I’d say I have a history of striving for perfection. I was the stressball high school kid that pulled all-nighters for her AP Calculus exam. I feel anxiety welling up when I look around at the scattered kid toys and food crumbs all over my floors. I don’t achieve perfection, mind you, but I’m one who strives for it. There’s one place, however, where I do not strive for perfection. Cookie decorating. I know my limits. I’m truly in awe of those cookie decorators with the patience and muscle control to decorate with machine-like precision. They are artists, masters of the craft, to be sure. But I’m not in that club. I can decorate a mean cookie, mind you, just with bumps and gaps. So lately I’ve been embracing the benefits of imperfection, namely, accessibility and lack of stress.
Some recent examples of the “seriously, you can’t mess these up” cookies include these chaos cookies or my monster sticks. These turkeys are inspired by the latter. And you can experiment with the messiness of the feathers. Just go nuts there. Hand the decorating bags over to the kids. Or the cat.
how to make can’t-mess-up turkey cookies
you will need:*
*Find the decorating bags, couplers, tips, candy eyes and candy melts in the craft store. For food coloring, I suggest Americolor Soft Gel Pastes, available in specialty stores and online (Red Red, Orange, and Egg Yellow used here). This is the dough scraper I use, HERE, from Sur la Table. You can also use a knife, but this tool makes cutting sticks super easy and consistent, especially with the handy ruler. For tips on finding supplies, click HERE.
step one: make your cookie sticks
Prepare the cookie dough according to the recipe, chill for a couple hours, roll out 1/4-inch thick and use the dough scraper or knife to cut out sticks. My sticks are about 4 1/2 inches long by 1/2 inch wide. Place the sticks on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake according to the recipe. Let cool completely. (Yes, this is the same picture from the monster sticks. Sorry about that.)
step two: prepare your royal icing
Prepare royal icing according to the recipe. Divide the icing and tint your preferred colors. I made red, orange and yellow. Prepare decorating bags with couplers and tips, fill with icing and close tightly with rubber bands.
step three: decorate your cookies
To decorate, fit the red, orange and yellow icing bags with tips sizes 3, 4 or 5, depending on your preference (3 makes smaller feathers, 5 bigger). Pipe a crazy mess of feathers in red, then orange and then yellow. Set a candy melt face down into the icing on the bottom of the cookie stick. To decorate the face, add a couple little dots of icing (you can use light corn syrup, too) to the back of candy eyes and adhere to the candy melt. Pipe a dot for the nose (if you pipe a dot and pull it a bit to the side, you can make the beak shape) and a little bit for the wattle. Let the cookies dry well, preferably overnight, before handling and packaging. For basic cookie decorating instructions, click HERE.
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