Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Stained Glass Cookie Ornaments

All cookies call out to my inner child, but there's something special, almost magical, about stained glass cookies. I've been fascinated with them ever since I first came across the idea (and hats off to whoever came up with it!) I'd been wanting to try my hand at them for a long time, and what better occasion to do that than Christmas!

If you've never heard of stained glass cookies before, they're just regular cookies with shapes cut out from the center which is then filled in with crushed candy. As the cookie bakes, the candy melts, giving the center a glass-like effect.

You start by getting your dough ready. I used the sugar cookie recipe from Glorious Treats, enhanced with two generous tablespoons of orange zest (those would be the flecks you might spot in the cookies). While the dough is firming up in the fridge, get your candy (or lollies, as they're known in Oz) sorted out. You have to use single-coloured hard boiled sugar candies. Separate them by colour. Next comes the bashing.

Now, the way most sites tell you to do it is to place them in ziplocs, and then bash using a heavy rolling pin or mallet. However, I read a comment on one of the sites, where the candy was too hard and after multiple whacks, the ziploc tore, possibly leaving bits of plastic among the candy pieces. This is what happened with me. So I tossed that batch, and searched for an alternative. Which turned out to be close at hand - my mortar and pestle. This works equally well, and is safer than the ziploc method, especially if the candy isn't easily smashed.

Roll out the dough and cut the main shape. Then using a much smaller cutter, cut out a piece from the center. You can re-use this piece. Transfer the cookie carefully to a parchment-paper lined baking tray, and fill in the center with the smashed candy. This was the only irksome part for me in the whole process, as the candy pieces became quite sticky and spooning them in was a real challenge. This could be because it was quite humid, it might be easier in dry weather.

Anyway, here you have to be careful that no candy flecks fall on the cookie itself, as it will colour the cookie. Of course, if you're going to ice the whole cookie, it doesn't matter, go ahead and be careless! If you're planning to use these cookies as ornaments, use a straw to cut out a hole at the top. Once all your cookies are done, bake them for a shade under the stated time. Take them out as soon as they get the barest hint of brown at the edges.

The candy centers will be bubbly when you take them out, but settle down as they cool. Most places ask you to leave the cookies on the tray for 10 minutes, so that the candy has time to set. Move them too quickly, and cookie & candy will part ways. I left mine on till they were completely cool, before gingerly peeling them away from the paper. To store also, I kept them in parchment-paper lined tins.

My cookies didn't turn out perfectly, clearly glassy. Next time, I'd try bashing the candy (a different brand, definitely!) to smithereens, and then see how they turned out. Anyway, they were still a lot of fun to make. You can leave them as they are, or go nuts decorating them. I used royal icing and left them overnight to dry. Once dry, you can tie a ribbon through the hole at the top, transforming your cookie into a delicious decoration. Now, to eat, or decorate with .... tough choice!


  1. Ulrica Fernandes2:38 PM

    AWESOME is the word, Salom! You're just too good.