Turkey Gingerbread Cookies

Turkey Gingerbread Cookies

I hope everyone had a yummy Thanksgiving last week!

These Gingerbread Turkeys were one of the treats I made this year.

Just like my Autumn Leaves Mini Gingerbread Cookies, these use the recipe from my Mini Soft Iced Gingerbread Cookies.  Because I love these cookies.  So, there’s pretty much no way to make too many of these.

gingerbread-turkey-cookies-2

Last year I made turkeys from sugar cookies (Iced Turkey Cutout Sugar Cookies), but I was in the mood for gingerbread.

Again.

I may have made a lot of gingerbread this year.  ;)

This time, though, unlike last year, I had a regular turkey-shaped cookie cutter.  It made the job a whole lot easier.

gingerbread-turkey-cookies-3

The cookies spread just a tad, but the turkey shape is still recognizable.

Then I made four colors of royal icing:  brown, red, yellow, and orange.

I used brown food coloring instead of cocoa powder to make the brown for two reasons:  I didn’t want the chocolate flavor and it was much easier to make one batch of icing and add four colors than to make two batches, one chocolate and one regular.

gingerbread-turkey-cookies-4

As you can see from the above photos, I outlines the turkey body first, then colored in the tail and face.

It takes a few minutes to draw the patterns on, but it looks SO cute when it’s done.

And here they are all packaged up to share:

gingerbread-turkey-cookies-5

Here is my post with the gingerbread recipe:

Mini Soft Iced Gingerbread Cookies

And when you go to make the icing, make a double batch, separate it out into four bowls and dye them brown, orange, red, and yellow.  You’ll need more brown than any other color.

Then fill a plastic baggy with each color, snip off a small corner, and squeeze the colors onto each cookie like I did in the photos.  I did brown (body), then orange (tail feathers), red (tail feathers and wattle), and finally yellow (feathers and beak).

Happy Baking!

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Iced Turkey Cutout Sugar Cookies {Edible Thanksgiving Place Cards}

Turkey Iced Cut Out Cookies

Okay, okay:  I know it’s December already….. but I hadn’t quite finished posting about Thanksgiving, yet!

Anyway, I just had to share these adorable turkey cut out cookies.

I used the Soft Sugar Cookie Recipe that I used to make the Iced Autumn Leaves, and – since I only needed 6 turkeys – I also made more leaves.  The same colors of icing worked for the turkeys, too.  :)

And since I was making these only the day before Thanksgiving, my hunt for a turkey-shaped cookie cutter was less than fruitful.  The Thanksgiving supplies in the craft stores had already been replaced with Christmas supplies.  BUT, it turned out that my aunt had a turkey cookie cutter.

The cookie cutter wasn’t deep enough for the cookie dough, but at this point I didn’t have a lot of other options.  And I didn’t feel like cutting out a template or anything crazy like that.  So I pressed the cookie cutter into the surface of the dough to make an outline {see the photos below}, and finished cutting out the cookies with a small paring knife.

Luckily I was only planning on making six.

The rest of the dough became leaves.  Which I also decorated like I did for the Soft Sugar Cookie recipe I linked to above.

For the turkeys, after cooling the finished cookie completely, I outlined a body shape with brown icing, then filled it in, smoothing slightly with a small angled spatula.  Then I outlined tail feathers in red, orange, and yellow, one color at a time, filling them in and allowing them to sit for a minute before adding the next color.

Finally, I added the names of all the kids that were going to be there on Thanksgiving with the yellow icing.  And when everything was dry, I stacked the turkeys on top of the colorful leaves on the serving platter.  They would be amazing as edible Thanksgiving place cards, but we were eating at my cousin’s house, so everything went on one big plate.

Turkey Iced Cut Out Cookies

If I had time to order the cookie cutter online instead of needlessly store-hopping, I probably would have gotten the R&M Gobbler Turkey Cookie Cutter:

Thanksgiving Turkey Cookie Cutter

These would have made my life a lot easier by eliminating the step where I had to cut out each cookie individually with a knife.

And the edges would have been a lot cleaner, too.

Oh, well.  Next year.  And – of course – they still tasted awesome.  :)

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Soft Sugar Cookie Recipe {Iced Autumn Leaves}

Soft Iced Sugar Cutout Cookie Leaves

I am looooooving these amazing cookies!

I’ve been meaning to try a new Soft Sugar Cookie recipe for awhile and I’ve been browsing a bunch of sites and recipes, trying to get plenty of tips.

I settled on a recipe that incorporates sour cream and I rolled the dough thicker than I normally do, and cooked it a little less.

Pretty darn perfect.  :)

I typed up the recipe suggesting either vanilla or almond extract.  I prefer the almond, but my kids seemed to prefer the batch I made with vanilla.  Both were good, though.  The only thing to remember is that in the icing, you can use more vanilla than almond extract.  Most people seem to prefer it when the almond isn’t overpowering.

I used my royal icing for the cookies because it dries hard and shiny – which makes them easy to stack when storing/displaying/gifting – and because it’s easy to dip them right into the icing to make the whole ordeal quicker.

Soft Iced Sugar Cutout Cookie Leaves

I liked rolling it out between the waxed paper because it was easy to transfer to the fridge on the back of a cookie sheet, and then I could just pull it out and cut out my cookies.

Soft Iced Sugar Cutout Cookie Leaves

Re-rolling the dough {and having to add the flour to re-roll it} makes the cookies slightly tougher, or less soft, but I didn’t find the difference noticeable, really.

And I’m not about to throw out excess cookie dough.

Soft Iced Sugar Cutout Cookie Leaves

Make sure they’re nice and thick and that you don’t over bake them.  They should NOT be browning on the edges before you take them out – that will eliminate the softness you’re looking for.  In fact, they should look slightly underdone when you take them out.

You can use just about any cookie cutter shape you like.  Here are the Wilton Leaves and Acorns 9-Piece Aluminum Cookie Cutter Set that I used:

 Wilton Leaves and Acorns 9-Piece Aluminum Cookie Cutter Set

Oh, and the recipe called for parchment lined pans.  I did bake the cookies on parchment paper when I used my regular pans, but what is pictured above are my aluminum Doughmakers Biscuit Sheets, which are textured and so the cookies don’t stick.  If you don’t have pans like these, use the parchment paper.

Soft Iced Sugar Cutout Cookie Leaves

I made the icing while the cookie dough was in the fridge and just set it to the side until later.

For best results:  cover with plastic wrap when not in use, and make sure to stir it often when dipping the cookies in it.

Soft Iced Sugar Cutout Cookie Leaves

You can see that I used plenty of gel coloring to make the icing bright and bold.

Soft Iced Sugar Cutout Cookie Leaves

You can put the icing into a plastic baggy or decorating bag and draw it onto the cookies instead {kind of like my Chocolate Almond Mummy Cookies} but I had been seeking a different method.  I found a few places – and a video – where people were suggesting that you just dip the cookies into the icing.

It worked.  Rather well.

I found that it worked best if you stirred the icing often, even between each dip, and if the cookies were thick enough, you didn’t even get any icing on your fingers.

If the icing was too thick, the cookie may stick a little, and you chance it breaking.  If your icing feels too thick and is pulling back when you try to lift out the cookie, sprinkle in a few DROPS of water and stir to thin it just a bit.  Not too much.

And I’ve tried both a skewer and a fork to scrape off the extra icing.  I prefer using the fork because it’s better than the skewer at efficiently stirring the color into the icing and re-stirring it every few minutes while icing the cookies.

When you lift up the cookie and scrape off the extra icing, don’t actually touch the cookie with the fork.  While still holding the cookie upside down, or tilted to the side, move the fork through any globs of icing that are above the surface of the cookie.  If there’s too much icing on them, it will drip over the sides and leave little puddles around the edges.

Then just let them sit on some wire racks until the icing hardens.  It will harden on the outside thinly at first, so don’t pack them away or plate them right away if you have the time to wait.  Let them sit for at least an hour, but a few hours is ideal.  Just in case.  You don’t want crushed/smudged icing after doing all that work.

And I might say, “all that work,” but, really, it’s easy to do.  It can take awhile due to all the steps, but it is SO worth it.

Because:  yum!

Soft Iced Sugar Cutout Cookie Leaves

Soft Sugar Cookies with Icing

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla (or almond) extract
1/3 cup sour cream
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Icing:
2 cups confectionery sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons meringue powder
1 teaspoon vanilla (or 1/2 teaspoon almond) extract
3 to 4 tablespoons water

Cream together the butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg, sour cream, and extract until smooth. In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder, then slowly mix into the wet ingredients until just combined. Do not over mix. Separate the dough in half and roll each piece out between two sheets of waxed paper to a thickness of about 1/2 inch. Refrigerate dough for an hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Remove dough from refrigerator and cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters. Gently gather scraps and reroll on a floured surface. Place cookies an inch apart on parchment lined cookie sheets and bake for 9 to 11 minutes. Do not over bake! Take them out when they appear just about to be done, and before they brown. Let cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Mix all of the icing ingredients together with a fork. Start with 3 tablespoons of water and add more, about a 1/2 teaspoon at a time, until you reach a consistency where a thick line of icing slowly and smoothly drips off of the fork when lifted from the bowl. Dye it your desired color, dividing it between separate bowls first if using multiple colors.

Dip the tops of the completely cooled cookies into the icing. Gently pull out the cookie and use a fork or skewer to scrape off excess icing without touching the cookie itself. Set cookie on top of a wire rack that’s positioned over waxed paper or foil and allow to harden completely, letting the cookies sit for at least an hour. Store covered.

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And click here to print the free PDF version of the recipe:  Soft Sugar Cookies with Icing

Enjoy!

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Autumn Leaf-Shaped Mini Pizzas

Autumn Leaf Shaped Pizzas

This is going to be somewhat of an image-heavy post since these cute, little Autumn Leaf Shaped Mini Pizzas are actually easier to explain with photos.

This was a fun dinner we did one night.  The girls helped me out.  And I’ve done this before, for example with dinosaurs, but I used our leaf cookie cutters this time to give it an autumn spin.

And to make the pizzas from scratch, you follow my Easy Pizza Dough Recipe.  Except, once you roll out the dough, you cut out leaf shapes instead of transferring the whole thing to a large pan.

For the cheese topping, I used three kinds:  colby jack, cheddar, and mozzarella cheeses.  I used the sliced versions they sell at the store that are meant for sandwiches and burgers because they’re easier to cut with cookie cutters.  And the extra cheese left over after cutting out my “leaves” went into some macaroni and cheese the next night.

I used 3 flavors of cheese to give it more of a colorful fall-leaf feel, and even if you’re hesitant about doing this, I can assure you – all of the flavors taste amazing on the pizzas.

How To Make Autumn Leaf Shaped Pizzas

As you can see in the photos, I used the cookie cutters to cut out both the dough and the cheese.  I topped the dough with tomato sauce, spices (especially garlic), Parmesan cheese, and then a leaf shaped slice of cheese.

It is a little difficult to get the dough to keep it’s precise shape and to fit the cheese over the dough with the shapes lining up in with an exact perfection… but that’s okay.  Really, one of my favorite parts of these little pizzas is the cheese that drips over the side of the crust onto the pan and mixes with the extra garlic powder and Parmesan and gets all crispy and delicious.

If you’re not into that, this may not be the recipe for you.

Here is the Wilton Leaves and Acorns 9-Piece Aluminum Cookie Cutter Set, in case you want to use the same ones I did:

 Wilton Leaves and Acorns 9-Piece Aluminum Cookie Cutter Set

And another pic of the yummy finished pizzas:

Autumn Leaf Shaped Pizzas

As I said, I used my Easy Pizza Dough Recipe to make this, which you can also print as a free PDF by clicking here:  Easy Pizza Dough.

Enjoy!

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Felt Lacing Pumpkins

Felt Lacing Pumpkin Pillow Craft for Fall / Halloween / Thanksgiving

These Felt Lacing Pumpkin Pillows are so cute, and my girls really enjoy them.

And I say “enjoy them” in the present tense instead of “enjoyed making them” in the past tense, because they’re still playing with them.

They make pretty nice Fall decorations, too… except that they keep walking off and getting lost in the baby doll’s beds…

Anyway, this is a great project to do with kids in autumn.  I made a step-by-step photo of how we made them {see below}.  I didn’t post any patterns or anything, since I did it all by hand.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 sheet of orange felt per pumpkin
brown yarn
scissors
hole punch

To make the pumpkin pillow:

1.  Fold the felt in half and cut it along the crease to make two pieces.  With the two felt sheets together, cut out a shape resembling a pumpkin.  Sort of an oval with a stem on top.

2.  Use a hole punch to make holes around the edge.  This may take a few minutes if you {like me} don’t own an ergonomic hole puncher with a cushioned grip.  Place the pumpkin with the holes on top of the pumpkin without the holes, and using a pen or marker, mark where each hole is, so that when you cut out the holes on the second pumpkin, they will line up with the first.

3.  Cut a piece of yarn about a yard long for each pumpkin.  Wrap some clear tape around one end of the yarn to make it sturdy enough to thread through the felt.

[I did steps 1 through 3 the night before, while my kids slept.  If your kids are a little older – and you have an easier-to-use hole punch than me – you may want to let your kids help with those steps.]

4.  Let your kids sew together the pumpkins, just like a lacing card, leaving a few holes {about a 1/4 of the pumpkin} open.  See the 4th photo below.

5.  Crumple up a sheet of tissue paper and stuff it inside the pumpkin.  Alternately, use cotton balls or a some cotton batting.

6.  Finish sewing up the pumpkin and tie off the yarn.

Felt Lacing Pumpkin Pillows

It’s a pretty easy project, and the best part is if you don’t have any felt, you could always substitute construction paper!

Plus, we made ours before Halloween, but if that’s already passed, these look great for Thanksgiving, too!

Have fun!

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Halloween Mini Pumpkin {Easter Egg} Hunt & Decorating Glitter Pumpkins

Halloween Mini Pumpkin Easter Egg Hunt

This Mini Pumpkin Hunt is just about one of the easiest Halloween projects you can do, and your kids are just about guaranteed to completely freak out over how awesome it is.

Well, at least those kids who love Easter egg hunts will freak out over the awesomeness.  But I don’t know any kids who don’t love Easter egg hunts.

The setup is simple:  buy a bunch of mini pumpkins, hide aforementioned mini pumpkins in your yard or house, hand your kids a bucket or basket in which to collect them, and stand back while they stampede.

Halloween Mini Pumpkin Easter Egg Hunt

Unfortunately for us, on the day I told my girls we were going to go outside and search for mini pumpkins, it rained.

A lot.

So, we relegated the search mostly to areas of flora that could be easily accessed with feet still firmly planted on the sidewalk and out of the wet grass and mud.

It didn’t even matter to them that it only took a couple of minutes to find all 10 that I’d hidden.  They were so excited about it that they hid them again so I could find them.  And again.  And again…

Halloween Mini Pumpkin Easter Egg Hunt

Eventually we made it inside to decorate our mini pumpkins.

I’d pulled out some glitter glue and some glitter in silver and gold.  Neutral but shiny.

Halloween Glitter Pumpkin Decorating

I spread a disposable table cloth over the floor and some newspaper in the middle of it, opened up the containers of glue and glitter, and stood back.

Well, not very far back.  They insisted I help, and, really, it’s pretty fun to bury your hands in glitter sometimes.  :)

Halloween Glitter Pumpkin Decorating

And the end result looked rather pretty.

Some had designs, some were completely covered, but they all looked so fun and sparkly.

Halloween Glitter Pumpkin Decorating

It was much easier to clean up, by the way, than it looks.

Once you move the pumpkins and glue/glitter containers, simply fold the paper in half to make it into a partial funnel, and let the glitter slide back into the container again to be reused for another project.

Halloween Glitter Pumpkin Decorating

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Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Candy Corn and Mini Marshmallow Pumpkins

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkins and Candy Corn

I am in love with these itty bitty mini Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkins!

As you can see below, I also made some Chocolate Covered Candy Corn Marshmallows, but the little pumpkins were my favorite.  :)

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkins and Candy Corn

Here are all the supplies.  The chocolate chips were used for my Mummy Marshmallows, but everything else was used for the Pumpkins and Candy Corn.

For the mini Pumpkins, I used the store brand mini marshmallows, because they were slightly larger than the name brand ones.

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkins and Candy Corn

For the Candy Corn Marshmallows, I dipped the large, white marshmallows into yellow candy melts, rolling them slightly to make sure that the candy went about 2/3 of the way up the sides of the marshmallow.

It wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done.

But, tips are as follows:  make sure that the candy melts are melted but not too hot.  Let them sit for a couple of minutes after melting so that they cool down enough to not melt the marshmallow.  I suggest dipping them in while holding them with your fingers, but also using a fork to help you lift them out of the candy.  Knock the fork against the side of the glass/bowl to get rid of excess candy.

Place the marshmallows on parchment paper to dry.  After the yellow candy has hardened, dip them about 1/3 of the way into orange candy melts.

If any excess candy seems to be pooling at the bottom of the marshmallow, trace around it with a toothpick.  This will make it easier to break off the excess candy once it dries.

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkins and Candy Corn

The mini pumpkins were SO much easier.

Dip the mini marshmallows into melted (but not too hot) orange candy melts.  Use a fork to take them out of the candy and tap the fork against the side of the bowl to get off the excess.  Place on parchment paper, using another fork to push them onto the paper, and trace around them with a toothpick if too much excess candy is pooling at the bottom of them.

Also, right after dipping the mini marshmallows in the candy melts – or right after doing a few of them – stick a green star or flower shaped sprinkle into the top to represent the stem.

You could use a leaf shaped sprinkle to represent the stem, but the Daisy Flower Sprinkles are easy to find year round.

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkins and Candy Corn

Here are the finished Candy Corn Marshmallows.

They were a big hit, even though they didn’t look perfect.

I also gave some away that I put in a dish with the mini pumpkin marshmallows and a handful of actual candy corn.

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkins and Candy Corn

I loved these little mini chocolate covered marshmallows so much, mostly because they were little bursts of fun.

The smooth but hardened chocolate surrounds tiny clouds of fluff, and that one sprinkle adds a giant dimension of texture.

They’re kind of addicting.

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkins and Candy Corn

I didn’t type up a recipe for these.  To sum it up, though:

For the Candy Corn Marshmallows:  Dip marshmallow 2/3 into melted yellow candy melts.  Let harden.  Dip 1/3 into orange candy melts.  Let harden.  Store covered.

For the mini Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkins:  Dip mini marshmallows into orange candy melts, covering completely.  Immediately top with a large green sprinkle in the shape of a flower, star, or leaf.  Let harden.  Store covered.

These are the candy melts and spinkles I used:

yellow candy melts orange candy meltswilton daisy flower sprinkles

Enjoy!

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