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Stained Glass Trees


To make your own cookie shapes, draw a simple Christmas-tree or ornament shape onto a manila folder, and cut it out. Place the cutout on rolled-out cookie dough, and cut around it with the tip of a paring knife. Alternatively, you can cut out cookies with cookie cutters (wide shapes work best). Use the knife tip to cut out the centers of the cookies.

  • Servings: 36
  • Yield: Makes about 3 dozen

Source: Holiday Cookies 2005, December 2004


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 7 ounces assorted clear colored hard candies, such as Jolly Rancher, colors separated and finely chopped (about 30)


  1. Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl; set aside.

  2. 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.

  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, 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 a 5-inch tree-shape cookie cutter. Using a metal spatula, space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Using the tip of a paring knife, make a triangular cutout in center of each cookie for candy filling. Reroll scraps, and cut.

  4. Sprinkle candy in a single layer in hole of each cookie, avoiding edges of triangle. Refrigerate until dough is firm, about 15 minutes.

  5. 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.

Cook's Notes

Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 5 days.

Reviews Add a comment

  • Greatbaker01
    20 DEC, 2014
    I don't reccomend this recipe! We spent hours preparing these for a cookie exchange but the paper stuck right to the jolly ranchers. We couldn't get the cookies off without paper stuck to it. Also, they didn't even taste that good! :(
  • infemity
    16 DEC, 2010
    TIP FOR CRUSHING CANDY: keep candy in the wrapper
  • careebeary
    17 FEB, 2010
    LOVE these cookies! I tried making them by just putting a whole Jolly Rancher in the middle without breaking it up, and it worked great and saved me tons of time. These are so delicious - the sugar cookie is the best I've ever eaten and can even stand up on it's own - without the candy in the middle!
  • kkotman
    19 DEC, 2009
    I loved this recipe! I had so musch fun and they turned out beautifully. Thanks Martha!!
  • Dimitix
    9 DEC, 2009
    Just wondering if you can freeze these, and if its even a good they break/get rock hard?
  • msamandaskids
    5 DEC, 2009
    These were simply AMAZING! The kids (and adults alike) LOVED them! The dough was easy to work with and the concept was simple and straight forward...I think the most "difficult" part was chopping up the candy but I had a hand food chopper and it made short work of the task! Even my husband enjoyed helping make these. We mixed the colors in the center to make really unique "windows"!
  • TeresaThurin
    15 FEB, 2009
    Love this recipe! Work out great for me with using the parchment paper (not wax paper.)
  • Neenie31
    19 DEC, 2008
    EASY!? Who thinks these were easy!/ I am no chef or culinary expert but I think of myself as a great baker and these were not easy to make. The dough was great and easy to work with but the candy in the middle was the biggest pain. Who has time to put all the candy in the middle AND who can get it not to touch the sides! Definetly not trying this one again.
  • bigcountrysgal
    19 DEC, 2008
    These were easy...... I didnt need parchment paper either. Just let them cool down in the fridge for two-three minutes and they come right off the Sheet. I love them. THANKS
  • stephmartin28
    16 DEC, 2008
    I tried this with a different cookie recipe and I dont recommend! Mine just all spred out and melted together! Defintely use the actual recipe!