These festive cookies are what I would classify as fun for the whole family. Not only are they cool and pretty to look at, but they make a great collaborative activity for you to do with kids. I found these Stained Glass Cookies in my handy dandy Martha Stewart's Cookies cookbook and knew I wanted to challenge myself with them this holiday season. Normally, I consider rolling out sugar cookies to be a very painful experience, but I wanted to at least try my hand at this. If it worked out well, I knew it would be worth it.
It sounds so simple in the directions in the book. Simply mix together an easy sugar cookie recipe, then roll out the dough to cut shapes. Once you have transferred the shapes to a baking sheet, you can cut out small triangles, rectangles, whatever you want inside each shape. Once you have cutouts in each cookie, you fill it with finely chopped Jolly Rancher candies. You bake the cookies in the oven, and the candies in the centers get melted and fill out the entire cutout. Once the baking is complete, the cookies cool and the candies get hard again. But now, you have cool "windows" in your cookies, with pretty stained glass effects inside!
1. Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder into a bowl. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg; mix until smooth, 1 minute. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, and mix until combined. Stir in vanilla. Wrap dough in plastic, and refrigerate until cold, about 45 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F with racks in upper and lower thirds. Roll out chilled dough on a well-floured surface to a little more than 1/8 inch thick. Cut out shapes using an assortment of cookie cutters. Using a metal spatula, transfer shapes to baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Using the tip of a paring knife, make a triangular shape (or any shape that you like) cutout in center of each cookie for candy filling. Reroll scraps, and cut.
3. Sprinkle candy in a single layer in hole of each cookie, avoiding edges of the cutout. Refrigerate until dough is firm, about 15 minutes.
4. Bake cookies until candy has melted and completely filled cutout and cookie edges are just starting to turn pale golden brown, 11 to 12 minutes. Do not let the cookies brown, or the candy centers may become bubbly. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks. Use a metal spatula to remove cookies from parchment. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature for up to 5 days.