Mary’s Christmas Quilt Cookies (Cinnamon Hot & Orange Shortbread)

pinit fg en rect gray 28 Marys Christmas Quilt Cookies (Cinnamon Hot & Orange Shortbread)

Closeup 2 Marys Christmas Quilt Cookies (Cinnamon Hot & Orange Shortbread)

On the fourth day of Christmas…  my true love gave to me… Cinnamon Hot & Orange Shortbread.

Long ago, in a far away world called the University of Washington School of Art, there was a lone fiber artist who unapologetically extolled the power and deep meaning of color to her comrades who believed with all their hearts that any color other than gray was an indication of naiveté and gross pandering to the unenlightened masses, for whom beauty was—GASP—a virtue.

Yup, that was me, and it was the late 90’s. My hand-dyed art quilts featured then abhorrent colors, such as chartreuse and hot pink. And for the final two years it took to complete my degree in surface design, I held my ground. I’m happy to say I never used the color gray in any of my work (although it can be very beautiful in the right context). Here’s a detail of Wall Quilt Marys Christmas Quilt Cookies (Cinnamon Hot & Orange Shortbread)my senior thesis work.

And as I have learned since then, you can take the girl out of quilting, but you can’t take quilting out of the girl. Thus, when it came to this year’s Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Silver Bells collection, I was determined to figure out a way to “piece” a cookie. I pondered this for several days, playing with it in my mind. The trick was to make it easy. It just isn’t practical to spend 20 minutes creating EACH cookie.

Cinnamon cookies production series Marys Christmas Quilt Cookies (Cinnamon Hot & Orange Shortbread)

What I came up with are two blocks of different color shortbread dough, each cut lengthwise into the exact same irregular width strips, then alternate pieces of one block are swapped with the same pieces of the other block. This is much the same way that a simple striped quilt block is constructed. But the quilt block doesn’t taste nearly so good.

Cinnamon cookies on a rack Marys Christmas Quilt Cookies (Cinnamon Hot & Orange Shortbread)

As to the color, I decided to keep this first attempt simple, with only two colors, rose and cream. In this way, the pattern takes center stage. I like Christmas cookies to be small, so that I don’t feel like a glutton when I eat half a dozen at a time. But larger cookies are an interesting option here as well. Joining two smaller cookies to make a larger cookie creates an even more intriguing pattern.

Cinnamon square on a rack Marys Christmas Quilt Cookies (Cinnamon Hot & Orange Shortbread)

And as for the flavor, there was a tiny bottle of cinnamon oil in my baking cupboard that looked dejected from long lack of use. It’s the same flavor in those red cinnamon hot candies. That seemed just the right memorable flavor to pair with these pretty cookies. Oh wait, I said PRETTY. That’s very close to BEAUTIFUL. Yes, well, you can make them gray instead, if that rings your jingle bells.

With Love and Gratitude: These cookies are dedicated to my Mennonite grandmother, Mary Pullman Stahl, who never turned anyone away from her door or her heart and who created 30 beautiful quilts in her 100th year on this planet. She would be “tickled pink” that I figured out a way to make the quilt and eat it too.

Box of cinnamon cookies Marys Christmas Quilt Cookies (Cinnamon Hot & Orange Shortbread)

Cinnamon Hot & Orange Shortbread

These delicious and very pretty cookies take you by surprise on the first bite, and then you find it hard to stop eating them. They make the perfect gift for someone special who really appreciates the care you put into them. I’m sure even Santa Claus himself would be delighted.

2½ cups King Arthur unbleached, all-purpose flour
½ cup cornstarch

1½ cups unsalted butter, cool room temperature (3 sticks)
1 cup sugar
finely grated zest of 2 large oranges
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼-½ teaspoon cinnamon oil (try ¼ teaspoon on your first batch; it’s very strong)

Finishing
red food coloring (gel or liquid)
fine sanding sugar or luster

  1. In a large mixing bowl, sift flour and cornstarch. Reserve.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, orange zest, and salt. Add vanilla and cinnamon oil, and incorporate.
  3. Add the flour mixture and mix on very slow speed very briefly, just until a dough forms.
  4. Remove the dough and weigh it. Add half the dough (by weight) back to the mixer and incorporate a few drops of red food coloring.
  5. Form each portion of dough into a 12-inch long by 2¼-inch wide by 1-inch deep log. Wrap in plastic wrap and frig for at least 2 hours. (Yes, I had the help of custom made metal forms.)
  6. When the dough is very firm, remove from the frig. Using a long thin knife, cut each log exactly the same into several lengthwise sections. Reassemble each log to its original size by swapping alternate sections with opposite colored dough strips. Press the strips tightly together without distorting the shape of the log. (See photos.)
  7. Rewrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill again for at least 2 hours, or as long as a couple of days.
  8. When you are ready to bake, remove one log at a time from the frig and slice cookies widthwise into ¼-inch thick slices.
  9. Arrange cookies, ½-inch apart, on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. If desired, sprinkle with fine sanding sugar or luster.
  10. Bake at 325° for about 20-22 minutes, rotating pans at the halfway point to ensure even browning.
  11. Remove from the oven, immediately loosen each cookie with a thin spatula, and set on a wire rack to cool.
  12. Store airtight in layers, each layer separated by wax paper,  in a cookie tin, in a cool, dry place. These cookies improve with age. They keep for 3-4 weeks.

Makes about 8 dozen, 2½-inch by 1½-inch cookies.

There’s More

Follow along as we bake this year’s cookie collection, and check out our past two collections:

Copyright 2010 Susan S. Bradley. All Rights Reserved.

Download android apps free!
http://www.apkzz.com
pf button big Marys Christmas Quilt Cookies (Cinnamon Hot & Orange Shortbread)
About Susan S. Bradley

Intrepid cook, food writer, culinary instructor, author of Pacific Northwest Palate: Four Seasons of Great Cooking, and founder of the Northwest Culinary Academy.

Comments

  1. Custom and precision engineering projects, including all types of Metalwork, Engineering and Fabrication projects.

  2. Were a bunch regarding volunteers and also commencing the latest structure in the online community. Your website provided us valuable facts to be able to work in. You’ve performed a notable occupation in addition to your total collection should be grateful to your account.

  3. Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as
    I provide credit and sources back to your website? My website is in
    the exact same area of interest as yours and my visitors would really benefit from a lot of the information you present here.
    Please let me know if this okay with you. Many thanks!
    Wine house´s last blog post ..Wine houseMy Profile

  4. Thanks for another magnificent post. Where else may just anybody get that type
    of info in such an ideal means of writing? I have
    a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such info.
    bogle wine´s last blog post ..bogle wineMy Profile

  5. Superb, what a weblog it is! This weblog provides valuable data to us, keep it
    up.
    Red Wine Labels´s last blog post ..Red Wine LabelsMy Profile

  6. Heya i’m for the primary time here. I found this board and I in finding It truly useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something again and help others such as you helped me.
    Rafaela´s last blog post ..RafaelaMy Profile

  7. Hey there! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us so I came to check it out.
    I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this
    to my followers! Outstanding blog and terrific design.

  8. NewEnglandGal says:

    Hi Susan,

    I am happy to find your site — your Northwest cookbook was a gift to me in the 90′s when I was living on Bainbridge Island — that book has been with me ever since in many coast to coast places and is dog eared and a quilt unto itself – many sincere thanks!

    These cookies are really fun-looking and I want to make them, too. You mentioned that your original recipe was rose and cream. One of the pics appears rose and peach colored though it could be between photography and computer — or did you make this batch peach and if so, how?

    Also, without a form is freehand the only option or do you have an idea for that? Thanks!

  9. Hi Susan!

    I love your postings have been following you for a couple of years now! Where do you buy custom made metal forms?

    Thanks!
    -Megan

    • Hi Megan! :-) I called several metal fabrication outfits in Portland, Oregon in search of someone who would build the forms for the cookie business I plan to launch. Only one of them called me back, and I gave them the dimensions of the forms I wanted. A couple of weeks later, I had 4 forms. As I recall, they charged me $25 per form. The forms are far heavier than they need to be, so when I am ready to order a lot of them, I will look more closely at the weight of metal used. Hope this helps. Best…Susan

  10. Beautiful in everyway! You have me thinking of (my all but bred out Seminole) patchwork in a cookie? I love it!

  11. Susan: I love your hand dyed quilt with all the happy colors (was it machine pieced and quilted-or did you hand quilt like your grandmother!)-you were ahead of your time with those rich colors. I am a quilter and enjoy making cookies-I have really found the website for me! Thank you for these truly inspired recipes!-Michelle

    • Michelle, it was definitely machine pieced and quilted. (I do love to stitch though.) And you should have seen Grandma. We bought her a Bernina sewing machine in her later years, and she raced that thing like no tomorrow. I had to constantly say to her, “Now Grandma, you need to slow down a little. Please. I’m afraid you might hurt yourself..” HA! She wouldn’t hear a word of it. :-) Thanks so much for stopping by. Would love to see pics of your quilts sometime.

  12. Great post. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to tasting the fruits of my labour when I try the recipe :)

    Matthew
    Matthew´s last blog post ..Iñaki Aizpitarte – The Chef Behind Le ChateaubriandMy Profile

  13. I love this style of cookie – one of my Christmas favorites!
    Sara´s last blog post ..Chef’s SaladMy Profile

  14. I love them ! Thanks so much for sharing :)

Speak Your Mind


1 + four =


CommentLuv badge