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Stained Glass Sugar Cookies
2 h 15 m
“You won't believe how easy it is to make these seriously impressive cookies. Hard candy melts when crushed into the center of these festive sugar cookies, making a gorgeous stained glass effect. Use any shape cookie cutter you like, just make sure you have two—a big one for each cookie, and a slightly smaller one for the hole in the middle.”
2 ounces hard natural candies, separated by color and/or flavor
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
¾ cup white whole-wheat flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, slightly softened
½ cup sugar
1 large egg
2½ teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract or lemon extract
1Place each flavor/color of candy in a separate resealable plastic bag. Using a meat mallet or a small saucepan, crush the candy into small pieces. Set aside.
2Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. Beat butter, sugar and egg in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until well blended. Beat in vanilla and almond (or lemon) extract until evenly incorporated.
3With the mixer on low speed, then medium speed, beat about half the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until incorporated. Beat in the remaining flour mixture until just incorporated.
4Divide the dough into thirds. Place one third on a 12-inch-long sheet of parchment paper and shape into a disk. Top with a second sheet of parchment. Roll the dough out between the parchment into an 8-inch circle about ¼-inch thick. Place the parchment with the rolled dough on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, stacking each piece of parchment with rolled dough on top of the previous one. Freeze on the baking sheet until cold and firm, at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day.
5To shape and bake cookies: Position a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line 2 to 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
6Working with one portion of dough at a time, remove from the freezer. Remove the top sheet of parchment and cut out cookies with 3- to 4-inch cookie cutters. Transfer the cookies to a prepared baking sheet with a wide, thin spatula, spacing them about 1½ inches apart. Using a 1-inch cookie cutter, cut out the center of each larger cookie. (Save the scraps for re-rolling or refreeze and bake the smaller "cookies" later.) Fill each center with about ½ teaspoon crushed candy and spread in an even layer so it is just touching the sides. Repeat with the remaining dough. (If the dough gets too soft, freeze until firm again. As you cut out cookies, set aside the scraps. Shape all the scraps back into a disk and reroll between parchment. Freeze for at least 30 minutes before cutting out.)
7Bake the cookies on the center rack, one baking sheet at a time, until lightly browned on the bottom, 8 to 12 minutes. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
To make ahead: Prepare through Step 4 up to 1 day ahead. Store baked cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days.