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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Stained-Glass Church Window Cookies for Easter

I had heard of Cathedral Window Cookies, and it sounded like a fun treat for Easter to make with the kids, but when I googled it for a recipe, it was not the cookie I had in mind. Apparently, those are chocolaty cookies with pastel marshmallows inside. I had in mind more of a stained-glass middle cookie. After further research, I found just that, but non were actually in the shape of a church window, so I improvised on that part. Here's the recipe and technique below, so you can learn from my mistakes!

Ingredients: 

(your favorite store-bought sugar cookie dough, or:)
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 tsp salt
2 1/2 c flour
hard candy for windows (we used Jolly Ranchers)

Making the Dough:
Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream the butter, adding the sugar gradually. Beat in the egg until mixed evenly. Blend in the vanilla extract and salt.

Stir the flour into the dough gradually with a wooden spoon. Note: The dough may seem soft, but it will become firmer once refrigerated.

Divide the dough in half, flattening each half into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
With light shining through!

Creating the Cookies:
Heat the oven to 375ยบ. Cover a heavy baking sheet with parchment paper (wax paper will stick to the cookies). Lightly coat the parchment with cooking spray. Roll the dough to a 1/4" thickness between 2 sheets of waxed paper lightly dusted with flour. Remove the top sheet.

I went with a large gothic-style arched window (about the size of your child's hand) and cut out the shapes by hand. Chill to make transferring them to the baking sheet with a spatula easier, placing them an inch apart. Remove the center of the cookies following the outline, creating an arched "window frame". Note: Save the centers to add back to the dough to be baked later.

Crush the hard candy (Lifesavers or Jolly Ranchers) into large chunks. Place the hard candy inside the frames, mixing the colors. Bake until the edges of the cookies start to brown lightly, 8-10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer them to cooling racks. Line your serving plate with waxed paper to prevent the cookies from sticking. Hold them up to a light before eating for the full "church window" effect!

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