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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

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Ingredients

  • 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)

Cook's Note

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

Directions

  1. Step 1

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

  2. Step 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. Step 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. Step 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. Step 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.

Source
Holiday Cookies 2005, December 2004

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Reviews (15)

  • 16 Dec, 2010

    TIP FOR CRUSHING CANDY: keep candy in the wrapper

  • 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!

  • 19 Dec, 2009

    I loved this recipe! I had so musch fun and they turned out beautifully. Thanks Martha!!

  • 9 Dec, 2009

    Just wondering if you can freeze these, and if its even a good idea...do they break/get rock hard?

  • 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"!

  • 15 Feb, 2009

    Love this recipe! Work out great for me with using the parchment paper (not wax paper.)

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 23 Nov, 2008

    I made this cookies and my whole family loved them. They are like a sucker with cookies around it. Double hit with the kids. I used car cookie cutters and used different colored candy pieces together so the stained glass looked tie dyed. Will make again.

  • 12 Oct, 2008

    If you want good vibrant colors for cookies or cake frostings, dry the powdered colors, they dry darker that what you start with and don't bleed.

  • 11 Jul, 2008

    These cookies were such a hit that I now use this as my basic sugar cookie recipe, as the dough isn't as dry and crumbly as some others! Definately worth an attempt from even the most cooking challenged.

  • 12 Jan, 2008

    Colourful cookies are not found so often, so it was good to get this recipe.
    My children and friends enjoyed making them. (Kids are slow to make, so butter tends to melt soon, but it's OK, just for fun. If it get too much melting, we can leave the dough into the fridge for a while.)

  • 28 Dec, 2007

    These cookies are a great activity to do with children. They love smashing the candies and watching them transform into windows.

  • 27 Dec, 2007

    I gave these cookies for christmas but they got hard in their containers and I have no idea why?... any help?