This recipe immediately reminds me of the little cornucopia crafts we often made in school around Thanksgiving. My teachers always described the cornucopia as a “horn-of-plenty” and told us it symbolized all of the bounty for which we should be thankful.
I remember weaving strips of construction paper, clay or pipe cleaners to create my little cornucopias. Fortunately, this recipe uses something even tastier: bread! That’s right: You can make your own dough, or use refrigerated cans of pizza or French bread dough to create a horn-of-plenty masterpiece centerpiece.
Your guests will be impressed because these look super-fancy, but they don’t have to know the horns are so easy and fun to make! Who wouldn’t love a craft that not only makes a beautiful centerpiece, but can be eaten, too?
You can fill it with traditional horn-of-plenty fare such as fruits and nuts, or it can hold savory breadsticks or dessert items.
And don’t worry: Even though this may look fancy, you can make it using items you probably already have around the house.
Step-by-step: Making a cornucopia out of bread
First, grab a water bottle and some aluminum foil. You can use a small water bottle to make a tiny cornucopia, but if you want a true horn-of-plenty that you can really fill, we recommend a larger bottle.
Wrap your bottle with several layers of foil, which will provide support for your dough. Shape it into the familiar cornucopia horn and curl the little tail to create the traditional look.
Once you have a sturdy foil mold, you can leave the bottle in to make the mold easier to work with, but be sure to remove the bottle before you pop it in the oven. (If you bake it with the bottle inside, you’ll have a horn of plenty… of melted plastic!) Coat your mold liberally on all sides with non-stick cooking spray.
Next, flour up your cutting board and pop open a tube of ready-made dough from your grocer’s cooler case. You can use premade pizza dough, but avoid crescent rolls and biscuit dough; they’re too flaky to create a sturdy cornucopia. Of course, you also can make your own bread dough from scratch if you have time.
Roll your dough out into a rectangle to make it a little thinner. Then, using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 1-inch-wide strips. Now, you are ready to wrap your mold.
Lay the strips along the foil mold, starting at the wide opening end. Leave an inch or so at the top for something to hold onto. Put the seam ends where the dough meets on the underside of your mold to hide them and give your cornucopia a smooth appearance.
Overlap your strips slightly and don’t leave any gaps. Continue until you have covered the whole horn. (As the dough warms and settles a bit, you may need to go back and straighten some sections out or overlap them again.)
Next, add a fancy braid to the opening of the cornucopia. Just lay three strips of dough on your cutting board, pinch them together at the top, and braid them just as you would yarn or hair.
When you are done, pinch the other end together and wrap your braid around the mouth of the horn, hiding the seam on the underside. Again, leave a little space at the top so that you will have a foil edge to grasp to remove the mold from the inside of your cornucopia after baking.
Brush your cornucopia with melted butter and bake at 350 F for 25 to 30 minutes on the lower rack, or until it turns a golden, shiny brown. (Don’t forget to remove that plastic bottle!) If it starts to get a little too brown, cover the affected area with a sheet of foil. Remove from the oven, allow the horn to cool fully, and then gently remove your foil mold.
Get creative with your “plenty.” You can fill your horn with items such as fresh fruits, vegetables, gourds, nuts, rosemary breadstick twists, or even dessert items such as cookies. We decided to use ours as an edible dinner roll basket and added some fall foliage — brightly colored leaves and pine cones — for an added autumnal touch.