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close-up of feather-shaped striped sugar stacked on a plate

Turkey Feather-Shaped Cookies

By Brenda Ponnay

I’m a sucker for a good cookie. If you are serving tea and a plate of cookies is offered, I cannot say No. I might skip the spoon full of sugar and pass hard on the cream but I’ll never skip a good tea cookie.  Why is that? Because they are delicious and nothing compliments a strong cup of tea better than a lightly sweet, buttery but firm, tea cookie.

close-up of Feather Sugar Cookies for Thanksgiving on two plates on white tablecloth

Now let’s talk about making them. Do you know the secret to a good biscuit shortbread cookie? Cornstarch!

I had no idea either. But when I was researching how to make sugar cookies that keep their sharp edges, I stumbled upon this recipe from Baking a Moment and I am never going back. I have unlocked the secret of the artsy fartsy cookie and the possibilities are endless! And that is why I bring my “Turkey Feather Shortbread Cookie” just in time for Thanksgiving!

close-up of ingredients to make cookies from scratch

These cookies are made from a mixture of half gingerbread and half vanilla sugar cookie dough. It’s a match made in tea cookie heaven. Light and buttery but with a firm bite and a stiff texture with just a touch of spice, kind of like walking outside in fall weather.

three close-up photos of rolled-out cookie dough cut out into strips and aligned into stripes

I made the dough the day before and rolled it out to a little thicker than ¼ inch before I cut it into strips.

three close-up photos of how to create striped cookie dough

Then I lay the strips side-by-side and smashed the stripes (gently) together with another few well-floured rolls of the rolling pin. So pretty, right?

close-up photo of rolled-out cookie dough and cut into scored feather-shaped cookies

Then with the backside of a butter knife, I used large sweeping motions to cut the dough into feather shapes. Then I lightly made lines down the middle and small strokes going outwards to created feather marks. These could just as easily (and maybe even more convincingly) be autumn leaves but I was stuck on the “turkey feather” idea. After I had baked all the batches my daughter informed me that I should have made chevron stripes and then the feathers would look more realistic but I’ll leave that to more talented pastry chefs.  Chevron stripes are definitely possible to make but not in time for this food craft post.

close-up of feather-shaped striped sugar cookie dough ready to bake

A secret tip to handling these cookies is to roll them and cut them right on the parchment paper they will be baked on. This negates any unnecessary handling of the quickly melting delicate dough. Sometimes I cut spaces between the leaves and sometimes I was able to gently lift them apart from each other with the edge of my knife. But spacing probably doesn’t really matter because these cookies don’t rise and hardly move from their spots. They are surprisingly easy to work with.

two overhead photos of feather-shaped sugar cookie dough on tray ready to bake

I made a bunch of batches of striped cookies and then smashed together the scraps of dough and made some more motley feathers…just like they would be in the wild. I also made a few that were all sugar cookie dough and all gingerbread because I was planning on gifting them and figured a variety would look really pretty in a mason jar.

two photos of feather-shaped striped cookies coming out of the oven and on a plate

They baked up really nicely and looked so pretty on a plate. I can see making a wreath with them. Wouldn’t that be pretty?

overhead photo of feather-shaped striped tea cookies on a plate and next to saucer

Then to celebrate my hard work I called my teenager out to have a tea party with me.

four photos of teen girl dipping feather-shaped cookie in tea and on a plate

She just had her braces tightened so biting into brittle tea cookies wasn’t so easy for her but she would like you to know they taste just as good dipped in tea.

Turkey Feather-shaped cookies for tea time in an Anchor Hocking Jar

There you have it: the perfect Thanksgiving tea cookie!

feather-shaped striped sugar cookies stored in a large Anchor Hocking jar with tea cup in foreground

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

More on Thanksgiving:


1. Handprinted Turkey Apron for Thanksgiving
2. Thanksgiving Drink Stirrer DIY
3. Best Apple Cupcakes (with cinnamon frosting)


About the Author

Brenda Ponnay

Brenda Ponnay is an author and illustrator who loves to craft and make big messes when she’s not working on her books. Whether it’s painting, baking, drawing, making castles out of card...

Brenda Ponnay is an author and illustrator who loves to craft and make big messes when she’s not working on her books. Whether it’s painting, baking, drawing, making castles out of cardboard boxes or just doing the laundry with flair, Brenda Ponnay has learned that what really makes her happy is being creative every single day.

You can read about all her crazy adventures on her personal blog: Secret Agent Josephine.

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