I usually plan my bakes over weekdays, I will look thru websites and look for ideas to bake, thereafter do some comparison and decide which one to use. There are just too many recipes for 1 single item and at times you don’t know which one to use. But if I only start to think about what I want to do on a Sat morning then most of the time I end up not baking anything that day cos by the time I check out the web, do comparison, it’s already in the late afternoon.
Last year Christmas was really easy, with a whole lot of new cookie cutters design and sugar quinns, it’s just so clear that decorated cookies will be the choice. It goes from preparing the dough, cutting out, wait for it to cool, prepared royal icing, decorated it, pack it … not really easy as it could easily take up one whole day. No doubt they are really beautiful to look at, impressive but it’s just another cookies and it’s really sweet for daily consumption and how many can you actually eat? This year somehow I started my Christmas baking with Stollen, the type of bread that I like, my family enjoy and most welcome on the dining table! I’m glad I try the recipe as I could forsee I’m going to do another round when it’s closer to Christmas.
I couldn’t decide what to bake for giveaway this year, should it be cookies? I actually have no plans to bake cookies if not for the giveaway. What kind of cookies? Cut-out cookies? Chocolate Chip cookies? or should it be biscotti? At a point of time I was even contemplating of giving away Stollen?! But the thought of kneading such a big amount of dough woke me up. Those who are familar with bread making would know how precious is one loaf of home-made bread, the effort and time put in for one small loaf. After weeks of thoughts, I finally narrow down to to Stained Glass Cookies!
The cookie dough is pretty manageble. Cream butter with sugar, add in egg then lastly the flour. The original recipe calls for full portion of plain flour but I was afraid that the cookie will be hard so I change to half cake flour and half plain flour. I left the dough in the fridge for an hour before I start rolling it. I would prefer to prepare the dough the day before, left it overnight in the fridge before using, not that it will help much on the dough texture but I thought it will be easier the next day just to cut-out the cookies and bake if you do not have enough time :P
These are the “stained glass”. I was surprise that it’s actually pretty hard to pound, I use a mortar and later a grinder to do the job! It’s also quite sticky once it’s pounded and wasn’t that easy to fill the cookies cut-out. The oven was filled with fruity scent when it’s baking.
The smaller the cut-out, the more difficult it is to fill the candies as it’s crystal hard. This is a Christmas Wreath design with little star cut-out.
I’ve seen 2 set of instructions doing such cookies, Martha Stewart call to fill cookies cut-out with the candies before baking whilst the rest will call to do it mid-way during baking. I tried Martha’s method initally but the candies was bubbling crazily in the oven to the extent that it’s actually dry out. So for the next try, I baked the cookies for 6 mins before taking out from the oven and fill the cut-out with candies and pop back in for another 3 mins, check the candies and add in more candies to fill up, bake for another 2 mins. Don’t try to overfill the cut-out with candies otherwise they will flow out and create a stain outside.
I mix in 3 colors of candies to get this effect :) Love it!!
Pack and ready to giveaway!
Stained Glass Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen
300g all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
110g unsalted butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
7 ounces assorted clear colored hard candies, colors separated and finely chopped (about 30)
1. Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl; set aside.
2. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Add egg; mix until smooth, 1 minute.
4. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, and mix until combined.
5. Stir in vanilla.Wrap dough in plastic, and refrigerate until cold, about 45 minutes.
6. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.with racks in upper and lower thirds.
Roll out chilled dough on a well-floured surface to a little more than 1/8 inch thick. Cut out shapes using a 5-inch tree-shape cookie cutter. Using a metal spatula, space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Using the tip of a paring knife, make a triangular cutout in center of each cookie for candy filling. Reroll scraps, and cut.
7. Sprinkle candy in a single layer in hole of each cookie, avoiding edges of triangle. Refrigerate until dough is firm, about 15 minutes.
8. Bake cookies until candy has melted and completely filled cutout and cookie edges are just starting to turn pale golden brown, 11 to 12 minutes. Do not let the cookies brown, or the candy centers may become bubbly.
9. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks. Use a metal spatula to remove cookies from parchment. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 5 days.
1. I used 1 cup of cake flour and 1 cup of plain flour.
2. Allow the cookies to cool slightly on baking sheet (for the candies to set) before transfering to wire rack for cooling.
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Holiday Cookies 2005