Unicorn Doughnuts

Unicorn doughnuts

This morning, I awoke knowing exactly what I needed, above and beyond any other thing on earth.

Unicorn Doughnuts.

Good rainbow-colored gravy, how could I make this miracle happen, I wondered?

Well, I guess it could start with making doughnuts. I made up a batch of dough. You can find the recipe below. Technically, it is for "regular" doughnuts. That means you could make round doughnuts. Unicorn doughnuts

Or you could even free-form and drop dollops of dough into the oil to make a homemade funnel cake! Funnel cake

But right now, we are talking about unicorn doughnuts.

Now, I have learned through trial and error that this dough is much easier to work with if you let it chill for a good long while. So I let it chill for about 3 hours total. 

And when it came time to roll out the dough, I brought out my secret weapon: the unicorn cookie cutter. It made fast friends with doughnut cutter.

Unicorn Doughnuts

Now, after my first try cutting out a unicorn, I can see why unicorn doughnuts are not in regular rotation. It's very hard to get a clean cut and then transfer it to the frying oil. They come out mangled. Booooo. 

But I didn't get discouraged. For inspiration I looked at this drawing done by a 6-year old friend, which reminded me that my website is capable of magic!


And so I got back to work. And here's what ultimately worked best. 

I got a small piece of parchment paper, and sprinkled flour on it.

I rolled out a tiny piece of dough to about 1/4 inch thick on top of it. Rolling out tiny dough is cuter with a tiny rolling pin, btw.

I then floured the cookie cutter and imprinted the dough. I delicately removed the dough on the sides of it before lifting the cutter.

I then put this sheet with the unicorn in the freezer. Not for long, just for maybe 15 minutes. While the oil heated.

Unicorn Doughnut cutout

When the oil was ready, I removed the unicorns from the freezer, and delicately extracted them from the parchment using an offset frosting spatula. I dropped them into the oil.

Unicorn Doughnuts

And...it worked!

Fry, unicorn doughnut!

Some of them get a little mangly but it's ok. Because once you decorate them, what looks like a weirdly long leg...becomes a prancy leg! 

Unicorn Doughnuts Unicorn doughnuts

Decorating them like I did is not strictly necessary, but I thought it was fun. I used some writing icing, and applied the white part using a small brush (I won't be using that one to paint again!). 

Homemade Doughnuts

Unicorn doughnuts


Unicorn doughnuts

Here's the recipe.

Unicorn Doughnuts

Makes about 20 


  • 3 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 to 8 cups vegetable/canola oil, for deep frying
  • various frosting, writing icing, or just confectioners' sugar, for finishing off
  • Unicorn Cookie Cutter (like this one)


  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In another large bowl, whisk the sour cream, buttermilk, and sugar, until smooth and combined.
  3. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until just combined. If needed, scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  4. In 2-3 increments, add the flour mixture to this wet mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until just combined. The dough will be quite sticky. Refrigerate it for about 2 hours, or until completely chilled.
  5. Turn the dough on to a very generously floured surface. Knead for 2 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Return the dough to the fridge for another hour. This will make certain that the dough does what you want later.
  6. Assemble several sheets of parchment paper (one or two unicorns per sheet for easy handling). Roll out to a 1/2 inch thickness on top of the floured parchment paper. Using a floured cutter, imprint the dough and remove excess dough around it (this helps keep the perfect unicorn shape). Remove the cutter and clean up dough as needed. Put the dough, right on the parchment paper, in the freezer. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  7. In a heavy medium pot or a deep-fat fryer, put enough oil to achieve a depth of about 4 inches; heat it to 375 degrees F. Gently transfer the unicorns from the parchment paper to the oil, removing from the paper using a spatula. Fry the unicorns, 2-3 at a time, until golden brown on each side (less than 3 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to blot excess oil. Repeat with remaining doughnuts.
  8. You're going to have to wait til the doughnuts are cool to decorate them like I did, but if you're greedy, just dust them with confectioners' sugar and eat them while warm. Either way, these magical doughnuts are best consumed the same day they're made.