Shortbraid and other geometric cookies

What happens when you combine three recreational math artists with a fantastic pastry chef?

Last weekend, Vi Hart, Gwen FisherRuth Fisher and I got together to try this experiment. Ruth provided several colors of shortbread dough and white chocolate “glue” and a few assorted cookie cutters. Gwen took photos (shown with permission below) and Vi took a bunch of video.

Our first idea was to make polyhedra cookies. The hexagon cookie cutter seemed to suggest truncated tetrahedra, octahedra, and icosahedra. We tried making one of each.

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Assembly was a bit tricky and required the use of an assortment of cardboard jigs to keep pieces in place while the chocolate dried.

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While our hexagon cookies were baking, Vi got started making a rhombic dodecahedron. We used a straight-edge to cut rhombi with the correct dimensions.

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She wanted to have little cut-out holes in her polyhedron, and used a rhombic cookie cutter that happened to have just the correct dimensions to tile the plane nicely.

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Which, of course, got us thinking about more interesting geometric tilings. For example, non-periodic Penrose tilings. Everyone likes the kite dart tiling and we made ourselves some cookie cutters out of card stock to generate kites and darts quickly.

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A real math cookie party isn’t complete with out some fractals (here we have some Sierpinski Tetrahedra)…

cookies10and some shortbread “shortbraids”. The three rings here form an 18-crossing Brunnian link.

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3 thoughts on “Shortbraid and other geometric cookies

    1. hawksley Post author

      I don’t actually have the recipe. The cookie dough was made by Ruth Fisher, a professional pastry chef. 😉

      Reply

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