“Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart”
Thanksgiving Day is so close that I actually smell a crisp pecan pie baking to perfection in an oven somewhere. If you are a planner (ok, obsessive planner) like me, you’re double and triple checking the multiple lists of the items you still need to host a perfect Thanksgiving. A favorite task in pulling together an unforgettable holiday celebration is designing a gorgeous dinner table, starting with a remarkable centerpiece. Another bullet point on my Turkey Day to-do list is to make pretty place cards for each of our guests. This year, I’ve decided to go with a tried and true favorite: Thanksgiving turkey cookie place card favors.
Not only are these cookie favors delicious, they add extra color and seasonal flair to any place setting. Finding a beautifully decorated cookie at the table surprises and delights guests as they settle in for their meal. The best thing about them is that for those Thanksgiving celebrations that include kids, this cookie is a big hit and captures the interest of all the littles at an otherwise adult-ish gathering.
Turkey cookies can be made with a variety of dough types (gingerbread is also an excellent choice) but his year I’m using one I came up with: Chai Sugar Cookie dough. During a baking session a couple of years ago, after making a delicious cup of Chai tea made with David Rio Tiger Spice Chai, I suddenly wondered if the tea powder (which also contains sugar, honey granules and spices) would bake well when combined with sugar cookie recipe ingredients. After the successful results of the first attempt I was hooked, and so were my family and friends. Chai sugar cookies don’t actually need any fancy toppings, they taste fantastic all by themselves. To really deliver a crowd pleaser, follow these steps for a treat your guests will still be talking about long after Thanksgiving dinner is over!
Chai Sugar Cookie Dough recipe:
Cream together: 1 cup of softened butter
1/3 cup of granulated sugar
1/3 cup of David Rio Tiger Spice Chai powder
Beat in: 1 egg
Add: 1 tsp. vanilla flavoring
½ tsp. salt
2 ½ cups sifted flour
I like to mix the flour in one measured portion at a time but when executing the final mix be careful not to overdo it, as over-mixing ingredients can toughen cookie dough. Separate the dough into 2 portions and flatten into discs so it is easier to roll out later. Wrap each portion in plastic wrap and chill dough 3-4 hours before rolling it out for cookie cutting.
Preheat your oven to 350. Roll out dough ¼” thick and cut with turkey cutter. Once your cookie sheet is full, bake turkeys about 13 minutes or until just browned. Let turkeys sit 1-2 minutes before removing them from the cookie sheet and cool them on wire racks. Once the turkey cookies have completely cooled, it’s time to decorate them.
Favor Place Card supplies needed:
- Turkey shaped cookie cutter. I ordered mine made of copper online, but you can also find them elsewhere including Amazon
- Wilton plastic party bags; I got mine at JoAnn
- Wilton Meringue Powder for cookie icing, also at JoAnn
- Wilton Candy Coloring at you guessed it, JoAnn
- Business card stock and fall leaves stickers, both from Paper Source
- Brach’s Candy Corn available at Target or most drugstore chains
- Necco candy buttons (optional)
- Paper shred; both Michael’s and JoAnn carry a variety of colors
- Coordinating ribbon to tie off the top of your favor bags, your choice
First mix up 3 colors of cookie icing; use whatever shades you think will best compliment the colors of candy used to create the tail. Once your icing is mixed and bagged for piping, set your candy eyes, candy corn and button pieces together and near the hand you work with most while decorating.
Dot the back of one eye with a bit of icing and place appropriately on the turkey’s head. Gently press down on eye to set, then let dry. Once eyes have been attached to all cookies, move on to creating the tails.
Pipe a stripe of each color around the edge of the tail. Once you have 3 stripes in place on one cookie, put icing bags down and insert candy pieces into the wet icing around the tail in an alternating pattern. It’s important to place the candy pieces onto the turkey tails one cookie at a time so that the candy will harden into the icing as it dries, ensuring that the pieces won’t move or come off after you’ve finished decorating your cookies. Lastly, add a red wattle and wing outline if you like.
Once all the cookies have been decorated, set aside and let icing dry for 6-8 hours before moving on to the finishing steps. The cookies are then ready to bag. Get your place card setting supplies together including paper shred to fill the bottom of each plastic bag with and attractive ribbon to use for sealing the top.
Get your business card stock and punch a hole for the ribbon in the top left corner. Then, get your list of guests and write the first name of each across the card, using the right spacing to also add a foil leaf sticker to the left of the printed name. Fill all the plastic bags with a measure of shred. Once that step is complete, cut strips of the ribbon (long enough to tie a knot around the top of the bag) and then lace the ribbons through the just punched name card holes. Place a turkey cookie into a bag and then tie closed with the name place card. After all cookie favors are bagged and ready to go, you can set them aside until its time to add them to the table place settings.
The end result is not only beautiful but delicious too! And if you don’t have time enough to make these turkey cookie place card holders, simply cut the chai cookie dough using fall leaf shaped cutters, bake and then sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar. Serve a yummy plate of these after dinner along with your other Thanksgiving desserts. If there are any left, the fall leaves cookies go great with the next day’s leftovers too. Whatever you decide, I’m hoping that you and yours find lovely treats on your own Thanksgiving dinner plates and enjoy a wonderful holiday celebration.
©2018 Lisa Ihnken All Rights Reserved