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Derby Horse Cookies

These derby horse sugar cookies are fun for the Kentucky derby or just for the horse lover in your life! Gluten-free, too!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 18 cookies
Calories: 289kcal
Author: Megan


Sugar Cookies

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups flour all purpose flour or gluten-free blend - see notes*

Royal Icing

  • 4 cups powdered sugar sifted
  • 2 tbsp meringue powder
  • 5 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract optional
  • gel food dye lime green, golden yellow, red, royal blue, dark brown, light brown, white


  • Cream butter and powdered sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Mix in egg, vanilla, almond extract and salt and beat until mixed well.
  • Gradually add in flour(s) (1/2 cup at a time) and mix after each addition. Be sure not to over mix. I use the electric mixer for the first 2 cups of flour and then hand mix the last 1/2 cup.
  • Put dough in the refrigerator for an hour or so, or until the dough firms up. You can also put it in the freezer but I would only do that for 20-30 minutes otherwise it’s very difficult to roll out. Sprinkle your work surface and rolling pin with powdered sugar.
  • Roll the dough out to a 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters. Place on a greased cookie sheet and put back in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Then, bake in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes or until cookie all the way through. The cookie should not brown, but the edges can be slightly browned (that’s a good indication it’s done). Cool on a wire rack.
  • In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the powdered sugar, meringue powder and water. Mix for 7-10 minutes, until the ingredients are well blended and the icing has a matte finish. This is the base consistency. I usually add about 1 tsp more of water for a good outline icing (I use a 10 second rule) and add more water until I reach a 4-second icing for flood icing. This means that when you drizzle icing over the bowl of royal icing then the icing will flow back in with the rest of the icing in 4 seconds (10 second icing is the same but it will sink back in with the rest of the icing in 10 seconds). If you need to thin it out more then add more water. If you need to thicken it add more powdered sugar.
  • Follow my pictogram below to decorate the cookie. For the outlines, I used a 4-second icing, as described above. You will need to make the following colors in the outline consistency: light brown, dark brown, white, lime green, golden yellow, red, and royal blue. I use a #2 or #3 tip to outline anything. I use a #1 tip to do the numbers (white icing). You will need to make the following colors in the flood consistency: light brown, green, blue, yellow and red. I use a squeeze bottle to distribute any flood icing and a toothpick to drag it to the edges of the outlines.


*gluten-free flour mix (sift together in a large bowl and set aside)
1 1/8 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp white rice flour
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp potato starch
1/8 cup tapioca flour
1/8 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum


Calories: 289kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 224mg | Potassium: 24mg | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 330IU | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 0.9mg