Allow me to just start this post by saying I am not a fancy holiday cookie person. I love holiday baking, and in particular, cookie making. But I am not one to go to far out of my comfort zone. These beautiful, stained-glass cookies are the kind of thing I’d see on Pinterest, maybe even save on an inspiration board and then never, ever make. Because look at them! So pretty, so ridiculously pretty that I’d never be able to pull them off. I was swamped with work right before our most recent studio session so Ben offered to help me out by finding some cookies I could make. He showed me these with a self-satisfied grin. I asked him if he was high.
photos by Maya Visnyei
I guess I was too overwhelmed to look for another option myself since I showed up at the studio with the dough and a bag of Jolly Ranchers. Yep, that’s what the stained glass is made from. And you can ask our lovely photographer Maya, the whole time I was making these cookies I was muttering, “This will never work, I don’t know why I’m wasting everyone’s time, completely impossible….” and so on. But the kids, who were all with us that day, were egging me on and loved watching me smash the hell out of the candies and then scooping the candy gravel into the cutouts.
And voila! They’re not perfect but they are quite pretty. They could just be straight-ahead cookies, they could be ornaments! The moral of this Christmas tale is don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good. Or, maybe it’s let Ben pick out recipe ideas for you. Or maybe just have another cookie.
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp molasses
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 egg
- 2 cups flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 30 - 40 hard candies like Jolly Ranchers or Life Savers
Cream butter and sugars together in a large bowl until they're light and fluffy - at least a few minutes. Now add the molasses, vanilla and egg and blend for another minute.
In another bowl, mix together the flour, salt and baking powder.
Now add the wet to the dry until just combined.
Divide the dough into two halves, form into disks and cover in plastic wrap.
Refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
Organize your candies by colour.
I crushed my Jolly Ranchers with a rolling pin in their wrappers, then just opened them up and tipped them into bowls.
Or you could put each colour of candy into a zip lock bag and crush them that way.
Alternatively, put the candies in a food processor so that you have a really even gravel of candy
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Take your dough out of the fridge and let it soften just a bit before rolling it out between two pieces of parchment to a 1/4 inch thickness.
Cut out your shapes and carefully place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Use a smaller cookie cutter or even a paring knife to cut out a smaller shape inside each cookie.
If you're making ornaments, use a skewer to place a hole at one edge of each cookie.
Spoon a bit of candy gravel into each hole.
Fill each hole completely, right up to the top edge of the cookie.
Bake for 10 minutes until the cookie is golden brown and the candy has melted.
Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool completely before gently removing them.
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