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I’ve written about stained glass cookies before. My family has been making them for years. Below is a copy of the original recipe we used as kids. We first saw it on the 1970s PBS show “Zoom” and my mom sent away for the recipes, as per the show’s instructions and long before email, with a stamped, self-addressed envelope.
I’m glad to see she made some adjustments to the recipe (add an egg, change the amount of honey), presumably in an effort to improve it, but truth be told the cookies were pretty hopeless. The dough was tough, and the cookies, which always ended up a brown several shades darker than golden, took on a puffy appearance. The candy pieces always seemed to bubble up over the cookies and look burnt. And, since it was before Silpat, they stuck relentlessly to the waxed paper.
Last time I wrote about stained glass cookies, I started with a new recipe that required molasses in lieu of the honey and an oven temp of 375. I changed the recipe a bit and swapped corn syrup for the molasses, yielding a cookie that was lighter in color. I also lowered the oven temp to 350, so the cookies wouldn’t puff as much and my candy bits wouldn’t burn or explode.
This time around, I reworked the recipe even more. After my dough was rolled and cut and placed on the baking tray, I popped the tray in the freezer so the butter could chill, further preventing it from puffing up. I realized that the candy takes less time to melt than the cookies take to bake, causing the candy to brown when they’re all baked at the same time. So instead, I par-baked the cookies for about 7 minutes in the oven without the candy, then filled the cavities with candy and returned them to the oven. The resulting cookie was exactly what I wanted: a cookie that was golden brown with a candy filling that looked like glass.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 recipe stained glass cookie dough (recipe at end of post)
Letter cutters in various sizes
Heart-shaped cutter (large enough to accommodate letters)
Mallet or hammer
Lollipops or hard candy in the colors of your choice
Small plastic bag
Silpat or other non-stick baking sheet liner
Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit
1. Working on Silpat or non-stick baking sheet liner, roll out dough approximately ¼” thick.
2. Cut dough using heart-shaped cutter.
3. Remove excess dough. (Excess can be frozen for future use.)
6. While cookies are baking, place lollipops or hard candy into small plastic bag. (We used the dulce de leche Dum Dums, and had to buy two giant bags to ensure that I had enough since there were only about three dulce de leche Dum Dums per bag. I’ve since learned that you can buy single flavor Dum Dums on their website.) Use mallet or hammer to crush candy into very small pieces about the size of gravel, but not powder.
7. Fill cavities with crushed candy until it is slightly above the cookie line, taking care not to get any crushed candy on the cookie part.
8. Return to oven and bake until candy is just melted, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from oven. If you plan to hang your cookies, make hole large enough for a ribbon using a toothpick. Allow to cool.
9. Wet a small piece of fondant until it is very sticky. Gently adhere to cookie in several spots, avoiding candy part, and use to affix cookie to cake. Here, we added fondant blackberries and leaves for extra impact.
Stained Glass Cookie Recipe
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add corn syrup and vanilla extract, mixing until incorporated. Add egg and mix until light and smooth, about 1 minute on medium speed.
3. Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Fold dry ingredients into wet mixture. Use electric mixer to blend just until flour is incorporated. Divide dough in half and flatten into two disks. Wrap disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour and up to 2 days.
Special thanks to Brooke Sforza of Brooke Allison Photo for her generosity, talent, and photographs.
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