Stained Glass Cookies
- Yield: Makes about twelve 7-inch stars
Source: Holiday Cookies 2005, Special Issue 2005
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out dough
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted margarine, room temperature
- 1/2 cup lightly packed dark-brown sugar
- 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream margarine and dark-brown sugar until fluffy. Add molasses and beat until combined. Add flour mixture, alternating with 1/3 cup water; beating on low until combined. Divide dough in half, pat each half into a rectangle, and wrap in plastic. Chill for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Working with one piece of dough at a time, on a well-floured Silpat (a French nonstick baking mat), roll out dough to a rectangle slightly thicker than 1/8 inch. Chill for 10 minutes. Gather together scraps and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough before rerolling.
Using a 7-inch star-shaped cutter, cut out dough. (For best results press cutter into the dough and remove the excess before taking away the cutter.) Remove centers of stars using a 3-inch star cutter. Use a skewer to make a hole in a tip of each star.
Bake until crisp but not darkened, about 20 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool. When cookies are cool, line baking sheets with clean Silpats or parchment paper. Arrange cookies on prepared baking sheets; set aside.
Prepare an ice bath; set aside. To make the caramel: Combine granulated sugar, 1/3 cup water, and lemon juice in a small saucepan, and place over medium-high heat. Stir continuously to dissolve sugar. If at any time your hand comes into contact with the hot sugar, immediately plunge it into the ice bath. This should prevent further injury. When sugar is dissolved, stop stirring. Continue to cook, without stirring, until mixture turns amber in color, 5 to 10 minutes. Occasionally wash down sides of the pan using a clean brush dipped in cold water to prevent crystals from forming.
Carefully fill the centers of the cookies with caramel. Let stand until cool. Thread a piece of wax twine through the hole in each cookie, and tie to create a loop. Do not hang ornaments in direct light or in a humid area, as the caramel can melt.