These crisp vanilla cornucopias are filled with dark chocolate and sweet little fruits and vegetables—as delightful to look at as they are to eat!
If you don’t have cream horn molds, you’ll want to pick some up at your local kitchen store, or buy a dozen online for less than $10.00. You won’t be sorry!
You can fill these babies however you please. Marzipan fruits, little chocolate leaves…go where your imagination takes you! For those of you who are
sissies reluctant to create your own little decorations, I’ll give you options ranging from “easy-peasy” to “seriously???” so you can pick your method. You know which one I prefer, of course…but then, I can’t resist playing with my food.
This is a basic sugar cookie recipe with just a little brown sugar to add color, and an extra egg white to add to the crisp factor. Think of the cornucopia as “sugar cone meets fortune cookie” and you will know what to expect. The chocolate coating just puts this cookie over the top!
Honestly? I loved the crunchy cookie and chocolate without any decorations at all. You’ll have a few that don’t come out pretty, so I’m sure you’ll be able to munch on one or two. Or three.
I’ll give you the cookie recipe and instructions first, then tell you how I made the decorations.
|Crispy Cornucopia Cookies
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup white sugar
- ½ cup butter (softened)
- 1 egg plus 1 egg white
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2⅔ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
- Decorations, if desired: fruit shaped candy or fruit snacks, chocolate leaves, M&Ms, marzipan fruit, fruit and leaves made from candy clay, leaves made from fruit roll-ups or rolled candy corn.
- In a large bowl (a stand mixer is very helpful - this is a stiff dough!) combine brown sugar, white sugar, and butter. Beat well until creamy.
- Add egg and egg white, vanilla, and milk. Beat well.
- Gradually add flour, baking powder, and salt. Mixture will look dry and crumbly, but will eventually come together into a stiff dough. If it doesn't, add a little milk or water, 1 teaspoon at a time.
- Cover dough and chill for at least 2 hours - overnight is fine.
- Create a template by cutting a piece of cardstock (or the middle of a paper plate) to fit exactly around a cream corn mold, leaving at least 1 inch of the large end of the mold uncovered. This helps to remove the mold after baking and keeps the cookies from being too large. My template was approximately 3-1/2" by 3-1/2".
- VERY lightly coat the molds with butter. You shouldn't be able to see the butter!
- Heat oven to 350F. Cover baking sheets with parchment.
- Remove about ¼ of the dough from the refrigerator at a time. Roll out on generously floured surface to approximately ⅛-inch thickness.
- Using template, cut out shapes. With fork tines, press vertical and then horizontal lines to resemble basket weave.
- Lift each piece of dough with a flat spatula and lay over the mold with the mold seam to the back. There should be a small gap at the seam. Gently ease the dough together over the seam. Don't overlap, and make sure the dough is snug on the mold to avoid sagging as the cornucopias bake.
- Bake for 11-12 minutes, until golden brown. Remove pan from oven and move to cooling rack until cookies are cool enough to handle. Holding a cookie in one hand, gently squeeze the metal mold to loosen, and firmly pull cookie off of mold. Allow all cookies to cool before proceeding with chocolate.
- Repeat with remaining dough. When finished, melt the chocolate: in the microwave, at 15-second increments, stirring each time, or in a small pan on the stove using the lowest heat, stirring often. With either method, heat JUST until most of the chunks are melted. Remove from heat and stir until completely smooth.
- Lightly coat the inside of each cone with chocolate. I found it easiest to do by dipping a (clean!) finger in the warm chocolate, but you can use a paintbrush or pastry bag. Keep the coating fairly light so it doesn't seep through the cookie shell. Dip the opening in chocolate and place on waxed paper.
- Chocolate will remain soft for quite a while, so this is a good time to add any decorations you are using.
Note here: I’ll admit, after using a teaspoon to pour chocolate in each cone and trying to swirl it around, I found that the easiest way was to just use my finger. Dip it in the chocolate and then swirl it in the cone. Hey…that finger was CLEAN! You can use a glove if you’d like, or maybe try a paintbrush or even a pastry bag.
TO MAKE THE FALL DECORATIONS:
I really like the flavor of candy clay (or molding chocolate) for the little fruits and vegetables. It doesn’t clash with the flavor of the cookie the way taffy, fruit leather, or hard candy does.But if time is of the essence, take the easy route and use store bought goodies; they’ll look cute either way.
Here is a link with instructions for making it out of candy melts: Wiltons Candy Clay. I made a batch of clay using white candy melts, immediately split it up into small bowls and added food coloring before putting the pieces in sandwich bags to set until firm.
The corn in the picture above was made with yellow candy clay, wrapped with very thin green clay. The pumpkin was made with orange clay. The stem was a little piece of brown candy corn. Cocoa nibs look great too, if you have them. Bananas, grapes, oranges, apples…all from clay, molded individually. The grapes were kind of fun. Park yourself in front of the TV with purple candy clay, and start rolling tiny balls. Lots and lots of tiny purple (or green!) balls. Clump a group of them together, pressing just until they hold together.
Some other options come already shaped, like hard candy fruits (Runts), fruit shaped fruit-snacks, marzipan, or fondant. You can also shape your own without the fuss of making the candy clay by using sturdy taffy (like Starburst) which molds very well. Red sixlets with little leaves on top would be perfect for apples.
Here are visuals of the various options.
When making leaves, use:
- fruit rolls for vibrant color and simplicity
- thinly rolled candy corn for rich fall color. Relatively easy.
- Candy clay. You create the colors – these are more subdued, but thin and realistic. And definitely more effort because you have to mix the clay ahead of time.
You could also use marzipan or fondant, or you could pipe leaves using melted chocolate or candy melts. I don’t recommend gum paste – you want these to be tasty!
Small leaf cutters are wonderful. I used one that came in a kit for gum paste. I used a small x-acto blade to cut out maple and oak leaves. You’ll notice there are a lot less of those! I didn’t think about this option until after I was finished and ready to post the recipe, but if you have small chocolate molds, you could MOLD the leaves instead of cutting them. They won’t be as thin, but the shape would be right and it would be very easy.
A WORD OF ADVICE:
Since this was fussy work, and pretty time-consuming, I’d recommend spreading your efforts over a couple of days so you don’t burn out. Make the little fruits, vegetables, and leaves one day (store them covered, at room temperature) and the cookies the next day. Maybe you can find some little helpers to help fashion some of the decorations.
I’d love to see what you come up with. If you make these, post a picture on my Facebook page so I can enjoy your creativity!