Sure to delight and impress Thanksgiving guests, is transforming dough into a bread cornucopia or edible pumpkin-shape dinner rolls!

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For this month’s Craft Blog Hop, I’m sharing how to form bread, roll or pizza dough into fun fall food displays.

It’s surprising fast and easy to do too!

These aren’t recipes, but just shaping and molding packaged dough into iconic Thanksgiving symbols, like a horn of plenty or pumpkin.

And, you don’t have to be a gourmet chef or talented crafter to assemble an impressive bread cornucopia or twist dough into a mini pumpkin!

Let me show you how I did it — even in the midst of preparing a Thanksgiving feast.

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Bounty of Seasonal Crafts

Welcome to those coming from Jemma’s and her beautiful fresh magnolia wreath. Bee sure to check out all 15 seasonal craft projects at the end of this post.

Last year, we hosted 16 family members for Thanksgiving. They came by car and plane from six different cities. We had a houseful of overnight guests, with the overflow in a nearby hotel.

Thanksgiving-family-gathering

Activities and meals were planned from Wednesday through Sunday; including and a bowling tournament and awards dinner at a local restaurant.


 

 

Wanting to make it an extra special occasion, I pulled out all the stops! To personalize the settings at three different tables, I crafted DIY Thanksgiving Table Family Photo Place Cards.

Easy to Make Fall Decor: Sweater Pumpkins were incorporated into centerpieces. See them on the Pumpkin Patch Table for Thanksgiving Brunch.

On the dinner tables, the pumpkins also served as take-home guest favors. I’ll be sharing the trio of different settings on November 3rd as part of the Thanksgiving Tablescape Blog Hop.

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Serving the feast buffet-style from the kitchen island, I also wanted to festively display and present the food itself.

Juggling Time & Oven Space

My first bread cornucopia was a basic design. Pressed for time — and with only one oven to prepare the entire feast (in addition to two slow cookers, microwave and five-burner cooktop) — I opted to keep it simple.

On that Wednesday afternoon, I waited until hubby’s three pumpkin pies were baked and cooling. While he doesn’t fuss over crust edging and decorative details, is more than made up for in a flaky crust, sooth texture and delicious taste!

cooling-pumpkin-pie-trio

A search online for “bread cornucopia” generates multiple images and tutorial options. Some are far more magazine-worthy, pinable photographs than my basic style. They are elaborate designs, with braiding or festive embellishments. Most challenging and time-consuming are those with strips of dough weaved to resemble a basket.

Well, I didn’t have time for that — especially on a first attempt. And, there was still Wednesday’s dinner to prepare for seven with more family arriving on different flights late that evening.

Thanksgiving-bread-cornucopia-basket-pumpkin-shape-rolls

By sharing the most basic form, my hope is to show how fast and easy it is to craft a bread cornucopia — and inspire you to create your own. All it takes is a little pre-planning.

thanksgiving-mom-kitchen-prep

In fairness, it also helped that I had a lot of help from family who pitched in with meals and cleanup. That included my mom, who flew in the weekend before Thanksgiving to attend her sister’s lovely wedding in Pittsburgh.

How to Make a Bread Cornucopia

The directions I most closely followed was Allrecipes Cornucopia Recipe. Allow about an hour and a half to make a bread cornucopia from start to finish. Half that time is baking in the oven.

Supplies

Other than the packaged dough, you probably already have everything else you need in your kitchen.

bread-cornucopia-baked

  • Heavy-duty foil 
  • Ruler
  • Clear tape
  • Bread, roll or pizza dough (# of packages depends on type of dough, size and detailing of cornucopia)
  • Egg
  • Water
  • Rolling pin
  • Knife and/or pizza wheel cutter
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Cookie sheet
  • Cooling rack

Tip: When using frozen dough, remember to allow about 20 minutes for it to thaw first. 

Step 1: Mold Foil Form

Start by shaping sheets of foil into the form of a cornucopia. First, tear off about a 30″ x 18″ sheet of aluminum foil. Double the thickness by then folding it in half.

Thanksgiving-bread-cornucopia-make-foil-cone-form

To form a hollow cone, roll the foil sheet diagonally. You need about a 5″ diameter at the open end of the cone. Next, seal the seam with clear tape on what will be the underside of the bread cornucopia.

Thanksgiving-bread-cornucopia-stuff-foil-cone-form

Now you’re ready to stuff the cone full with crumpled foil. Finally, bend and curve the tail of the cone up, into the shape of a comma.

Tip: Creating the cone form can be done days or even weeks in advance, and put aside until you’re ready to assemble and bake the bread cornucopia. 

Step 2: Cut, Shape & Glaze Dough

Liberally spray the outside of the foil cone with non-stick cooking spray. Don’t forget the underside! While preheating the oven to 350 degrees, place the cone on a cookie sheet.

Beat the egg with water to make a glaze to brown the bread. It also serves as a sort of glue to keep the strips of dough from separating.

thanksgiving-bread-cornucopia-cut-dough-strips

Now, open and unroll the first package of dough. If using multiple packages, keep each in the frig until you are ready to work with it.

Here’s where I differed from the directions. I couldn’t find three packages of breadstick dough during a big grocery shopping trip. Instead, I bought two store brand pizza doughs. Then, I used a pizza wheel cutter to cut the dough into about 1″ wide strips.

Tip: If planning for an edible bread cornucopia, you probably should use bread or roll dough.

Thanksgiving-bread-cornucopia-dough-wrapped-foil-cone

Begin by wrapping one strip around the curved tip of the foil cone. As you add each subsequent strip of dough, brush the end with egg wash. Then, slightly overlap the pieces of dough together, pressing to attach the two ends. Remember to wrap all the way around the foil cone, including the underside. Continue wrapping the dough strips until you’ve covered the form.


 

 

This is the point where you could add more dough embellishments; like braiding or cookie cutter leaves. When you’ve finished, brush the egg wash over the bread cornucopia — but not the bottom, or it will stick to the cookie sheet.

Tip: Allow about 45 minutes to complete the first two steps.

Step 3 & 4: Bake & Remove Foil Form

Bake the bread cornucopia for about 45 minutes. The bread should be a rich brown color. Check it a couple of times to make sure it doesn’t get too dark. If so, cover with foil until it’s finished baking.

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Remove the baked bread from the oven and first cool on the cookie sheet. While it’s still warm, remove the bread from the cookie sheet and let it finishing cooling on a wire rack.

thanksgiving-bread-cornucopia-baked-browned

Tip: You can craft and bake the cornucopia up to about a week ahead of time. Freeze it with the foil still in place for support. Wait until the bread is completely thawed before removing the foil.

Once cool, remove the foil from the interior of the bread cornucopia.

bread-cornucopia-hollow-center

Tip: The cool cornucopia can also be sprayed with shellac or clear enamel (inside and out) to preserve and reuse it for a longer period. However, it will be inedible. 

Multi-Purpose Server

My bread cornucopia did double-duty on Thanksgiving as both a cracker and bread basket.

Thanksgiving-bread-cornucopia-cracker-basket

To allow time for out-of-town family to travel to Pittsburgh, we don’t eat Thanksgiving dinner until about six. From around 2-4:30 PM, I put out snacks, appetizers and beverages.

thanksgiving-hors-d'oeuvre-groaning-board

This year, my sister-in-law prepared, traveled and put out a gorgeous spread of delectable treats on my antique wallpaper table. We decided to use the crafted cornucopia as a cracker basket.


 

 

It would also work well as part of a fruit and cheese or crudité platter. Another option would be to incorporate it into a display of fall non-edibles; like Indian corn, gourds, and pinecones.

mini-pumpkin-shape-dinner-rolls

But for Thanksgiving dinner, I elected to fill the horn of plenty with pumpkin-shape dinner rolls.

Make Pumpkin-Shape Rolls

With everything else on my plate (unintentional pun lol!), I once again chose a simple approach to making pumpkin-shape dinner rolls. That meant using packaged, Pillsbury crescent roll dough. No recipe required!

mini-pumpkin-shape-roll-pecan-stem

Aren’t they cute?

Step 1: Rollout Dough & Cut Into Strips

First, open and unroll the dough on a floured surface. Eliminate the pre-marked seams of the rolls by pressing the dotted lines together with your fingertips. Then smooth out the dough with a rolling pin.

Next, cut the dough into one-inch by foot-long strips, and roll each into a rope.

roll-cut-twist-crescent-roll-dough-pumpkin-rolls

To shape the rolls into a pumpkin is a bit tricky, but takes just a few tries to get the hang of. Basically, it’s a matter of knotting and looping the dough.

Step 2: Loop & Wrap Tails

First create a small loop in the rope, with a long and short tail end (see above). Take the long tail and wrap it in and around the loop several times.

Then wrap the short tail around the loop once, tucking it through the center. Pinch both of the ends together, on the bottom side of the roll.

Step 3: Insert Pecan Stem & Bake

Finally, insert a sliced pecan into the center of each roll, pressing so the nut touches the cookie sheet. Bake as directed on the package. Yield is about the same as the number of crescent rolls per container.

cool-baked-mini-pumpkin-shape-dinner-rolls

Tip: Check about halfway through baking to see if the pecan stems need repositioned.

I discovered the shaping method on Flour Arrangements Pumpkin Dinner Rolls. But, rather than make pumpkin-flavor dough from scratch, I “cheated” with ready-made. Go there for fully illustrated instructions, if mine left you scratching your head lol!

Thanksgiving-buffet-bread-cornucopia-pumpkin-shaped-rolls

I put together the 36 pumpkin shape rolls while the bread cornucopia was baking. After they cooled, Mom and I placed the rolls in an airtight container overnight. Although served at room temperature, the rolls were still nice and fresh for Thanksgiving dinner — and leftovers on Saturday.

See Thanksgiving Table Setting: When Three’s a Charm for more holiday entertaining ideas.

Horn of Plenty

Even if your aren’t hosting Thanksgiving dinner, you might want to consider making a bread cornucopia or pumpkin shaped rolls. Perhaps as a hostess gift or as your contribution to the feast? As mentioned earlier, the cornucopia could also be part of a beautiful fruit and cheese or crudité platter.

Giant grapevine cornucopia that is part of my fall decor and several past Thanksgiving tablescapes.

You might then have the extra time to weave the dough, or add braiding and other more elaborate detailing. That’s what I plan to do the next time I make a bread cornucopia. And, I will also spray it with a protective coating to see if it lasts for more than one season.

How about you? Game to give either or both bread crafts a try this year?

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