These cookies are not for the faint of heart. They are for those who are allowed to take some time to relax and it is best to prepare them with children. To be honest, I’m not sure I would have even bothered to make them if I had not had help for the children. Stained glass Christmas tree cookies are a fun project and a great experiment in baking an afternoon in the winter!
I will say, right away, that these cookies will only be good if you use sweets that you like to eat for cookies. For example, I used Jolly Ranchers for these and Betsy, my wife, does not like Jolly Ranchers, so these were a bit of a miss in the flavors department for her.
But the kids ate them without any problem because sugar on sugar, right?
Mostly, I just think they look festive and fun and are a cool addition to a plate of cookies!
What is a stained glass cookie?
A stained glass cookie is a cookie that uses a type of cut dough. But in the center, instead of dough, place hard candies, which melt in the oven and produce a stained glass effect in cookies.
You can be very creative with the designs once you download the method! They can be simple cuts with more mixed circles or designs like these cookies, where I used the stained glass effect to look like decorations on Christmas trees!
Which cookie dough works best for these cookies?
You can use any cookie dough cut into stained glass cookies. What you do not want is a dough that expands greatly while baking.
I like to use simple sugar cookie dough. Make sure it is really stable in the fridge so that it does not expand too much and ruin the design you are working on!
If you do not want to make your own dough here, I think it would be ok to start with sugar cookie dough bought in the store, as these cookies are more about the fun design than the real cookie taste.
Which candy is suitable for stained glass?
You can use any hard candy that melts well in the oven. For the taste, I thought of using caramel which would definitely be tastier but its color is quite dull.
In the end, I decided to go with Julie Rancher candies because they produce a wide variety of colors and the colors are very bright, which I thought would be cool decorations!
Tips for making these stained glass cookies
The most important tip I can give you if you want to try making these cookies is to have helpers. I enlisted my two children to help me with this. The dough was light enough but when it comes to decorations properly, little hands help!
I instructed the children to sort out all the cheerful farmers and unload them. Place them all in sandwich bags designed for easy shattering.
Again, you can use any hard candy for it that melts well, but I just loved the colors of these candies.
Now start working at Brisk!
You will have candy leftovers, but you will need a large variety of different candy pieces so smash more than you need to have plenty of options.
I asked the kids to use a hammer in the kitchen for smashing but a rolling pin would work just as well.
There are two tedious parts to this recipe.
Part 1: Creating the Holes for Decorations. For this I used a reusable metal straw, but you can use any straw. It works really well. Just stick the straw into the dough after you have cut and sprinkled your sugar cookies.
Great job for a five year old boy with a seven year old boy supervising!
For some of the actual decoration, some experimentation was required. The first time I tried it we tried to put the candy before baking but it was overbaked.
So, the right way to do this is to actually bake the cookies with holes only until they are almost ready. I pulled them out after 8 minutes of baking.
Then let them cool briefly and add the candy to each hole (again, small hands help). Then return to the oven for just two minutes to melt the candy so that it fills the holes and produces beautiful decorations!
Holding a Christmas tree cookie made of colored glass in front of the light shows the full effect!
How cool, right ?!
These are not the most practical cookies in the world, for sure, but they are quite fun and the kids loved spending a morning making them with me!
Christmas tree cookies made of stained glass
These stained glass sugar cookies are a fun holiday cookie to make with the kids. Takes some time so make sure you have some helpers!
Basic sugar cookies:
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour for each purpose
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ a teaspoon of salt
Green decoration sugar
40 varied hard candies, for dissolving
For sugar cookies:
- Whisk together butter and sugar in a bowl with a hand mixer or with a stand mixer using the paddle connection. Stir until light and fluffy. Then add egg and vanilla extract.
- Beat together dry ingredients in a small bowl and add them slowly to the creamed butter. Try not to mix too much.
- When the dough comes together, divide it into two flat discs and wrap in cling film. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes but preferably overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Cut cookies and place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Dust in sugar and decorate green and then use straw to punch holes in cookies.
- Bake cookies for 8 minutes.
To finish the cookies, divide hard candies (I like cheerful farmers) by color and grind in several bags. When the cookies come out of the oven, add a little crushed candy to each cookie guys you punched earlier.
Return to the oven for 2 minutes to melt hard candies.
Allow the cookies to cool on the baking paper and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.