Turtle Doves

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me …
Two sugar cookie turtle doves
and A partridge in a pear tart!

DSC_0746Nothing screams the holidays more than iced sugar cookies. We’ve been making this recipe since I was a kid and decorating them all kinds of ways. Last year I made giant snowflakes and delivered them to our neighbors, Christmas trees for the guys at the Christmas tree lot and ornaments with guests’ names piped on them for a holiday party.

Sugar Cookies

This week I made turtle doves inspired by the “12 Days of Christmas.” Since they are known as “love birds” I made them in pairs, kissing, naturally.

Grab this cookie cutter from William-Sonoma , get to baking and check out some bird inspired paintings from one my favorite local artists. 


I went ahead and doubled the sugar cookie dough recipe because it freezes really well. Just roll it out in 1 inch thick rounds, wrap in plastic, throw in the freezer and pull out whenever guests pop by. You need to refrigerate the dough for about an hour before you roll it out anyway. If you are using it from the freezer, let thaw about 30 minutes so it’s manageable.

Roll Out

Kids LOVE to help cut out and decorate sugar cookies. I have a huge collection of cookie cutters but I think it’s fun to stick with a theme. Here, I did all birds. It’s fun to do something like all different size Christmas trees and decorate them all different.


I like to use Royal Icing because it dries hard and you can stack the cookies. I used Martha Stewart’s Royal Icing recipe from her December issue (the cookies on the cover are adorable) but I didn’t have any meringue powder so I ended up just substituting with egg whites and it worked perfectly (I also added a little vanilla for flavor).


Deluxe Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Mix thoroughly butter, confectioners’ sugar, egg, vanilla and almond extract. Blend in remaining ingredients. Cover the dough and chill for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Divide the dough in half. Roll each half about 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut into desired shapes. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 7 to 8 minutes or until golden. Do not over bake (cookie will get hard). Immediately remove cookies from baking sheet and place on a wire cooling rack.


Local Art:

Since I am loving the bird theme lately, I thought that I would show you one of my favorite local artists. I found David Arms’ work at the Brentwood Academy Art Show (which is THIS WEEKEND by the way – go and get amazing Christmas gifts) years and years ago and since have visited his Leiper’s Fork gallery … which is a cozy dream (coffee and fire places and art).

These are just a couple of his bird inspired pieces—gush!

David Arms