Stained Glass Cookie Ornaments
By Janine Eshelbrenner
Problem: You’re on the naughty list and you will be extremely embarrassed if your kids see you pull coal out of your stocking again this year.
Solution: Instead of disappointing Santa Claus with the same old decorated sugar cookies this year, impress him with stunning stained glass cookie ornaments.
What You Will Need
- Your favorite sugar cookie recipe
- Holiday cookie cutters (This tutorial uses a candy cane, gingerbread man, Christmas tree, and mini Christmas tree.)
- Green, red, and brown gel food coloring
- Green and red hard candy (such as Jolly Ranchers or Life Savers)
- String, twine, or thin ribbon
How To Make Stained Glass Cookie Ornaments
Since you will not be decorating these cookies with icing, you can add color to the design by dying your cookie dough.
Start by preparing your sugar cookie dough and separating it into three equal sections. Add a few drops of red coloring to the first section, green to the second, and brown to the third. To avoid making a mess, incorporate the coloring into the dough by making an indent in the dough with your thumb, squirting the food coloring into the indent, and folding the dough over the indent. Knead each section of dough until the coloring is spread evenly throughout. It is best to perform this step while wearing gloves unless you want you your lovely skin tone to be replaced with festive food coloring stains.
Next, roll out each section of dough to your desired cookie thickness. Use your cookie cutters to cut the dough into holiday shapes, removing sections from the center of each one where you want to have the stained glass effect. To remove a tree shaped center from your Christmas tree cookies, use a slightly smaller Christmas tree cookie cutter. To remove small circles from your Christmas tree and gingerbread men cookies, use a straw. To remove rectangle sections from your candy cane cookies, use a sharp knife to cut the shapes by hand. Also, use a straw to cut holes in the dough at the top of each cookie so you can string them up as ornaments later.
Place the cut dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet and set it in the freezer for about 15 minutes before baking.
How To Make Stained Glass Centers for Cookies
While your cut dough is chillin’ like a villain in the freezer, prepare your candy for the stained glass centers. Unwrap all of your green and red hard candy and place them in separate sealed Ziploc bags. Use a kitchen mallet or rolling-pin to crush the candy into tiny pieces. You may want to muffle the noise with a kitchen towel. Then again, you may just want to bang along to your favorite Christmas tune.
Remove your chilled dough from the freezer and bake until the dough is just set. This will probably be half the total baking time that your recipe calls for. (I bake mine for four minutes.)
Remove the cookies from the oven and carefully scoop a small amount of candy into cutout centers of each one. The candy will melt and spread so you do not need to completely fill the area.
Set the cookies back in the oven to bake for the remaining amount of time. (I bake mine for an additional four minutes.)
Remove the cookies from the oven and use the pointy end of your boo boo stick, a toothpick, or sharp knife to pop any large unwanted bubbles in the candy. You will need to move quickly as the candy will start to harden and stick to anything it touches.
Let stained glass cookies completely dry before storing or stacking them. Keep in mind that the candy will be sticky.
To turn your cookies into ornaments, simply loop some pretty string, twine, or ribbon through the hole you created at the top of the cookies. And if you are having guests that you really want to impress, string the cookies together to make stained glass cookie garland.
Just a few easy steps and you will have the most stunning edible holiday decorations on the block. And Santa will be sure to visit your house first to get his cookie fix!