Thanksgiving is less than a week away! I wanted to provide a tutorial for these cute Thanksgiving turkey buttercream sugar cookies before it gets too late. I know that for many of us, Thanksgiving 2020 is going to look a lot different than normal. My Thanksgiving tradition seems to vary often on location, but for the most part, we have Thanksgiving day at my in-laws and then that weekend we travel three hours over the mountains to my parent’s house. It’s always a great time to see family. This year, with COVID and being in my third trimester, we’ve decided to stay home. I purchased a frozen turkey breast and we will see what happens for sides! But, these Thanksgiving turkey buttercream sugar cookies will be snacked on the days leading up to the big feast. Follow along for a beginner-friendly, step-by-step tutorial!
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Part 1: Gathering your Supplies for your Thanksgiving Turkey Buttercream Sugar Cookies
To create these cute Thanksgiving turkey buttercream sugar cookies, you will want to gather:
- 5 Icing bags
- 5 Couplers
- Wilton tip #s 2, 3, 12, and 104
- Turkey cookie cutter – You can get the exact one that I used here: Ann Clark Turkey Cookie Cutter
- Brown, red, yellow, black, and white buttercream frosting*
- Flat spatula – this 9″ one by Wilton is the perfect size for cookies: Wilton 9″ Angled Flat Spatula
*Your buttercream frosting should, ideally, be a frosting that “crusts.” This means that the frosting will form an outer crust to protect it while traveling. I use the Jenny Cookies recipe that you can find on her blog here: Jenny Cookies Buttercream Frosting. I prefer to use the Wilton gel food dye since gel is more vibrant (i.e. more cost effective because you use less) than liquid and doesn’t change the consistency of your frosting. You can get that here: Wilton Gel Coloring 12 Count.
You may be asking, “What are couplers?” Couplers allow you to change your tips on your icing bags. Check out my page, Getting Started: Learn How to Decorate Buttercream Cookies, to learn how to do this. Essentially, you will attach a coupler to each icing bag. When you need to attach a tip, just make sure to rinse out the previous color from the tip with hot water. Purchasing a set of couplers is pretty affordable on Amazon: 4 Count Wilton Coupler Set.
Part 2: Baking the Cookies and Setting up Your Icing Bags
- Roll, cut out, and bake your sugar cookies according to your cookie dough recipe.
- Make your buttercream icing and separate it into five bowls. You will be using the most brown frosting, so you can adjust the amount of frosting on your bowls accordingly. Mix up all four (one is left undyed) colors, one in each bowl of course.
- Set up your icing bags as follows: Place each frosting color into their own icing bags with a coupler in it. If you aren’t sure how to do this, no worries, just hop over to my Getting Started: Learn How to Decorate Buttercream Cookies page. You do not need to add the tips to the couplers yet.
Part 3: The Fun Part! Frosting Your Thanksgiving Turkey Buttercream Sugar Cookies
*Special Note – make sure to complete each step on all of your Thanksgiving turkey buttercream sugar cookies. This saves time and energy since all of the colors will be sharing tips and you will need to rinse/dry the tip between color changes.
- Your first step will be to outline and fill in the turkey’s beak. Attach tip #2 to your yellow frosting to do this step and repeat it for each of your turkeys. 2. Attach the tip #3 to your red bag of frosting and outline and fill in the turkey’s neck. Then, use the same tip and red frosting to create the turkey’s snood! I definitely had to look up what this was called! To do this, squeeze a good sized dot of frosting at the bottom of the snood and then curve it up and over the beak. 3. Attach the tip #12 to the brown bag of frosting. Create the turkey’s tail feathers (Did anyone else just immediately think of the song, “Shake Ya Tailfeathers” by P. Diddy & Nelly? Just me?!) with the frosting by starting at the end of the tail and moving the bag of icing toward the turkey’s stomach. Make sure to hold the tip close to the cookie so that you aren’t creating logs of frosting, but rather cutting into the top of the frosting a bit to create a flatter surface. 4. Use the same frosting and tip to outline and fill in the turkey’s stomach. Again, hold the tip close to the cookie. Then, take a flat spatula to smooth the surface of the stomach. 5. Use the white frosting with tip #3 attached (you will need to remove/rinse/dry the tip from the red bag of frosting before attaching it to the white frosting) to squeeze out a dot for the eye. Then use the black frosting, with tip 2 attached (remove/rinse/dry the tip #2 from the yellow frosting) and squeeze out a small dot for the pupil. 6. Use the white frosting, still with tip #3 attached, to outline the top edges of the turkey’s tailfeathers. I found this to be easiest if I rotated the cookie 90 degrees so that I didn’t drag the white frosting while creating the scalloped edge. 7. Remove/rinse/dry the tip #3 from the white icing and remove/rinse/dry the tip #12 from the brown frosting. Attach the tip #104 to the white frosting and pipe out one row of wing feathers. To do this, hold the icing bag so that the skinny side of the tip is about 45 degrees up and the fat side of the tip is down, resting on the turkey’s stomach. 8. Make sure to repeat all of step 7 on each turkey. Then, remove/rinse/dry the tip #104 from the white icing and attach it to the brown frosting. Repeat step 7 with the brown frosting. 9. Again, make sure to repeat all of step 8 on each cookie before moving onto this step. Remove/rinse/dry the tip #104 from the brown frosting and attach it to the white frosting. Pipe out the last layer of feathers for the turkey’s wing, just as you did in steps 7 & 8. 10. Lastly, go back to your yellow frosting and attach tip #2 to it. You will need to remove/rinse/dry the tip #2 from the black frosting. Draw the turkey’s legs and feet.
Aren’t these the cutest little Thanksgiving turkey buttercream sugar cookies? Everyone always goes straight to pie for dessert ideas but these cookies would be the perfect fun alternative. You can also make them the week leading up to Thanksgiving, as I have done, and store them in a airtight container on the counter. Snack on them throughout the week!
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