Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Turkey Cookies

The past few months have been frightfully hectic and a bit strained, and I've been woefully missing my kitchen and butter and sugar and flour...

But this time of year is about being thankful and I was reminded how blessed we are when I received a sweet package in the mail, perfectly timed and brimming with cheer.  Autumn Sprinkles, a heartfelt note, and an awesome children's book.  I truly found my eyes brimming and was overwhelmed with gratitude.

Thank You, Friend!  XO
My wheels were turning now, because when I receive a gift of this sprinkletude, I feel compelled to really show my thanks to the giver, and prove that her kindness was appreciated to the utmost.

About the same time, my daughter's preschool class asked me to bring in cookies for her class Thanksgiving Party.  (They don't know about me and my hobby yet.  Tee hee.)   I knew right away.  The expression of thanks represented by a young person, age three?

You Know Where We're Going, Don't You?
My Little One and I got to work right away.  We traced her hand to make a template, and I mixed up some sturdy sugar cookie dough.  I baked off 10 kid-sized hand cookies using only half the dough, leaving another disc in the fridge to repeat a little closer to Turkey Day, when our family gathers. 

Thanks to my dear sprinkly friend, we had some embellishing to do.  And embellish we did!  Melting a few handfuls of semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave and coating the cookie fingers for "feathers", it became the perfect palate to receive the gifted autumn sprinkles.

Intense, Sprinkly Concentration.

Candycorn Beaks.  What Turkey Wouldn't Want a Candycorn Beak?
The project was a tremendous success, with Little One repeating quite often that she "looooves chocolate" and she "knows just what to do with the sprinkles that fall under the rack."

Satisfaction Meter?  5,000!
"Can I Eat One Now PLEEEAAASE?"
We have so much to be thankful for here, I'm sometimes overwhelmed.  The random acts of kindness that find us are deeply felt and are another reminder that GIVING is a big part of THANKS.  It feels so nice to receive, and even better when you pass the kindness and give forward.

Gobble Gobble!
I know there will be some thankful three year olds in preschool tomorrow with chocolaty mouths and sprinkly cheeks.  Thank you, Sugar Sister!  You got us back into the kitchen and we hope we made you proud!

Basic Sugar Cookies
From The Dessert Bible by Christopher Kimball

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg *(I probably used 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated)
20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still firm
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg.  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar for 2 minutes at medium speed.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined, about 30 seconds.  Add the dry ingredients and beat until combined, about 30 seconds more, or until the dough just starts to come together.  Press dough together with your hands to form a ball and then divide in half, shaping each piece into a 6-inch disk.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.  (Can be made up to 2 days ahead of time or frozen!  If frozen, let thaw in the fridge and sit on the counter 10 minutes.)  The dough should be firm but not hard for the best results.

Adjust the rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment.  Working on a lightly floured surface, roll half the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness.  (Keep the other half cool during this period.)  Cut to desired shapes and move to the cookie sheet with a spatula, leaving about 1 inch between cookies.  Bake until golden on the edges and very lightly browned on top, about 8 minutes.  Turn the sheet halfway through baking time.  When cookies are done, cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes, then move to a cooling rack using a spatula. 

Gather scraps and re-roll, cut and bake as directed above.  Store cookies in an airtight container.

For Chocolate Turkey "Feathers"

Melt 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels in a microwave safe bowl for 1 minute.  Stir well, as the chips will soften with stirring.  Continue microwaving at 10 second intervals until smooth. 

Using a spoon or small offset spatula, smooth chocolate onto the four fingers of the hand cookie, spreading and smoothing between the fingers and over the tips to coat.  While still warm, sprinkle and embellish with glee.   Place a dot of warm chocolate on the thumb of the cookie hand, and place a candycorn into the dot, pressing gently to adhere. 

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