent or flavor.