Decorate the Perfect Thanksgiving Cookies

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Fall is in the air and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. And, because it’s the holiday season, you’ll probably be in the mood to start baking yummy cookies. If you have a creative bent, you’ll probably also want to decorate them and bundle them up as gifts. Here are some ideas on how to decorate the perfect Thanksgiving cookies. We’ve even included an idea that is so easy that even your smallest kids can do it with success!

Techniques to Try

Simple icing is always attractive, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take it one step further. Marbling, textured icing, sanding sugar, and piping are all techniques that can make your cookies look like a professional baker decorated them.

  1. Marbling. Painting beautiful swirls on cookies is actually pretty easy. For Thanksgiving, you can marble the wings or body of turkey shaped cookies or make beautiful fall-colored leaves. You need two or more colors of frosting, a piping bag and a toothpick.

First, make up a batch of Royal Icing, which dries smooth and hard. Tint it whatever colors you want to use. Spread a base color onto each cookie. Next, use your piping bag to create spirals or concentric circles that spread out from the center of the cookie. Then, starting in the center, gently pull a toothpick through both layers of icing to swirl the colors. That’s all there is to it! Then let the cookies dry until hardened.

  1. Texturing. You can create textured cookies by piping on the icing and letting it dry before applying another layer. For example, to make a textured pumpkin cookie, you might apply the orange icing to the body first and a chocolate icing to the pumpkin stem. When that is solidly dry (about an hour), pipe on some green icing that spirals down from the pumpkin stem. Let that dry and then using a slightly lighter shade of green icing, pipe a leaf on top of the darker green spirals.
  1. Sanding sugar. Sparkly sanding sugar always adds a fun and festive touch to your cookies. You can coat the whole cookie with it or use it as an embellishment such as for the tops of acorns, the veins in a leaf or the tail of a squirrel. Matching colors, say, red veins on a red leaf can make nice subtle statements while contrasting colors such as silver tail on a brown squirrel can make your cookies pop.

Super Easy Turkeys

For these turkeys, you’ll need sugar cookies, chocolate frosting, candy corn, orange icing, and small candy-coated chocolate baking bits.

First, bake a batch of sugar cookies and let them cool. Then spoon chocolate frosting into a 1-quart zip top baggy and seal the bag. Cut off a small corner at the bottom of the bag. Squeeze a bit of the chocolate frosting across the top of each cookie. Before the frosting has a chance to dry, place candy on top of it to create the turkey feathers.

Next, put two small dabs of the orange icing right under the feathers. Put one of the chocolate baking bits onto each dab to make eyes. Put a dab of chocolate icing on top of each baking bit to make the turkey’s eyeballs.

Finally, use the orange icing to create a beak (a simple open top triangle that points down) and to create the feet (a straight line with two catty cornered bits for the claws). When you’re all done, simply gobble them up!

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