Sunday, November 20, 2011

simplest turkey cookies ever

You know how sometimes you spend hours and hours and HOURS doing something super special for someone you love and you go to 7 different stores on 3 different days to find exactly the right thing and you give up sleep and maybe get glue-gun burns and then they pay attention for 2.7 seconds and don't even say "thank you?" I hate that.

And then you whip something up super quick just to use some left-over pieces of whatnot and you put no thought or time in to it and this same person falls all over themselves saying how you are the greatest, smartest, most talented, beautiful and awesome person in the world? And then they shower you with love and candy? Yeah....I don't mind those days so much.

These cookies are kind of like that. (The second type. Not the first.) My young son is OBSESSED with these cookies. He just looks at them and starts giggling. He likes holding them and touching the eyeballs. (He IS after all, a BOY.) He says they are his very favorite chicken cookies. (We'll work on that whole chicken/turkey thing another day.)

They are incredibly simple to make, and I just used left over whatnots from the turkey-hand cookies.

Step 1. Bake a cookie. I used letters, but you could use squares or houses or flowers or....whatever. Really, don't stress yourself out so close to the holidays. Just reach in that bin of eternal despair where you have all the cutters you are pretending you're going to put back where they belong and grab one out.  Then flood the cookie with brown icing.

Step 2. Immediately drop on some of those left-over eyeballs and beak/gobblers whatnots. That's it. Done. You are loved and showered with candy. So easy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Turkey Hands

Has this conversation ever happened to anyone else?

Friend -- "Hello my dearest friend in the entire world, would you like to come over to my house for Thanksgiving dinner? I'll cook amazing wonderful food and I will fill my house with people that love and adore you. And there will be gifts."

Me-- "Yes!"

Supposed Friend -- "Great! Come over at THREE -- IN THE AFTERNOON."

It sounds great on the surface. They draw you in with promises of love and food and gifts. (Probably I'm making up the gifts part.) But THEN... then they drop it on you. THREE O'CLOCK. IN THE AFTERNOON. What are you supposed to do? Do you eat lunch? I mean, we're talking Thanksgiving dinner here. You are supposed to be hungry. So that you can eat a lot. But what if you don't eat lunch, and then you get there and they expect you to just mingle for two hours?! I don't know about you all, but I'm not a nice person when I'm starving. I don't want to "mingle." I don't want to "talk" and "enjoy myself." I want to figure out a way to distract the hostess long enough so that I can snatch some of that delicious smelling food coming from that room of temptation she is calling a "kitchen." Either that, or I'm going to start gnawing on the sofa.

I'm not saying that you can't invite people over for Thanksgiving dinner and offer them gifts. By all means -- go ahead and put my name on that guest list if you like. And I'm not saying you can't ask them to come at 3pm. Just, for the sake of their sanity and your sofa, be clear about the time you will actually be eating. ESPECIALLY if there are children involved.

Or you could just make these cookies with those children. And then let them eat them. Before dinner. It's a holiday. Dessert before dinner is totally cool on holidays, right?

Start out by tracing the child's hand. On paper. And then cut it out and use it as a template to cut out your cookies. Just to be on the safe side here, I'm going to mention that skipping a step and trying to cut out the cookie around the child's actual hand is NOT okay.

Flood the cookie with white icing and let it dry for a really long time. (4-8 hours)

While you are waiting, make some eyeballs and some beaks and gobblers. (Yes, I am well aware that the red turkey thing is called a "wattle," but if "true dat" is an acceptable phrase, then I can call it a gobbler if I want to.) 

Help your child wash their hands really well. Maybe wash them twice, just to be sure.

Spread some colored icing on their cute little hands. I used thick icing for this, so it didn't run off his fingers before he could get it on the cookie. I would say, if it is thick enough to hold a peak, that's about where you want it.

Oh, and PS -- this is the point where he said to me, "You said this might be a little weirdy. And you were right. This is super weirdy, Mom."

Help them press down ever so gently on top of the cookie. Hold the cookie down while they lift their hand up.

Drop an eyeball and a beak and gobbler onto the wet icing and call it a day.

OR...you could let it all dry for an hour or so and pipe some names on....and THEN call it a day.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pumpkin Name Card Cookies

Remember how I posted Halloween cookies in August? That was crazy. And now everyone is going all out on Christmas cookies in November. And I have to say -- I'm a little jealous. Because I can't do that. Not that I don't want to. The thing is, I just can't cheat a holiday like that. I mean, I can't pretend like Thanksgiving isn't there just because Christmas is so much more appealing right now and then on November 24th be all "Oh hey, Thanksgiving let's be best friends and stay at each other's houses and eat mashed potatoes and pie all day long."  Because Thanksgiving would be SO MAD.  And let's be honest, I just can't handle that kind of hating. Even from a generally overlooked holiday. I NEED to be loved. So...I made some name card cookies. You know, so when people come over to eat your super healthy Thanksgiving dinner that is chock full of all those tasty vegetables and lean protein, they can have a cookie first. Just to take the edge off.


Start with some rectangle cookies. I just used a pizza wheel and a ruler. But, by all means if you have a rectangle cutter then that would be easier. Then draw a picture of a pumpkin (or trace one, or print one from the internet) and cut it out. I used a food marker to trace around the pumpkin template. I think you could do it by scratching the cookie with a toothpick too. Or hey, skip this step altogether and freehand pipe the thing when the time comes.

I used a #3 tip and piped two straight lines next to each other to make a wider border. You could probably  just use a bigger tip, and not worry about making two straight lines right next to each other, but that's entirely up to you. Anyway, I left some of the frame empty because I didn't want to trap my poor pumpkin. (You know, like those scary Halloween movies where someone gets left in a mirror.) (Great, now everyone is totally creeped out after reading a Thanksgiving post.) (At least I am. I can basically never look at this post again.)

After letting the frame dry for about 20 minutes, (or two days -- seriously, don't ask) I filled in the outer sections of the pumpkin. You can certainly outline and fill if that's your thing. I just do it all in one step because its what I do.

Let those sections dry for 20 minutes, or until you can see that the shine is gone and then fill in the middle section and give it a stem. I always try to make my stems cute, but they just never work out that way. I guess I'm just cute stem incapable. That's okay. I'll get that worked out someday.

Flood the remainder of the cookie with white icing and let it dry for a real, real long time. Like hours. Oh, and I use a toothpick to drag some of the white into those tiny little corners near the bottom between the pumpkin and the border.

Add on some pumpkin vines, put a name on there and you are DONE. I have this weird thing where I actually really like writing with icing, but a food marker would get the name on there just as nicely. So, don't stress out about the whole "piping letters thing." Plus, if you use food markers, it would be super easy to add some names at the last minute. You know, if you had extra cookies just lying around and some extra people came to dinner, then it would be a perfect match. And you'd be like a hero or something.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Friends of the First Thanksgiving

So this one time, I made Thanksgiving cookies. But before that, I obsessed about them for days. I dreamed about them for nights. And I even made a new cutter just for those cookies. And then after I made the cutter, my 4 year old walked into the room and saw it and said, "Oh, a bowling stick thing." And by that he means that I could have saved myself jillions of seconds of labor and just used a bowling pin cutter.

And...in other news... I'm really not as hating on myself as it may sound right now, but I don't think I've ever felt so ignorant while making cookies. I mean, I know the history behind the first Thanksgiving in the United States, but I don't know any of the details. And I know that other countries have harvest type holidays as well and some even have their very own Thanksgiving. But why? I couldn't stop thinking about it. So then, I was all, "I'm totally going to spend hours researching and studying and then I'll share that very useful and priceless information on my blog tomorrow." And THEN, there was this other voice that said, "No, you won't." And I was all, "Yes, I will." And that other voice was very convincing and told me I should sleep instead. So I did. I mean, I can't ALWAYS pick the first voice. I don't want them to think that I'm playing favorites or anything.  But if YOU wanted to tell me about the harvest holidays or Thanksgivings in your country... I don't think I'd mind.

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