I just love Christmas, and I am sure this comes through pretty easily through what we do. But there is something I like more than a (multiple) baking fail, and that is when I finally crack the recipe. This is the case with these stained glass window cookies we made while in Italy in September.
You’d probably be wondering why I start this new recipe for stained glass window cookies like this. Well, I have to admit that, while they look adorable, they were not a walk in the park. I was ready to give up after trialling them a few times. They kept burning at the bottom (classic) and the middle was more…let’s just say it, burnt. It was more burnt every time I tried. So I was ready to give up. Who even needs stained glass window cookies anyway? As I mentioned, we were in Italy when I made these and my auntie was the one who saved this recipe.
I was already thinking about I could turn these little stars into something a lot more appealing than a burnt cookie and burnt caramel flavour. My brain, spinning a trillion miles an hour trying to justify me throwing away the dough as it was. I was thinking of filling them with Nutella, and I think they would have been lush. But my auntie, she decided that was not the way. The stained glass window cookies will happen. And so they did.
After a lot of sweat, tears and table flipping – together with my mother crunching on the burnt cookies – we had an epiphany. I should sit next to the oven and watch over the cookies. As if they were my own offspring. A newborn, when you cannot take your eyes off them. And so I did. Reduced the cooking time to almost nothing. And we had a winner – the stained glass window cookies.
The stained glass window cookies were born!
One thing I find extremely difficult is not to give up when the planets don’t align. Because yes, sometimes it’s down to sheer luck. No matter how good you are in the kitchen, or with baking. If it’s not meant to happen, it will not happen. And while I am lucky enough to not get that so often, I have my bad kitchen days. So when that happens, I am better off just trying something else.
In this case, I was lucky. These stained glass window cookies were born out of sheer luck. You can call it patience, but I will still call it luck. Alas, let me go ahead with this recipe before I bore you out with the nonsense details.
What do I need to make these stain glass window cookies?
The base of these cookies is your normal sugar cookie dough one. So very simple to make and so yummy to eat. You will be using unsalted butter and sugar, eggs, flour and vanilla. And the main star of the show? Hard candies. Now, the best hard candy for colour would be Jolly Ranchers. But both the UK and Italy had none. So we ended up using hard candy from Italy, but as you can see the colours…well, they were not great. I have never had a Jolly Rancher before (!!!) so I wouldn’t know what to look for in the perfect substitute. I had planned to use some food colouring, but let me tell you: they harden up fast.
So yes, my little stars look a little pale and have got very little stained in their stained glass fashion, but just try and picture them.
If you don’t know about Jolly Ranchers, they are an American brand of sweet hard candy in very bold flavours. The original company behind Jolly Rancher was founded in 1949 and was then sold to Hershey. As mentioned, I have not tried them before. But I am intrigued.
How do you make these cookies?
Aside from the usual creaming the butter with sugar and chilling time, this recipe is an easy one to whip up. Dare I say, quick too. Smashing the hard candies will be kind of therapeutic, somehow relaxing. I found it very de-stressing, smashing them with a rolling pin. Maybe though don’t go too crazy: you don’t need candy powder!
The cookie cutters you will need are of your choice, just make sure you have a large cookie cutter and a small one so you can cut out the middle. I picked stars, but I am sure you can have rounds for baubles, little gingerbread men, anything that can pick your fantasy.
When baking, you’ll turn into a hawk. I was honestly watching the oven constantly for the 5-6 minutes of cooking time. Just an overall stare-at-you like I am Joe Goldberg. You know what I mean, right? That baking sheet has never been stalked like this before. Of all the recipes I have made before, this was one of the most hands-on.
Tips & Tricks for these sugar cookies
Refrigerating these stained glass window cookies before you bake them is pretty much a given here. Not only they will keep their shape, it will make it easier for you to deal with the candy center.
These stained glass cookies are beautiful, of course. They do remind me of the stained glass effect on a church window. Some people even call these church window cookies, I feel it’s a bit much for me. But if you plan on using them to decorate the Christmas tree this December, you better make sure there is a hole pierced at the top.
Also, and that is another given, make sure you use parchment paper to bake the cookies, and that before baking, you roll the dough thigh in some plastic wrap or cling film.
Any other secret to share about these stain glass window cookies?
In all honesty, not really. While they were initially difficult, the end product just makes it up for every little swear word that might have come out of my mouth. Aside from the difficulties, though, you have to make them. My mum has not stopped eating them since they came out of the oven, and she does not like sweet stuff.
What about the cut-out from the middle cookie? We of course baked them and sprinkled with icing sugar and kept snacking on them whenever we could. Just so yummy. Too yummy to be able to resist them ha!Print
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Gnome is from Feltro Chic
We have managed to decorate the stars by sprinkling the icing sugar on top. How did we manage to get so little on the actual stain glass window cookies? Well, we have to share this secret with you I guess…
You see the stars you cut from the middle? All I did was place them on top of each window, sprinkled the icing sugar and just moved them! I am not saying they will be perfect, of course, but that worked pretty fine!
We have eaten these in mere hours, after gifting some to our neighbors and friends who came to say hi. Somehow you know that once you make food for an army, everyone will come round. It’s bound to happen! At least we know they have not gone to waste. Even though they would have not gone to waste considering my mother had soooo many of them, she even took them to work. Come to find out, not to share with her colleagues, oh no! Just to eat by herself in peace we were told.
Of course, if you intend on using these as tree decorations, it goes without saying you should not use any icing sugar on them. But I wanted to make sure you will not blame me if you planned to do that and then your floors would be all white. I am a friend, you know?
And we are at the very end of this!
While it’s been fun to tell you everything about these stained glass window cookies, it’s time for me to go. You’ll see me back here sooner that you can even say ‘hey!’ – plenty more recipes coming. Before I go, though, make sure to check out latest posts: last week we had our vegan clementine curd come out to surprise you! But also two amazing gift guides, one on advent calendars & decorations, the other on Christmas Pajamas & Jumpers! We’re just making sure you’ll be 100% ready for Christmas, you know?