Quilt Inspired Christmas Cookies

A light up pumpkin, rigged with LED lights, donated to a children's shelter for their halloween party
A light up pumpkin, rigged with LED lights, donated to a children’s shelter for their halloween party

Baking has always been a tradition in my family. I’ve been baking since I was little, but it wasn’t until about 5 years ago that I got into “serious” cookie and cake decorating. I’ve made cakes with tiers, topped with frosted sugar sculptures, embellished with handpainted fondant, and even one jack-o-lantern cake that lit up from the inside.

Even though I’d never made a quilt before I started working at Landauer, I understood quilting as a hobby because of my own hobby of cake decorating. A quilter with a fabric stash that takes up shelves and shelves of space, and 10 different acrylic rulers because each does something different makes perfect sense to someone who collects food color dyes (because there is a difference between juniper green and forest green, I swear), hordes dozens of icing tips that extrude frosting in minutely different ways and has at least 5 different sizes of spatulas. Even if you get away from the clutter of accoutrements that comes with any hobby taken seriously, you have the joy of creating something for yourself and for others – I almost never bake for myself anymore, and I’ve given away every quilt I’ve made.

Both of my hobbies came together this year when I started my holiday baking with Patchwork Sugar Cookies!


Create Your Own Fondant Patchwork Cookies

To prepare: use your favorite sugar cookie or similar recipe and cut out and bake your cookies. Use a cookie cutter with a simple design – the tree shape I used worked well since it didn’t have too many corners or elaborate shapes.

I always cut out and bake more than I’ll need just in case there’s a problem with the cookies getting too browned, breaking during handling and cooling, or if any of the cookie thieves that live in our house make one or more of them disappear.

Next: color some rolled fondant for this project. You can buy pre-made rolled fondant online or in certain craft stores (like Hobby Lobby) but most people prefer the taste of homemade Marshmallow Fondant (my favorite recipe for it is here).

A few notes about coloring your fondant:

  • I prefer to use powdered colors when coloring fondant, as they have the least impact on the consistency of the fondant – gel colors can make the fondant too soft and difficult to work with if you want deep, rich color.
  • Don’t use water-based food colors as they’ll change the consistency of your fondant too much. For powdered food dyes I use Ameri-color, and for gel dyes I like either Wilton or Ameri-color (though I tend to use Ameri-color Red or Wilton No-taste red when making red frosting or fondant – other reds can have an odd taste when using the amount you’d need to get a deep, rich red color.)
  • When mixing the colors protect your countertops and your hands. I use a non-porous cutting mat  and Nitrile gloves for the hands. The dyes should clean up with just soap and water if cleaned immediately after use. Nitrile gloves are nice because they are inexpensive and avoid potential issues with latex allergies.

Materials & Supplies –

supplies_USE 4 cut-out cookies, baked and cooled
The cookie cutter you used to cut out the cookies – a metal cutter would be best for cutting the fondant cleanly, but plastic is fine too, it’s what I used
4 colors of colored fondantUse the number of colors you have for each “set” of cookies. More on this later.
A rolling pin or fondant roller specialty fondant rollers make it easy to roll out multiple colors of fondant evenly, but it’s not necessary if you don’t mind the different colors being slightly different heights
A sharp knife or fondant cutter
A small amount of light corn syrup
A clean, smaller paint brush – I have a set of brushes I use exclusively for cookie and cake decorating that was inexpensive, but I’ve had cheaper sets that had bristles fall out as I was decorating, so try to find a balance of price and quality that works for you if you’re shopping for a set


Step 1.

Roll out your fondant colors to about an 1/8th of an inch thickness. Make sure you have enough fondant to cover 1 entire cookie for each color.


Step 2. 

Use the cookie cutter you used for the cookie and cut out one shape from each of the 4 colors.

cutouts Here you can see all four of the colors I used. Just like selecting fabrics for a quilt – make sure the colors have a good variety in color value and complement each other well while still having some contrast.

cutup Step 3.
Cut an identical grid into each of the shapes. I eyeballed the grid I created, using the “branches” of the trees as a guideline. If you need to, run the edge of your knife very lightly over the fondant to create score-lines to plan your grid, and then cut along those lines once you’re happy with your grid. Tip: the larger your grid, the faster the cookies will come together when you’re reassembling the fondant pieces.

piece1 Step 4.

Place the first piece of the first fondant color on the first cookie by lightly brushing the back of the fondant piece (or the cookie) with some corn syrup using the paintbrush. The corn syrup will act as “glue” to stick the fondant to the cookie. Repeat for each cookie.

piece2 Continue adding fondant pieces to the cookies, either in a planned or random pattern. If you want “scrappier” looking cookies, like the ones I did, then assemble the pieces by picking random colors as you move down the cookie. There are no rules to how you reassemble the fondant pieces onto the cookies, as long as you have 4 colors for 4 cookies you should have all the pieces you need to cover each one.


Here, you can see all 4 cookies completely reassembled. Since you’re using the same cookie cutter the pieces fit onto the cookies easily – and since you have the same number of fondant colors as you do cookies, no two cookies will be the same, though they all look very similar.

Do you have favorite recipes for your holiday cookie baking or candy making? Share them in the comments below!

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