Farmhouse Inspired Thanksgiving Cookies
This summer my husband Alex and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary with a night out, a whale watch and a photo shoot on a gorgeous beach at sunset. Up until that morning I had no idea what I was going to wear, how my hair would look or if I would wear makeup, but the one thing I knew for sure was that my new gingham plaid picnic blanket would be there. I LOVE this blanket. It reminds me of one of the most amazing summers yet with ocean side picnics and 3 little boys in bare feet and sand covered knees. And let's be honest... I also love it because it's black and white and cute and makes me feel like I'm picnicing in a magazine. Once this blanket was in my life, my black and white gingham obsession began.
In our house, Fall is even crazier than normal because both my husband and I celebrate birthdays. His is October 11th and mine is actually today (November 16th)! I don't care that there are now 34 candles on my cake, I am a birthday celebrator. Everything feels different on your birthday. If it's raining (and oh boy is it raining), it's birthday rain! My coffee tastes better today. We're all in the same boat. This time of year things get....busy. Then they get.... swamped. Then they get.... HECTIC.
My brain is always spinning with cookie designs, most of which never get made because no matter how hard I try to change it, there are still just 24 hours in a day. (Who do I call to get this fixed?!) This is especially true this time of year, so I'm always happy to come up with a last minute, easy peasy kind of design that I can fit into my tight schedule. Cue gingham plaid.
Gingham plaid cookies fall into the category of "Looks harder than it is". In fact, every single cookie in this set is fast and easy to make if you have the right tools. So, what are the tools? To simplify this process even further, I've included links and shopping lists for the entire set as well as each individual cookie. That way you are just a few clicks away from recreating this set on your own. If you're a member of Amazon Prime, it's not even too late to snag some of this stuff before this Thanksgiving (Bless you, 2 day shipping!)
Here are the basics: Click here to view my Amazon Shop which includes many of the basic materials I used to make these cookies like food coloring, some of the cookie cutters and piping bags. The BEST Meringue powder, Stencil frame, life changing bag sealer and airbrush machine can be found here.
Okay, now let's break it down by cookie...
Gingham Plaid Pumpkins:
1) Flood pumpkin cookie with white icing (see video below) excluding the stem. I added a few drops of Americolor white gel color to the icing to make the white really pop against the black.
3) Rotate the stencil frame and airbrush the same lines vertically across. During this step, I tend to be a little lighter on the spray to create more levels of color. The squares that are already airbrushed from first round of spraying will get darker from the additional layer of color.
4) Finish off with thick royal icing piped with a tipless bag for the stem. I cut the hole to approximately the size of a Wilton #3 tip.
Slate Grey Pumpkins:
(Americolor black and slate)
Check out this video on how to flood pumpkin cookies 2 different ways, in one large section and in 3 separate sections. Don't forget to let the icing dry for a few minutes before filling in the middle section!
As shown in the above video, this little guy starts off as a simple pipe and flood cookie. Before moving on to the next step, you need to make sure the cookie is TOTALLY dry. Using this stencil by Killer Zebras in your stencil frame, position the stencil on top of your dry cookie. Using icing that is slightly thicker than piping consistency, smear icing over the stencil, making sure to cover the entire cookie. Using a scraper, smooth and remove excess icing until the design is even. This is why dry time is so important. The icing might look dry, but you can easily crush it under the pressure of the scraper. Carefully peel back the stencil and admire your work! Okay, so sometimes it's not that easy. Sometimes there are little icing stragglers that stubbornly hang over the edge. These are easy to fix with a damp paint brush. Just "paint" the little rough edges down the side of the cookie and you'll look like a pro!
Sage Green Leaves:
This adorable leaf cutter can be purchased here. I decorated the leaves 2 different ways. The first option is to pipe the outline and flood the entire cookie, then add the center line on top after the icing is dry. The second option is to pipe and flood the left side of the leaf first and allow to dry, then repeat with the right side.
Give Thanks Plaque
(White icing and black airbrush color)
This cookie can be decorated in an infinite number of ways. In this case, I iced the background in bright white, let it dry and airbrushed the same way as the pumpkins. I just had to squeeze one more bit of that Gingham plaid into this set!! The cutter is available from Bobbi's Cutters, but their shop is on vacation so I can't link the cutter at the moment. I'll be sure to update when it's back in biz!
These textures and techniques will carry you through Thanksgiving and into the holidays. I use that knit texture stencil on mitten and sweater cookies all the time! You can use a combination of the striped stencils to create a bunch of gorgeous Christmas plaids.
Although I've rolled my picnic blanket up for the season, I'm happy to find ways to carry the pattern over into other memories and occasions. This Thanksgiving, I have a lot to be thankful for and I'm not embarrassed to admit that this includes gingham plaid!