Saturday, December 29, 2012

Colorado Pass Quilt Block

This 12" Colorado Pass block is the 13th block of my Starwood Sampler Quilt, made to tell the story of my home and community.  It was made as a block of the month with my quilting group, the Persian Pickles.  Another member and I chose all of the blocks for the quilt.  We found this pattern free on-line at: alternated blocks set straight with blocks set on point.  This block is set straight.

A mountain pass is the location in a range of mountains that is lower than the surrounding peaks.  It's the easiest way to travel through a mountain range.  Travellers today go through passes via paved highways, improved roads, unimproved roads, and by foot trails.  Some Colorado passes have interesting names: Slumgullion Pass, Lizard Head Pass, Hard Scrabble Pass, Rabbit Ears Pass, Cinnamon Pass, the Notch, and the Keyhole!   
When I was a 4th grade teacher, my students discovered that many states had an official state cookie - but not Colorado.  When I mentioned this to my friend, chef and restaurant owner Pat McClelland, she created this cookie recipe:

Colorado Oatmeal Cookies 
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cups flour
3 cups oats
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup pine nuts
1.     Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.     Beat butter and sugars together until creamy.
3.     Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. 
4.     Mix in baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.  Add flour and stir just until blended.  Do not overmix.   
5.     Stir in oats, dried cherries, white chocolate chips, and pine nuts. 
6.     Drop by heaping teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

This is a true Colorado cookie.  The flour, oats, and sugar represent our beautiful wheat, oat, and sugar beet fields.  The butter and eggs represent our many dairy farms.  The dried cherries are for the many fruit orchards throughout our state.  The white chocolate chips represent our beautiful, snow-capped Rocky Mountains.  The pine nuts are our native nuts, found in the southern part of Colorado.  The pumpkin pie spice honors Nick Venetucci, the farmer and rancher who gave away thousands of pumpkins every year to schoolchildren in the Pikes Peak area.  Please take a moment to view close-up photos of a wonderful statue of Nick "The Pumpkin Man."  The $100,000 statue was funded by area schoolchildren donating millions of pennies.  Pumpkin plants are grown around it each year. 
You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post: 


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