Cookie Cornucopia

My children have no concept of Thanksgiving. For as long as they've been alive, we've lived far from family. My oldest thinks that Thanksgiving means making turkeys out of cookies, candy and frosting. My middle child thinks it means meeting new friends. And my youngest child is still happy just living in the moment. She doesn't even realize her birthday is in 8 days. But for the first time in their little lives.... Thanksgiving is going to mean FAMILY. And food. Lots of food. AND -- I'm hosting it at my very own house! I'm so excited! And nervous. And of course, instead of worrying about the food or making sure I have enough chairs for everyone to sit on... I've been planning the centerpiece. And, I know this is going to be a bit of a shock for everyone... but it's going to be a COOKIE centerpiece. A cookie cornucopia, to be exact. It was actually a lot easier to construct than I thought it would be. Although, I will certainly do a few things differently when I make one for real in a few weeks. Here, let me walk you through it.

First, you need to find a piece of paper. A clean piece of paper. This is not the time to get all frugal and use your child's old homework paper. It's Thanksgiving for crying out loud! Live a little. Fold it into a cone and tape the edge. I pretty much just taped the short edge to the long edge. It's okay if it's not perfect...

 ...because we're just going to cover it up with aluminum foil anyway. Go ahead and give it a little tail at the end. You could also have the tail curl sideways instead of straight up against all reason and gravity. It's your choice.

Roll out some cookie dough into a rectangle. (I used my Vanilla 2.0 recipe with 1/2 cup extra flour added. One batch was just about perfect. And I also added some brown food coloring.) Cut out long strips of cookie dough. This is where I would make my first change. Start right up there on the very edge of the opening. The strips overlap as they go toward the tail (Is that what it is called?!) of the cornucopia. If you don't start at the edge... the strips will crack when you try to lift them up to slide more underneath. Plus... who starts in the middle? CRAZY PEOPLE. That's who. When I got to the underside of the opening, I just cut a big ol' triangle and plopped it under there. I'm lazy like that.

See? Cracks right there where I lifted up the strips to slide more in. Bad idea. Also... I started out trying to make a braid to go around the opening. It was HUGE! And did not look fantastic. By the time I figured that out though, my dough was starting to get a bit dry and crumbly. Don't be like me. Just make two ropes of dough and twist them around each other. Brush a light layer of water where you are going to put the twisted rope and gently press to make the two layers of dough stick together. I stuck a ceramic mug in the opening because I was nervous that it would collapse while baking. I'm not sure if that was necessary, but you could also take that precaution if you would like. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Allow to cool absolutely and completely. I didn't even bother taking out the paper and aluminum. I just shoved them into the middle of the cornucopia and added some pretty tissue paper in front. I highly recommend doing that unless you plan to fill the entire cornucopia with cookies. And if that is the case, you better start making those cookies now, because that is A LOT of space to fill.

Then just plop some harvesty-themed cookies down in front and call it a day. You could also put real fruit there if you wanted to as well. Or even fake fruit. I won't judge your Thanksgiving Day. You do what you want.

Hop on over to The Cookie Cutter Company's Design Ideas page if you want to see how I made the corn (from a surfboard cutter), the onion, the leaf, and the apple cookies. And come back next week to see how I made the rest of them.

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