So first of all I just want to apologize for this post being late! Last week was quite hectic with traveling, baking, kid entertaining, duck hunting, family time, turkey trotting…the list goes on and on. Now that we are back to our regularly scheduled program, I finally have a moment to write all about one of my family’s favorite holiday treats – Turkey cookies!
I always think the name is slightly deceiving. In my mind, I instantly think of cookies that either taste like turkey or have small pieces of turkey in them…YUCK! But, nothing could be farther from the truth. These are sweet sugar cookies that are baked until the edges are slightly crips and the centers are soft and chewy. Then they are topped with a buttercream icing and sprinkles. Everyone LOVES them. I asked about replacing them with an alternative this year and was met with strong resistance!
Although I have been baking these cookies for many years (and yes…my decorating still looks like this- room to grow I know) this year I tried a new technique for how to make the cookies.
Instead of using my favorite kitchen tool of all time – my Kitchen Aid Mix Master – I used a food processor. My mom found an article in Cooks Illustrated about making sugar cookies in the food processor and I figured I would give it a shot. I stuck with my recipe and used this new technique this year and wanted to share it with you all.
To begin, I put my egg and vanilla in a bowl and whisked them together. In another bowl I whisked my dry ingredients – flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar. Next, I put my powdered sugar in the bowl of the food processor fitted with the blade attachment. I added the COLD butter to the bowl of the food processor and prepared myself for the magic that cooks illustrated promised – making cookie dough with cold butter that will be instantly spreadable and save me time.
I turned the food processor on and was amazed by how nicely the butter and powdered sugar came together. It only ran for 30 – 45 seconds. Then I added the whisked egg and vanilla to the butter and sugar. I turned the food processor on again and couldn’t believe how beautiful the dough looked and how quickly it mixed together, again around 30 seconds.
I added half the dry ingredients to the mix master and let it run until the flour disappeared and then added the second half of the dry ingredients. I was nervous that my food processor would not be big enough but it handled the dough just fine. I ran my spatula around the bowl to make sure all the ingredients were incorporated and then dumped half the dough onto a piece of parchment paper.
I put a second piece of parchment on top and rolled it out to what I thought was about the size of a sheet pan that would fit into my freezer. I set the parchment on top and then patched the overhanging pieces in with the rest of the dough until it formed on solid sheet of dough that fit into the bottom of the sheet pan. I did the same with the second half of the dough, then I stacked them on top of each other and put them into the freezer for 30 minutes.
I pulled the frozen cookie dough out of the freezer. It was fantastic that I didn’t need to try to roll out the chilled dough. I was ready to just get to the task of using the turkey cookie cutter (it is actually taped back together after years of overuse) to cut out as many cookies as I could get from one pan of dough. I then gathered all the scraps back together, folded the piece of parchment back over the scraps and rolled them again. Since the dough was chilled before the first round of cutting, I didn’t need to chill it again before cutting more cookies. Also, since I wasn’t adding flour before rolling it, I could gather the scraps and roll them as many times as I needed to without fear of how the later cookies would differ in texture and taste from the first ones cut.
I put each of the cookies onto a parchment lined cookie sheet without sides and baked them in a 325 F degree – convection oven for 10 – 12 minutes. When I bake these in an oven without convection I turn the heat up to 350 F degrees and usually cook them for 12-15 minutes. If you want crispier cookies, they would need to be baked for longer.
This recipe made about 24 turkeys. I made them the day before I iced them to give them a proper chance to cool down. Surprisingly, almost all 24 made it to the icing stage. My sister Amy was unable to make it to Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving prep day because her poor kids had influenza, but I am 100% sure this is why so many cookies survived in the house before Thanksgiving.
I forgot to take pictures of icing for these cookies, because I was so excited about the new technique to share with you guys about using the food processor. To make my basic buttercream icing, I start with 1/2 cup room temperature butter. I whisk the butter until smooth in the mix master and then add 2 cups-ish powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, whipping cream (any milk will do but always go with the highest fat milk you have in the fridge), and a sprinkle of salt. I usually start with 2 tablespoons of milk and then add more a tablespoon at a time until I get the consistency that I am looking for- nice a spreadable. Then I let the mixmaster run for about 5 to 8 minutes to whip the icing into a nice soft consistency. I spread the icing over the cookies and then add sprinkles. It is best to let the icing set for at least an hour before moving the cookies. (Watch out though for sneaky sisters who will steal many cookies during this icing setting time).
- This food processor technique does make the whole process super fast for making the dough
- Rolling the dough strait away and freezing it on the cookie sheet makes cutting the cookies much faster also
- I wish I would have taken pictures of making the icing
- My decorating skills are still a work in progress and I have dedicated zero time to working on them so far in this process
- So- although they are not very pretty – they are DELICIOUS!
- If you are looking for a sugar cookie recipe – this is a great versatile one that can be cut into any shape and used for any occasion
Recipe- Turkey Cookies
- 1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- In a small bowl whisk together egg and vanilla
- In another small bowl whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment pour in powdered sugar and butter that has been cut into large chunks
- Process until it all comes together
- Add egg mixture and process until it is incorporated
- Add half the dry ingredients and process until you cannot see any streaks of flour, do the same with the second half of the dry ingredients
- Dump half the batter onto a piece of parchment and cover with another piece of parchment – roll out to 1/4 inch thickness
- Fit the dough onto a cookie sheet that will fit in your freezer (you may need to patch some of the dough together)
- Do the same with the second half of the dough
- Free for 30 minutes
- Cut the dough into desired shapes.
- Re-roll scraps as needed, by gathering them up and folding the parchment over the dough and using your rolling pin to roll to 1/4 inch thickness
- Put cut out dough on parchment lined baking sheets without sides (you can turn a jelly roll pan over so that you bake on the bottom of the pan if you do not have a pan without sides)
- Bake at 350 F for 12-15 minutes (depending on size of your cookies and desired level of crispiness)
- Top with buttercream icing and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from St. Louis Post-Dispatch and technique adapted from Cooks Illustrated