Friday, October 5, 2012

3-D Pumpkin Cookies Filled with Candy Corn

So here we go into Autumn/Fall. The leaves are changing (and not due to the overwhelming heat) and the temperatures are dropping. It's feeling good outside, my windows are open and the AC/Heat is off. I have no use for it currently. I'm loving the smells and the flavors of the season. Crunchy leaves, cool mornings, cinnamon and spices. Mmmm, making me hungry now.

So pumpkin, let's talk pumpkin. I love pumpkins in general. Great decoration, great food, and just all around fun. You can decorate them, use them as a craft, and cook with them. Or you can emulate them in your cooking/baking. Much as I have done here. I made these for a co-workers birthday. I just thought they were too cute and couldn't pass up the opportunity with an October birthday to boot. (A #1 excuse to bake - it's for someone's birthday).

I found this recipe from Glorious Treats. These were just too cute of an idea to pass up. So here I go. I changed things a little bit and used a few of my own recipes. My mom's "Christmas Cutout Cookies" and a basic "Royal Icing" recipe.

Use any roll out sugar cookie recipe you like. You can use Glorious Treats recipe or one that you like from your own recipe box.

For the royal icing, super simple.

3 egg whites
1 tsp cream of tartar
3 3/4 cup powdered sugar (give or take - roughly 1 lb/16 oz)

Place egg whites and cream of tartar in mixing bowl with whisk attachment - whisk until frothy.

Add powdered sugar gradually and mix until frosting forms stiff peaks and is glossy (about 5-7 min on medium high speed). Store covered with plastic wrap until ready to use. (can cover and place in fridge)

Easy no?

So for the dough, you need to color it. Take about a baseball size amount after you have made your dough. Maybe a tennis ball size. Set that dough aside. Color the remaining dough orange, you can either purchase orange food coloring or do what I do and add red and yellow together (see the color layers?)

Now take the small tennis ball sized dough and color a nice green color (sorry no pics of that).

Now you need to chill the dough for about 30 min. Then roll out on a lightly floured surface. You will need to cut out, with round or scalloped cookie cutters, 2 medium rounds with a hole cut out of the center and two solid rounds cut with a slightly smaller cookie cutter. Basically have a large, medium and small set of cutters (I obviously used just circles in three descending sizes. I would call them medium, small and tiny.) Once you have all your orange pieces cut out, place on sheet and bake. Make sure to keep an eye on them so they don't brown too much. If you have excess flour on your cookies take a brush and brush it off or dab a little water from a paper towel to get rid of that.

Now you will need that tennis ball you've dyed green. Roll it out and cut out with a small round cutter, smaller than the solid rounds. Then you will need a straw to cut a hole out in the center for the stem. Just blow the dough out of the straw and bake and it works great for the stem.

You can bake the stem right in the top or you can do what I did and just "glue" it on with the royal icing.

Once your cookies are baked and cooled, make your royal icing. You can color it orange or leave as is. I left it white because I was too lazy last night to color it orange, and it didn't bother me to have a little sticking out.

Once your icing is done, pack a bit in a zip top bag, snip off one corner and pipe a little on the top, around the edges, of 1 solid orange circle  Place a orange ring on top, pipe frosting on the orange ring, then place the second orange ring on top of that. Now, take the green tops and put a dab of icing on the bottom of your leaf top and place on last solid circle. Let everything dry. DO NOT CAP OFF YOUR PUMPKINS YET!!! 

Once your icing has hardened, give it 10-30 min, fill your pumpkins with candy of choice. I did candy corn. Glorious Treats did mini M&M's. Be creative, use your favorite candy bits.

NOW pipe a small bit around the edge of the top ring and place your pumpkin caps on. Let set overnight and voila! You have cute as a button pumpkin 3-D cookies.

Easy no? I enjoyed making these, I wish they had turned out a bit cuter but I think part of that was making some of my rings and circles too thin. Try to stay at about 1/4 inch thickness at the thinnest. I need to get rings for my rolling pin so I can keep track of this. I have one of those solid wooden dowel-esque rolling pins. The kind that could seriously injure an intruder.

So go out and cook. Get creative and make something cute today. Enjoy Fall and all it's glory. Windows opened, pumpkin cookies baking, and candy corn in abundance (and all mine I might add since Mike detests the stuff he he. More for me.)