These windowpane cookies give the illusion of being made of stained glass thanks to melted Jolly Ranchers. The appearance of cathedral windows only adds to their appropriateness at Christmas.
Wowsers! We can’t really think of anything else to say about these stunningly stained glass Christmas cookies, except that they’re far easier to make than you may expect thanks to colorful hard candy such as Jolly Ranchers. Originally published November 13, 2013.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Not Just For Christmas Note
These cookies look like gorgeously intricate cut-glass windowpanes but they’re not just for Christmas. Get creative with the cut-out shapes. Think red hearts for Valentine’s Day, pastel flowers for spring, and emerald evergreens for the winter holidays.
Special Equipment: Two cookie cutters, one large and one small
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 40 M
- Makes about 45 cookies
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter (4 oz), at room temperature
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- About 1/2 cup various sanding sugars, sorted by color, or clear hard candies, such as Jolly Ranchers
- 1. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.
- 2. In another bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Mix in the flour mixture until dough is smooth and firm.
- 3. Divide the dough in half and shape into two 1/2-inch-thick disks. Cover them in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. (At this point the dough can be covered in plastic wrap, sealed in a resealable plastic bag, and frozen for up to 2 weeks.)
- 4. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.
- 5. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Cut out shapes using the larger cookie cutter and then use the smaller cutter to remove “windows” from inside the shapes. Gather the scraps, reroll, and repeat with the cookie cutters. Arrange the cookies about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.
- 6. If using clear hard candies, seal them in resealable plastic bags (one color per bag). Crush the candies into very small pieces with a rolling pin, a heavy skillet, or a hammer.
- 7. Fill the cookie windows with just enough sanding sugar or crushed candy to cover the exposed surface. Use one color per cookie.
- 8. Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the edges start to turn golden, rotating the sheets halfway through the baking time. Place the sheets on wire racks to cool for a few minutes before gently transferring the cookies to the wire racks. Let the cookies cool completely. You can store the cookies between layers of parchment or wax paper in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Holiday Ornament Variation
- To make the cookies into holiday ornaments, use a bamboo skewer or chopstick to poke a hole about 3/4 inch from the top of each cookie before baking. After the baked cookies have cooled, thread 10 inches of ribbon or bakers’ twine through each hole and tie in a bow.