Easy Cheese Bread turned into Leaves and Pumpkins for Thanksgiving

Do you have bread with your Thanksgiving meal? We do, and one of my favorite recipes to make for the holiday is for a quick cheese bread. I just toss some shredded cheese in a bread pan, mix a handful of ingredients together, pour the batter into a pan, sprinkle on more cheese, then bake. It takes minutes to get it into the oven.

Just as quickly as it’s made, the smell of fresh bread is wafting through my kitchen. The only thing that’s hard about this, is waiting for the bread to come out of the oven.

As the bread bakes the cheese melts and almost caramelizes creating this amazing crust. The loaf is dense, but soft, and the flavor goes nicely with turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy on Thanksgiving Day.

Last fall, I made some Crescent Roll Leaves. That recipe has been very popular. So, for my first recipe for this holiday season, I thought I’d take that idea and make it even better. I used my favorite cheese bread recipe to create these beautiful fall leaf and pumpkin dinner rolls that are topped with brightly colored cheese.

They turned out even prettier than I had imagined. Plus, they are so good, that I couldn’t even wait to get a picture taken before I snacked on one. Now that I’m finished, I’m going back for seconds.

Leaf and Pumpkin Dinner Rolls Topped with Brightly Colored Cheese (makes 18)
          recipe adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook


Cheese Decorations:
shortening or butter, to grease molds
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
red and yellow food coloring, optional
1/4 teaspoon Dean and Jacob’s Parmesan Bread Dipping Blend*

3 cups all purpose flour (15 ounces)
1 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons Dean and Jacob’s Parmesan Bread Dipping Blend*
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream**
1/2 cup water**
3/4 cups sour cream
1 large egg
3 tablespoons melted butter

*This Parmesan Cheese Dipping Blend is a mix of dehydrated garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt, parsley, and spices. You can use Parmesan cheese and dried parsley, if you prefer.

**You can swap out 1  1/4 cup whole milk for the 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream and 1/2 cup water.


3 Wilton Silicone Leaf and Pumpkin Molds
optional, #16 ice cream scoop
baking sheets


Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease the leaf and pumpkin molds with shortening or butter. I don’t suggest using non-stick baking spray on your silicone molds.

If you are coloring your cheese, put about 2 tablespoons of cheese into a zip top bag. Add a few drops of red coloring and shake to coat cheese. Repeat with yellow coloring.

Lightly sprinkle some of the Parmesan Dipping Blend into the leaf cavities. This not only adds some nice flavor, but it also bakes into nice dark spots, which help to define the leaves. Sprinkle the red, yellow, and orange colored cheese in the leaf cavities and just the orange cheese in the pumpkin cavities. Try to leave the stem of the pumpkins empty. That way you’ll see the contrast between the pumpkin and the stem.

Make the bread batter. Combine flour, salt, baking powder, and Parmesan Bread Dipping Blend in a bowl. Add cheese and toss to coat using a fork. In a separate bowl, mix heavy whipping cream, water, sour cream and egg. Add it to the dry ingredients. Fold a few times then add melted butter. Mix, just until blended. Batter with be lumpy. 
Equally divide the batter among the 18 leaf and pumpkin cavities. Grease your finger tips with some shortening or butter and flatten out the batter in the mold.

Set leaf and pumpkin silicone molds on baking sheets. Bake for 30-32 minutes until golden brown. 

Remove rolls from oven, wearing oven mitts, pull on the mold, loosening the bread from the mold. Turn the molds upside down and pop out the bread.

Serve warm or cold. If you like them warm, but need to make them ahead of time, just pop them into a warm oven to reheat.

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Items used to create this project that are available on Amazon.com (commission earned for sales)
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Thanks for sharing!


    • says

      Thank, Aida. I just discovered how easy it is to color cheese, and am having so much fun making new things using the idea. I used a recipe for one large loaf of bread and was surprised to get 18 rolls. They are just the right size for a side item at Thanksgiving dinner.

  1. Anonymous says

    Excellent stuff! You're so creative. Do you mind sharing what size of scoop you used? Would it be the same size scoop you'd use for cupcake batter? I'm looking to buy a scoop but am not sure what size to get. Thanks!

    • says

      Oops, I should have mentioned that. Thanks for asking. I used an 18/8 scoop. It the largest size I have. Over scoop it just a bit to get the 18 leaves and pumpkins.

    • says

      That's so nice to hear right now. I'm really finding it challenging to do so with every passing holiday. There are just so many amazing projects on-line these days. It's harder and harder to be unique!

  2. says

    Just did a trial run. Super delicious. More of a cheese biscuit consistancy. Only used about 1/2 cup of cheese for topping. Perhaps that was an error or should I be using a lot more non colored cheese on top?

    • says

      I couldn't quite figure out what to call these as the cheese bread recipe I use does have a dense texture, a bit like a biscuit. I used 1 1/2 cups of cheese to top all of the leaves and pumpkins, so a 1/2 cup per mold. Each roll was nicely covered in cheese.

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