Looking for something fun to do with your kids in the kitchen? Stained Glass Sugar Cookies are the perfect weekend kid-friendly baking project. These sweet little gems are really just a simple sugar cookie with a secret twist added just before baking. Crushed natural hard candies sprinkled into a hole in the center of each cookie melt to create a beautiful stained-glass effect.
Of course your kids will love to roll out the dough and cut out the cookies, but the real fun will be crushing those candies, sprinkling them into the centers and seeing the effect it creates after they melt.
We've used star cookie cutters here, but let your kids get their creative juices flowing by choosing different-shaped cutters and using different candy color combinations. You'll need one 3- to 4-inch cutter for the cookie and a 1-inch cutter to make the center hole.
These Stained Glass Sugar Cookies are a great addition to any holiday cookie platter. They also make awesome gifts... think teachers' gifts homemade by your kids!
Follow this simple step-by-step guide, and you and your kids will be in the kitchen baking away in no time!
• Sugar cookie ingredients
• 3- to 4-inch cookie cutter
• 1-inch cookie cutter
• Resealable plastic bag
• Parchment paper
• Rolling pin
• Cookie sheet
• Wire cooling rack
For a more natural cookie, look for hard candies that have no artificial food dyes or flavorings. Place hard candies in resealable bags, separated by color if necessary, and crush them using a meat mallet or small saucepan. This will be super fun for your kids, but maybe a little scary for your countertops. Doing this on a cutting board will keep this step fun and safe.
Whisk the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and beat the butter, sugar, egg and extracts in a separate mixing bowl with an electric mixer. Then beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two batches until just incorporated. This step is perfect for an older child who can use an electric mixer. Smaller kids can help measure and dump ingredients into the bowls.
Divide the dough into thirds, shape into a disk (a great task for younger kids who might not be able to use a rolling pin yet) and roll each one into an 8-inch circle between two sheets of parchment. Rolling out the cookie dough between parchment makes it much easier to handle.
Stack and freeze the rolled-out dough (with the parchment) on a baking sheet until cold and firm. This technique makes it a lot easier for kids to cut out their cookies—and works well for most cut-out cookie recipes.
This part can get a little messy, but don't worry. The cookies will still be awesome. Remove the top sheet of parchment, cut out 3- to 4-inch cookies and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a 1-inch cookie cutter, cut out the center of each cookie. Fill the center with crushed candy. This step is all about the kids. Let them go crazy with shapes and colors.
Bake for 8 to 12 minutes at 350°F, let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, transfer to a cooling rack, ooh and aah ... then ENJOY! If you're planning to gift the cookies, let them cool completely, then wrap up in pretty little bags or gift boxes.
Save & Print the Full Recipe: Stained Glass Sugar Cookies
• Pick the right recipe. This is not the time to try and make that lovely flourless chocolate torte you've had your eye on. Choose a simple age-appropriate recipe that will allow your kids to participate in most of the duties. Cookie recipes are usually a great place to start.
• Have your kids read or help you read through the recipe and then gather all of the necessary ingredients and tools. Bonus points for sneaking in a little extra reading time and maybe even some math skills!
• Plan ahead of time for appropriate tasks for each child to tackle. For example, a younger child could shape the cookie dough into disks and an older child would be able to roll them out.
• Make sure to have a safe step stool or chair for younger kids to stand on so they can easily be part of the action.
• Embrace the mess. Accept that this project might get a little messy and just have fun. Explain to your kids ahead of time that cleaning up is part of the baking process, and use this as an opportunity to teach them a few cleaning techniques.
• To avoid having too many extra sweets around after you're done, put aside a few for your family and then have the kids package up the rest to be given out as gifts to lucky neighbors, teachers or the postman.