Sunday, November 6, 2011

Autumn Sunset Cookies

I am not going to lie, I miss running in the mornings, getting out the door before the sun shows its face and watching the sun rise as I do my long runs.  The colors are always so beautiful, pale pinks and blues...reminding me of why I love running so early in the morning.  Darn stress fracture preventing me from running...biking indoors to the sound of the TV just isn't the same.  But at least I haven't missed out on the sun's beauty entirely as of lately.  After work I often go out for a walk to clear my head and process the day, and ususally by the end of it the sun has begin to set and it is quite lovely.  There have been some pretty spectacular sunsets this fall, radiant pinks, oranges and purples. 

No matter how the day has gone, when I see a sunset of this caliber it makes me forget anything else.  Last week I was out for  a walk in the evening after work and I was trying to come up with an inspiration for what sort of cookies to make, because making them sounded like a wonderful idea.  I was thinking a buttery shortbread, but what to flavor it with was the question.  The sun was setting and it reminded me of citrus for some reason, so it dawned on me...citrus!  But of course it had to have a hint of autumn, so a little cinnamon was to be added for good measure.  When I got home from my walk I got started on these cookies....

Little pieces of the autumn sunset.  I wanted them to be pink and orange like the setting sun, afterall I cannot resist a pretty little cookie that is beautiful as well as buttery and delicious! 

I tinted the dough yellow, orange and pink, then rolled it into a log and covered the outside in sparkly pink sugars.  They needed a bit of chilling before being sliced because I didn't want them to turn out all wonky, they had to look like a perfectly round sun!  I am impatient sometimes, so this was a bit tough waiting for them to chill, but thank goodness they were sliced, baked and out of the oven in 20 minutes. 

My kitchen smelled of citrus and butter, as they were quite aromatic.  They tasted wonderful as well, melt in your mouth buttery with a light citrus flavor and a hint of cinnamon.  They were as beautiful as the sunset as well with their pale  warm colors. 

Thank goodness they were small, because I had quite a few by the end of the night.  It is a wonder I had any to share!  Here is the recipe if you would like to enjoy some for yourself, and if you don't feel like making cookies, at least get outside and enjoy the autumn sunset before winter hits! 

Autumn Sunset Cookies
(Citrus Shortbread with a hint of spice)
Makes about 40
2 sticks Earth Balance vegan butter, at room temperature
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp orange zest
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup maple sugar, or granulated sugar
plant based natural yellow and red food coloring
pink sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with the rack set in the center. Mix all shortbread ingredients together (except food coloring and pink sugar) in a large bowl until well blended, then divide dough into 2 pieces.  Add a few drops of red food coloring to one bowl and mix well, and add a few drops of yellow to the other and mix well (I kneaded it by hand).  Remove a half of each color of dough and combine the halves so you have orange, red and yellow dough.  Roll each out into a log then roll the logs together into one big 2 inch high log.  Roll the outside of the log in the pink sugar and place on a parchment lined baking sheet in the freezer.  Chill until firm, at least 30 minutes then slice into 1 1/2 inch thick rounds and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for about 12-15 minutes until set. Cool on a wire rack.


  1. These are gorgeous! And they look like they;d crumble-melt away in your mouth. Mmm :)

  2. Love what you did with the flavors and the colors of these little shortbread cookies! I have saved the recipe for these since they are so unique. Love the pink scenery-I can sure understand why you miss it. I hope your recovery is right around the corner.

  3. How pretty!!! Such a creative recipe :-)

  4. What a beautiful cookie to match those gorgeous pics. I totally hear you about missing running in the morning. I ran a marathon in early October and now I can't run more than 2 miles (if that!) because of an injury. :( It stinks, but cross training is the way to go. Good luck with your recovery.

  5. These sound (and look) so cool, Amy! like Tina said, I love the combo of flavors here in shortbread. Delicious!

  6. i'm going to save your sunset photo and use it on my desktop background. It's so pretty!
    And the sunset butter cookies, bet they melt in your mouth :) mmmm

  7. I enjoyed your post very much. :)
    Those are the most pretty cookies!

  8. I understand about the morning runs, although for me it is a nice morning commute by bike. But soon it will be time to put the bike away for the winter. Sad.

    And what a beautiful sunset! Also, you never cease to amaze me with your creative sweets!

  9. such a pretty sunset!. and perfect cookies.. i'd gain a bunch of lbs if i lived closer to u.. coz i'd just keep dropping by for random reasons, whenever i sensed any baking:).. all the gorgeous cakes and cookies!

    Richa @ Hobby And More Food Blog

  10. It can be so hard to cut back due to an injury. But I love how you took those sunsets and brought them into your kitchen. Thank you for sharing with me. As always, you make me smile. I hope you are having a great week. I know I'm ready for Friday!

  11. Amy, these treats are so cute. The little pink crystals create a very enticing shimmer!

  12. That is one amazing sunset photo. Beautiful!

  13. That sunset photo is absolutely amazing!! We get some pretty beautiful sunsets here in the desert. My husband and I walk the dogs to the edge of the city and watch the sunset over the open desert. Its magical.
    Your cookies look so pretty!