This is the story of a cookie tutorial that was meant to be a 3-D pumpkin cookie project but ended up becoming a dimensional cookie composition that resembles a pumpkin. Three years ago I shared a tutorial featuring royal icing place cards. They were royal icing plaque transfers decorated with three different kinds of dimensional royal icing pumpkin transfers, as you can see below.
While looking at one of the pumpkin transfers (the big one in the middle, directly above), I thought it would be nice to apply the same concept to make some whole 3-D pumpkin cookies. So I baked some oval and stem cookies. I was ready to start assembling my prototype when I wondered if someone else had already gotten the same idea. I did my research on Google and, yes, not only did someone have this idea already, but that person (Sweet Delights Cakery) also shared a wonderful tutorial that you need to watch!
At that point, I had all of these oval cookies but no longer any idea to share. My attention went to the next pumpkin transfer (the big one to the far right, above). I started to stack the bare oval cookies and, since I had quite a lot of them, I added one more layer to each pumpkin than the original transfer had. When all was said and done (and stacked!), I ended up with this simple and easily divisible cookie composition suitable for sharing with friends or family over tea or coffee.
The pumpkins look good just bare like this, don’t they? Even so, this tutorial will take their decorating a bit further as you'll soon see.
- 6 (2 3/4-in/7-cm) oval cookies, for a single pumpkin composition (I used the smallest cookie cutter in this six-piece nested set.)
- 1 (1 3/8-in/3.5-cm) hand-cut stem cookie
- Offset spatula or knife
- Royal icing:
- Orange medium thick-consistency, for spreading on pumpkins
- Sky blue and white medium thick-consistency (or other colors of your choice), if you'd like more than orange
- Green medium thick-consistency, for spreading on stems
- Plate/tray, for display
Step 1: More cookie details
To make a single pumpkin composition, again, you will need six (2 3/4-in/7-cm) oval cookies, with the dough rolled to a thickness of about 1/4 inch (0.6 centimeters). You can roll the dough thinner or thicker, of course; your composition will just end up being shorter or taller than what I've shown here. I also hand-cut a stem of the same thickness, and modeled it into a comma-like shape.
a. Using an offset spatula or a knife, spread orange medium thick-consistency royal icing over one oval cookie. I made sure to spread just a "veil" of icing (enough to cover the dough color), and to leave texture on the icing. The vertical "swipe" marks not only lend interest, but also evoke the texture of real pumpkins. Repeat this step on the remaining five oval cookies, and let the icing dry completely.
b. Again using an offset spatula or a knife, spread green medium thick-consistency royal icing on the stem cookie.
c. Use a toothpick to rough up the icing to create texture. There is no right way or wrong way to do this step, though I prefer to make marks that run the length of the stem to best simulate the texture of real stems.
d. Let the icing dry completely.
e. If you'd like to make more pumpkins, repeat Steps 2a to 2d. Feel free to introduce other pumpkin colors, like the blue and white I've used here. Again, let the icing dry completely.
a. Place one oval cookie on a plate; then place the stem cookie over the top part of it.
b. Place two oval cookies atop the previous one, to the sides of the stem cookie. Angle the two oval cookies so their tops are close to the stem and their bottoms are further apart, as shown below.
c. Place another layer of two oval cookies atop the cookies placed in the last step. Angle them too, but keep them a little bit closer to one another at the bottom, so that the first two oval cookies show at the sides.
d. Place the last oval cookie atop the stack to complete the pumpkin cookie composition.
Here’s a short video, as it is often easier for me to show the steps than it is to explain them.
Of course, there are many different ways to decorate the pumpkins. Here's some food for thought: Use a stencil to decorate the bare cookies, or emboss the dough before baking with a textured mat or rolling pin . . . or attach pieces of edible lace to the bare cookies. You can even outline and flood the cookies in the traditional way but with the following caveat. Since the cookies are stacked, I prefer a thin veil of royal icing as opposed to a puffier flooded covering. This way, the icing covering is in better balance with the relatively small cookie size, and the overall composition doesn't get too bulky. If you would like to outline and flood the cookies, I recommend rolling the cookies thinner than 1/4 inch (0.6 centimeters) or using a bigger oval cutter that can better "carry" a thicker layer of icing.
And that’s all for this month!
Ciao, Manu 🍁🍃🍂
Manuela Pezzopane, affectionately called Manu by her friends and family, is a fan of everything handmade, and professes to have tried every possible hobby. However, it wasn’t until the end of 2014,
when an American friend invited her to a Christmas cookie exchange, that she first discovered decorated cookies. In 2015, after watching Julia M. Usher's videos and signing up on Cookie Connection, Manu finally attempted her own. Since then, cookie decorating has become Manu’s passion. You can follow Manu on Facebook and Instagram, or email her at email@example.com.
Photo and cookie credits: Manuela Pezzopane
Note: Made by Manu is a Cookie Connection blog feature written by Manuela Pezzopane, where each month she shares the method behind a magical cookie of her own making. This article expresses the views of the author, and not necessarily those of this site, its owners, its administrators, or its employees. To read all of Manuela's past Made by Manu tutorials, click here. And to see all of Cookie Connection's tutorials, click here.