Stained Glass Cookies

Photo by Elise, SimplyRecipes.com

Looking for a holiday project to do with your children that’s lots of fun?  How about stained glass cookies? It’s not as difficult as it may look and the results are both decorative and edible!  They’re basically sugar cookies with a cutout filled with crushed hard candy that take on a beautiful stained glass appearance when baked.  For the upcoming holidays, you might choose two sizes of star-shaped cutters, snowflakes, bells, or a small triangle-shaped cutter could be used for the center cutout.  You get the idea.  And for other holidays such as Easter, you might select flower cutters.

Photo by Jelena bg, Allrecipes.com

Here’s what you need:

½ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup light brown sugar

½ cup butter (1 stick)

1 T molasses

½ t pure vanilla extract

1 egg

2 cups flour

1/4 t salt

¾ t baking powder

Photo by Jaime, Goodeats'nsweettreats.com

About 20-30 brightly colored hard candies such as life savers, Jolly Rogers, or sour balls

Procedure:

Using an electric mixer, cream together sugars and butter about two minutes until fluffy.  Add vanilla and molasses until incorporated.  Then add the egg and mix one minute on medium speed.

Sift together flour, salt and baking powder and fold into wet mixture. Blend just until flour is incorporated.  Divide dough in half and pat each into a disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour.

Photo by Jaime, Goodeats'nsweettreats.com

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cover two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat. Place the hard candies, separated by color, into plastic bags.  Use a mallet or meat pounder to crush candies.

Set one disk of dough between two sheets of waxed paper.  Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness.  Use cookie cutters to cut into desired shapes.  Place on baking sheet. about 1 inch apart.  Use a smaller cutter to out centers.  Save cutouts to add into extra dough.  Use a piece of paper folded into a cone shape and fill with the crushed candy. Use this to carefully fill in the hollowed out centers.  This works better than a spoon or your fingers.  Avoid candy on the cookie tops as this will color the cookies.  Mound the candy slightly so that when it melts it will be level with the cookie.  If the cookies are to be hung as decorations, make a hole with a drinking straw.

Bake about 10-15 minutes or until candy is melted and bubbling and cookies are just starting to brown.  Remove baking sheets from oven and place on wire racks to cool at least 10 minutes.  Otherwise, centers might separate from cookies.  When cookies have cooled completely, they may be stored in an airtight container or hung by ribbons.  Happy holidays!.

Pecan Raisin Rugelach

Cream cheese pastry is the basis for this sinfully scrumdiddilyumpshus treat, also known as a cookie, which doesn’t begin to conjure up its lush richness.  Bear in mind that you could substitute or add such filling ingredients as dried cranberries, dried cherries, chopped pitted dates, chopped walnuts, etc.

Cream Cheese Dough:

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

4 T granulated sugar

½ t salt

1 t pure vanilla extract

2 cups flour

Filling:

1 cup lightly toasted pecans, finely chopped

¾ cup golden raisins

½ t ground cinnamon, divided

¼ cup light brown sugar, packed

6 T granulated sugar

½ cup apricot preserved pureed in a food processor

1 egg

1 T milk

1 t cinnamon

3 T granulated sugar

Procedure:

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, puree cream cheese and butter until light. Add 2 T granulated sugar, salt and vanilla. Add flour at low speed and mix just until combined.  Turn out onto a floured surface and gather into a ball.  Cut into four quarters, wrap each in plastic wrap and chill at least two hours or overnight.

To prepare the filling, mix together the pecans, raisins, ½ t cinnamon, brown sugar and 6 T granulated sugar.

Assemblage:  Roll out each ball of dough into a 9 inch round.  Spread 2 T of the apricot preserves onto each circle.  Sprinkle ½ cup of the filling on each round.  Place on top a square of wax paper that covers the round.  Gently roll a rolling pin over to press the filling into the dough.  With a pizza cutter, cut each round into 8 wedges.  Beginning at the wide edge, roll up each wedge and place on a parchment lined baking sheet with the points tucked under.  Chill for 30 minutes before placing in a 350 degree oven.

Make an egg wash with the egg and milk and brush on each rugelach.  Mix 1 t cinnamon with 3 T sugar and sprinkle on rugelach.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool on a wire rack.  Makes 32  rugelach.

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