Pumpkin Pinata’s – Happy Halloween!!!

Pumpkin Pinata’s – A spooky surprise in each one!

I was forwarded the link to an amazing blog called Handmade Charlotte, an awesome collection of handmade goodies to trial at home to keep little kids entertained.  Instantly I stumbled across these beauties and just knew they would put a smile on the grown-ups faces in my life…needless to say they did and I will never cease to be amazed how happy cakes and indeed chocolatey surprises inside cakes can make people! Check out how I made them and why not head over to Handmade Charlotte too…Glorious Treats is the original website for the idea around these cookies and some of you may have seen the infamous Mexican piñata horse cookies, which is where the idea for these was born, if not check them out here.

Firstly I started with the rolled sugar cookie recipe on Glorious Treats website, but be aware that these uys are based across the pond and so all measurement are in cups etc.

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (This is plain flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (I used Willow)
  • 1 cup sugar (I used caster sugar)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
  • Green food gel
  • Orange or red and yellow food gel

Royal Icing (Cookie Glue)

  • 1 large egg white
  • 1tsp lemon juice
  • 230g Icing sugar

Filling

  • Bag of chocolate M&M’s or another treat of your choice (Millions, Smarties or similar)

Method

  • Combine the flour and baking powder and set aside in a large bowl
  • IN a mixer combine the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, I left the mixer running for around 3 minutes…prepare for NOISE!!!

Leave be until light and fluffy…

  • Whilst this is going on you can sort out your cookie cutters.  I used 4 sizes…yes one of these was a Cumin lid and no I did not add Cumin to the cookies…although I did have to set it aside to save any ‘accidents’.

Cookie cutters

  • Now add your egg to the mixture in the food processor and leave a little longer.
  • Gradually add the flour from the separate bowl until it all comes together smoothly.
  • Divide the mixture up – 1/4 to become green and 3/4 to become orange.
  • Place the balls on to cling film to save your work surface from becoming various shades of pumpkin!

Add your green and knead until smooth in colour…

  • You can choose to not knead the green fully and as a result end up with a more rustic, mottled effect, either looks fab!

Now for the orange…

  • Wrap both in cling film separately and place in the freezer for 30mins or the fridge for 2hours
  • Preheat the oven to 180degrees and put the shelves in the centre of the oven.
  • You’re now going to roll out your orange dough – this recipe makes about 8 or 9 pumpkins so keep this in mind as bad Maths can result in some incomplete pumpkin creations (voice of experience – I miscounted my orange circles!))
  • Place dough on a sheet of greaseproof

Place dough on a sheet of greaseproof

Add some greaseproof on top and roll out…this prevents sticky pins!!!

Roll until 1cm thick and use your small cutter to make your pumpkin lids!

Roll out some excess and make some stems…

Transfer to a greaseproof papered tray with a palette knife and use a straw to make holes in each ‘lid’

  • Now put these in to the oven for 15mins but keep a close eye as they may need rotating halfway through to prevent some burning or crisping – a few of mine caught which were near the back…I prepared for this hence why I made so many lids!
  • Now roll out your orange the same way.
  • Now here’s where the Maths kicks in; to make 8 pumpkins you will need to make: 8 small solid circles, 16 large holed circles and 8 large solid circles.  Each pumpkin is made up of 4 orange biscuits and 1 green.

Be careful when you transfer these….

  • As you can see the dough is very flimsy so the shapes don’t hold as well to transfer.  I found that if you transferred the solid circle to the tray and then moved the centre in-situ, this helped maintain the shapes better.

Leave to cool on the trays for 5mins and then on the greaseproof for a further 15mins

Place on a cooling rack…or pile up on one!

  • Whilst the cookies are cooling you can make the Royal Icing.
So here’s the craic with me and royal icing…I’ve never made it before!  I used the bought stuff when I ran CakeBook with my pupils at school but never braved making my own.  Here’s what people don’t tell you…IT’S ACTUALLY VERY SIMPLE!!!!
I found an amazing recipe on the Joy of Baking website and as a result  literally ran around the house squealing at Grant how I’d managed to finally make royal icing. Here’s how you do it:
  • Beat together the egg white, lemon juice and icing sugar in a food processor until glossy and stiff

Using a mixer is best!

  • Add your colour (I chose green so I could decorate the lids)

Green for pumpkin vines…royal icing = the bakers glue!

Put in to a piping bag with a small straight nozzle…

  • Now it’s time for biscuit glueing!  Lay out your 8 solid small circles and pipe a circle close to the edge of each one.
  • Add your holed biscuit, ice this and add your final holed biscuit.
  • You now have a pumpkin pot
  • Get your large orange biscuits and glue your green tops to the centre of them.
  • Put a blob of icing in each green lid hole and pop your pumpkin stem in.

Stack them up!

  • I chose to decorate the lids a little to add a contrasting colour…I also popped a tiny silver ball on each one…I do like sparkle you see!

Check your lids line up ok…

  • Now for the FUN bit..filling you pumpkins…
  • I’m a bit OCD about stuff and even numbers/colours of sweets is one of them so I ensured each one had equal red, blue, brown, orange, yellow and green M&M’s

Secret M&M stash!

  • Now you can either place the lids on the top or do what I did…I glued them in place.  I was transporting them for my school colleagues and had visions of an M&M filled tin with destroyed pumpkins when transporting to work, so I piped icing on the final holed rings and rested the lids on top.

Secure your lids for pumpkin care!

So there you have it…a Halloween treat for kids and grown-ups alike…I froze the remainder of my royal icing as I only used about  1/3rd of it!  I’ll let you know how well it defrosts.  Just be aware that pregnant women can’t eat these as they have raw egg whites in the royal icing.  You can make royal icing using egg white powder which is safe for pregnant women to consume but I haven’t tried this yet!

Halloween Surprises…

Hope you like them and give them a go…they’re so much fun to make and the biscuit recipe alone is delicious and can be used to make simple iced cookies – my next mission!

Happy Halloween you freaky monsters…

ZoBird’s Spooky Kitchen xxx

 

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