Gingerbread Turkeys to Gobble Up

Before we begin, excuse the title; I just couldn’t help myself.

Thanksgiving day can get a little chaotic.  We’ve found a way to save on time and oven/stove space with the “fryer” which has helped GREATLY, but there still can be awkward periods of time waiting for the turkey to rest or determining if you have enough room for dessert.  Lots of people can make it an even bigger challenge.  The hubbie and I also were lamenting the fact that we had no time for a holiday party as all of our weekends in December were claimed before the month started with family, weddings and the holidays.  When were we going to make our gingerbread houses?

An idea came to me where Thanksgiving triumphed over the Christmas commercialism– Gingerbread Turkeys!  We’d have plenty of time while the turkey cooked, an activity for everyone to enjoy, decorating gingerbread (albeit in a different shape) and a new married tradition.  #Winning.

I Googled paper turkey patterns and then eye balled a template.  The gingerbread holds its shape really well when it bakes so you don’t have to worry about it growing.  We had a lot of fun with this project, just be sure to buy fall colored candy before it’s all Christmas colors.

Gingerbread Dough:

  • 1 cup of shortening
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of molasses
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 5 cups sifted flour
  • 1 and 1/2 tsps of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp  ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup sugar for assembly “glue”

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cream shortening and sugar. Beat in egg, molasses and vinegar. Sift together flour, soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Blend wet and dry ingredients and chill for three hours or overnight.  Roll chilled dough out to 1/8-1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured surface.  Using the pattern, cut into shapes and place one inch apart on a cookie sheet.  This amount of dough should make enough for about 6 turkeys. Bake for 6-8 minutes until browned.  Allow pieces to cool completely.

You’ll need some cardboard wrapped in foil to attach the turkey pieces to with the melted sugar glue.  Melt the sugar in a NON STICK pan over low heat.  You’ll save yourself a lot of work here if you use non stick. Glue the tail and body together and then to the board.  This glue is VERY hot.  To decorate the turkeys use the icing instead:

Icing Recipe:

  • 1lb of powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of cream of tartar
  • 3 egg whites

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually add powdered sugar.  Beat for 10-12 minutes, until its stiff.  TIP: Spoon icing into plastic sandwich bags and seal out air until you’re ready to use. Each person will need a bag but makes application easy!

As for decoration items, we faced pretty slim pickings the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and ended up with regular and holiday M&Ms, mini Reese’s cups, Heath minis, Red Hots, and marshmallows.  The opportunities here are endless if you think about it creatively enough!  Get your Gobble on!

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