10 Must Know Turkey Tips from the Chefs

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and it's just about time to start planning that delicious feast. Here are 10 "must-knows" and Chef secrets for preparing the turkey. 

1. For every 4 lbs the turkey weighs, allow 1 hour of cooking time. Ex: A 16 lb. turkey needs at least 4 hours of cooking time.
2. If you're not sure about the cooking time, use a meat thermometer. Take the temp. of the breast and thighs (don't touch the bones) the temperature should reach 165º for at least 15 seconds.
3. Say the turkey breast is fully cooked but the thighs haven't reached doneness- put a piece of foil over the breast of the bird and continue to roast on low.  
4. You've started carving and the bird is dry? Continue carving and lay the slices in a serving dish with chicken stock and herbs. The turkey sops up the stock- adds moisture and flavor.
5. Brining a turkey is the secret to a more moist, flavorful bird. The salt in a brine expands the cells of the turkey by pulling in water and trapping in extra flavor. Click here for a brining recipe.
6. Baste, baste, baste. Besides creating a coating of flavor on the bird and adding moisture, every time you open the oven you release 15º. This allows for the turkey to cook lower and slower, resulting in a more tender turkey.
7. Stuff the cavity of the turkey with onion,  celery, carrots, sprigs of herbs and/or a half of lemon. These will flavor the turkey from the inside out (with or without stuffing).

8. Make a gravy by adding a 1/4 c. of butter and flour to the pan your turkey cooked in (over med. heat). Whisk in 2 c. of stock and allow gravy to thicken. Season and if necessary use an emulsifier or blender for a smoother gravy. 
9. Cook your turkey upside down. Believe it or not this adds great moisture to the turkey.  The fats and juices from the dark meat drain down and baste the white meat. In the last hour turn you bird right side up to continue cooking.

10. What to do with leftovers: Carve turkey,  bag and freeze. Create amazing dishes like turkey croquetes and turkey and stuffing casserole. Or,  try my delicious "Day after Thanksgiving Quiche" that I posted on A Taste of Home. This recipe uses your turkey, roast, ham, mac & cheese, greens,  and stuffing! 

Happy Thanksgiving! 


Hello Cakesters! 
I hope you all have been getting your Fall baking in. Can you believe that Thanksgiving is ONLY 13 days away? O.O After Halloween the days just seem to speed on by.

Well, to celebrate the season and get you guys ready for some Thanksgiving fun- I've got some amazinsg cupcakes for you guys. The DIY video is just as fun as these cupcakes and is uploading as we speak so don't forget to visit the Youtube Page for the full video.

 Step 1: You'll need- Cooled cupcakes, fondant, buttercream, caramel sauce and an appetite. To prep, you'll need fondant in colors: green, orange, yellow, brown and white.
 Step 2: Peas & Carrots- Roll small amounts of green fondant into little balls to create peas. Take the orange fondant and either break off pieces to form small cubes or carefully use a knife for more precision. Make sure your knife is sharp or use a razor blade. I'd recommend shaping the cubes by hand. Smear a little frosting on top of your cupcake and randomly place on your peas and carrots.
 Step 3: Turkey time- Roll out the brown fondant until it's considerably thin and by using either a circle cutter or drinking glass (about the same circumference of the cupcake) cut out circles. Spread a little bit of frosting over your cupcakes and place the fondant on top. Create the neck line of the turkey by making a small indent on one side.
 Step 4: Shape small pieces of brown fondant into cones. You'll need 4 cones per cupcake to create the wings and legs. Take two of the cones, pinch the larger end so that it's flat, and bend the pointy end upward (these are your wings). Glue each piece on with a little bit of water like the picture below.
 We also made two tiny sized balls out of white fondant and stuck them to the tips of the legs to create the turkey bones.
 Step 5: Mashed Potatoes with Gravy- Add a little bit of fondant to your frosting to create a "chunky" affect. Using a small slanted spatula or butter knife add your frosting while creating a small space in the center for your "gravy". Using your favorite caramel sauce, spoon a small amount in the center. Roll out your yellow fondant, and cut in small squares to create the butter and to finish those tasty taters off.
*Couture in a Cupcake*