With Thanksgiving only a couple of weeks away, many of you who are hosting dinners have undoubtedly begun planning the meal. Getting as much done ahead of time will allow you to spend more time with family and friends. Things like pie crusts, cranberry sauce, and even gravy can be made weeks ahead of time and frozen. You can also start thinking about your table decorations. Some people get so overwhelmed with the thought of preparing an entire Thanksgiving dinner that they put very little effort into decorating the table. I think this is such a shame! If you’re going to spend all that time cooking an elaborate Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t it make sense to put some extra thought into the table decorations? After all, this is the stage for the beautiful meal you’ll spend hours preparing. Floral arrangements are lovely, but oh so boring. Why not create something truly unique and memorable – like Thanksgiving Cookie Votives! These charming cookie votives are a little labor intensive but so worth the effort. They’ll dress up your table and are sure to be a conversation starter. Plus, you can serve them for dessert. Below are some tips for making Thanksgiving Cookie Votives. For complete step by step instructions see the printable recipe at the end of this post.
These are the cookie cutters I used to make the votives. The rectangle cookie cutter measures 3″ x 2 ¼ inches. The mini cookies cutters are about 1″ in diameter.
If you don’t have a rectangle cookie cutter you can use the top of a jewelry box as a guide – it’s roughly the same size.
You’ll need about 24 orange lifesaver candies to make the stained glass in the votives. I used a meat pounder to crush up the candies right inside of their wrappers before transferring them to a small bowl. Make sure the candy pieces are fairly small so they melt quickly and evenly to form the stained glass.
Bake the cookies for 5 minutes then remove from the oven and fill each of the cookie cut-outs with 1/2 teaspoon of crushed lifesaver candy. Use a toothpick to spread it around as evenly as possible, making sure to push the candy into any small crevices. Return the cookies to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
Here’s what the cookies will look like when you pull them out of the oven. Let them cool completely before assembling.
The votives are assembled/glued together with royal icing. I like to put the icing in a small squeeze bottle fitted with a #2 piping tip. The key to making the assembly of these votives manageable is to have a dedicated work space. I lined one half of our basement ping-pong table with parchment paper and used this as a staging area. This enabled me to leave the cookies undisturbed and out of the way while the icing dried, and then come back to them for the next step in the assembly or decoration.
To start assembling the votives pipe a line of icing down the right hand side of one cookie. Have another cookie without icing nearby.
Stand the iced cookie up and press the side edge of the other cookie into the icing, Use a spice bottle to prop up the cookies while they set and dry. Repeat this procedure with the remaining cookies. When you’re done you’ll have 24 pairs of cookies. Let the cookies set and dry at least 6 hours or overnight.
To join the pairs of cookies together to create votives, lay two pairs of cookies flat and pipe a line of icing down the left hand side of each pair.
Stand the pairs of cookies up and join them together. Repeat this process with all the remaining cookies. Let all the votives set and dry at least 6 hours or overnight before adding the decorative dots of icing.
The votives will have two (opposite) sides that show seams of icing. Lay the votives on their side and pipe dots of icing (called beads) down the two seams. Let the icing dry at least 6 hours and then flip the votives over onto the other side and pipe beads of icing down the seams on that side. Let the icing dry and set.
The last step is to pipe beads of icing along the top edges of cookies.
Store the votives in zip lock bags or airtight containers to keep them fresh until Thanksgiving.
This is the type of battery operated tea light candle you should use to light the cookie votives. They can be found in craft stores and on-line.
HAVE A WONDERFUL THANKSGIVING!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa
- 25 orange lifesaver candies, crushed
- ½ lb. confectioners’ sugar, about 2 cups
- 1 Tablespoon dried egg whites or meringue powder
- 3 ½ to 4 Tablespoons warm water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk flour, salt, and baking powder together. In a separate bowl mix the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and cocoa. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix until well combined. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.
- Roll out the dough on a floured surface to approximately ⅙” thickness. Stamp out 48 cookies using a rectangle cookie cutter that measures 3” x 2 ¼” and place on parchment lined baking sheets. Using Thanksgiving themed miniature cookie cutters approximately 1” in diameter, cut out the center of each cookie. Bake for 5 minutes then remove from the oven and evenly sprinkle ½ tsp. of crushed orange lifesaver candy into the center cut-out of each cookie. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before decorating and assembling, at least 1 hour.
- Combine confectioners’ sugar and dried egg whites/meringue powder in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Set on low speed. Add the water gradually and mix for 8-10 minutes until thick. Transfer the icing to a piping bag or squeeze bottle fitted with a #2 piping tip. On the bottom/underside of 1 cookie pipe a line of icing on the right hand edge. Stand the cookie up and press the side edge of another cookie into the line of icing and press to adhere. Use a spice bottle to prop and hold up the cookies while they dry and set. Repeat this procedure with the remaining cookies. You should end up with 24 pairs of cookies in total. Let all the cookies dry and set at least 6 hours or overnight then glue the pairs of cookies together to form 12 square, bottomless votives. Let these dry and set 6 hours or overnight. To decorate the outside lay each votive on its side and pipe beads of icing along the seams. Let the icing dry at least 6 hours then flip each votive over and repeat the process on the opposite side of the votives. The last step is to pipe beads of icing along all 4 top edges of each votive. Light the votives with small battery operated tea light candles.
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