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Family Matters: Turkey Cookies

Over the past five years, my little family has started a new tradition of taking a vacation during the week of Thanksgiving. Every year now, we travel to a different state or town to enjoy this holiday. Most of the time we take the grandparents with us so they can spend time with the grandkids and also enjoy the location whether it’s the snow in Colorado or the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.

As we began a new tradition with my family, some old traditions can never change. My mom has to make the dressing, which is a recipe handed down from her mother. My sister-in-law has to make the potato casserole which is a recipe handed down from her mother as well. I have to bring the turkey cookies. Yes, turkey cookies. And no, it’s not a recipe handed down from my mother! Well, maybe the sugar cookie ingredients are handed down from her.

Since I was about ten years old, every year at Thanksgiving I would make turkey cookies. Which is actually sugar cookies cut out in the shape of turkeys and decorated with icing.  To this day, the family always asks if I’m bringing the turkey cookies to Thanksgiving.  Now that my daughter has turned 10, I am happily passing this tradition down to her!

Turkey Cookies


1 cup Crisco
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
2 Tbs milk
3 cups flour

Preheat Oven to 350° F. Combine Crisco, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beat with a mixer until creamy. Stir in baking powder then gradually add flour and milk and stir until blended together. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least up to 3 hours.
Lightly sprinkle an inverted cookie sheet and rolling pin with flour. Roll dough out onto an inverted cookie sheet. Press cookie cutter into dough and remove excess dough around cutter. Work excess cookie dough back into a ball and repeat process. Bake cookies for 8 minutes (they should not turn brown).

2 egg whites, beaten
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
2 Tbs lemon juice

Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until peaks form. Gradually add in sugar and cream of tartar until mixture is thick enough to hold its shape. Spread on top of cookies and serve.

Whatever your tradition is for Thanksgiving, remember that time spent with family is by far the best tradition of all.

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