Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gobble Gobble

November 2009 176HAPPY THANKSGIVING! If you’ve got any energy or time left before the big turkey day, these cookies are a fun and yummy way to assign seating at your table and give everyone a treat as well.  But if you’re already overwhelmed by too little time and too much shopping, chopping and baking, take a deep breath and tuck this idea away for another holiday or any other event.

November 2009 149 I contacted cake decorator Elizabeth Hodes for this recipe, after eating beautifully decorated cookies she made last year for our mutual friend Kathy’s baby shower. She also made Kathy’s wedding cake several years ago and it was truly a work of art. Take a look at the gorgeous water lilies and cat o’nine tails she created out of sugar for Kathy’s cake – they look so real, but they’re all edible!

Elizabeth Hodes' cake

(Paul Papier photo)

This talented young woman is owner of Elizabeth Hodes Custom Cakes and Sugar Art in New York City and has been featured in national magazines and on cake competitions on The Food Network.  Click on her website to see more of her exquisite work. Elizabeth, who also holds a degree in classics from Princeton University and one in piano performance from the Manhattan School of Music, told me she got the recipe for these cookies from Toba Garrett’s book, Creative Cookies.

November 2009 133 I colored some of the cookies a simple yellow, orange or red. Others I made multi-colored using all three colors on one cookie. To get the multi-colored look on the turkeys, I first piped an outline with frosting in one color and let that dry. Then, using a demitasse spoon and/or a tiny knife, I added separate blobs of yellow, orange and red frosting, then carefully smoothed it through the body of the turkeys, swirling the colors around to blend. Let that dry, then pipe the name on top.

November 2009 128-1 From Toba Garrett's book Creative Cookies.

printable recipe here

Butter cookies:

1 cup unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon baking powder

a teaspoon vanilla

3 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out

Preheat oven to 350*.  in a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy, scraping down bowl as needed.  Beat in egg and mix until well combined.  Sift together baking powder and flour.  Add flour mixture to butter & sugar 1 cup at a time and mix thoroughly; mix last cup in by hand.  Divide dough into two balls and wrap one ball in plastic wrap until ready to use.  On a floured surface, roll out the other ball until about 1/8" (0.3 cm) thick.  Cut cookies out with cookie cutter and transfer onto ungreased cookie sheet or a parchment lined half sheet pan.  Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until edges of cookies begin to brown lightly.  Let cookies rest on cookie sheet until ready to use.

My hints on these are to try not to overwork the dough.  If the dough becomes too soft, stick it in the freezer for a minute.  I've also tried rolling the dough out and putting the entire sheet of dough directly on a rim-less cookie sheet and then cutting the shapes directly on the pan and removing the excess (this is a good method if the shapes are warping when you transfer them to the sheet).

Glace icing:

1 lb confectioners' sugar

3/8 cup milk

3/8 cup light corn syrup

flavor options: 1 tsp concentrated extract, 1 tablespoon alcohol or liqueur or 2 to 3 drops concentrated candy oil.

In a mixing bowl thoroughly mix sugar and milk first.  The icing should be very soft and should have a heavy cream consistency.  Add corn syrup and mix until just combined.  Divide the icing into several bowls and flavor and color each bowl as desired.  Cover bowls with plastic wrap when not in use.

Glace outline icing:

1/2 cup glace icing

6 to 8 heaping tablespoons confectioners' sugar. 

Mix until well combined.  The icing should be very stiff; if it is not stiff enough, add more confectioners' sugar until you have a medium consistency.

To decorate cookies:

Outline cookies with glace outing icing using a piping bag and a size 1 tip (aka a pretty small tip).  Allow to dry slightly.  Make a parchment or wax paper cone and fill with selected glace icing.  Cut off tip of cone and pipe/flow glace icing into the outline on cookie.  Allow to dry (takes a few hours; will take longer in humid climates).



  1. Rocky the cat gets to sit at the head of the table?
    What a lucky kitty!
    So creative! I love place cards, and edible ones are the best.

  2. Hi Linda,
    These are too cute! I don't have time to make them for Thanksgiving but they seem perfect for Christmas!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. ma sono bellissimi!!!! è una splendida idea anche per Natale, che ti copierò sicuramente. Bravissima anche la tua amica: la sua torta è un capolavoro di zucchero!! se riuscirò a fare qualcosa di così carino , lo pubblicherò sul blog e ti citerò come ispiratrice!! Grazie per il bel suggerimento. Un bacione

  4. Bravissime tutte e due, i biscotti sono un'idea carina per Natale e li provero' certamente.
    Ciao Daniela.

  5. Up to eyeballs in yams currently (It changes every hour) but will save these for later. The table is gorgeous, the cookies are delectable and happy, happy Thanksgiving to you. Your post just warmed my heart.

  6. What a great idea! I love it. I'll be using it sometime although not tomorrow.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your clan.

  7. Happy Thanksgiving Linda! I love the cookie place cards - so adorable and creative. Enjoy!

  8. here is wishing you and yours a lovely thanksgiving and a relaxing weekend!

  9. Happy Thanksgiving! Those cookies are so cute! Have fun gobbling all that yummy food!



  10. Happy thanksgiving to you and all your family and friends, such a great celebration. Hope you had a wonderful time :-)

  11. Your butter cookies look delicious! Thanks for sharing :)

  12. They are so adorable Linda. Hope your thanksgiving was the wonderful one.

  13. Happy Thanksgiving weekend Linda! Your table looks wonderful and I KNOW the food was as well.

  14. Your cookie place cards were adorable Linda! I think I have the same cookie cutter. I use to make a decorative cookie for every child for every holiday in my children's class all through their years in elementary school. I was known as the "cookie lady" now my cookie cutters only get a work out at Christmas. :-)