There are some cookies that are baked because they taste great. Others are baked for their looks. The Stained Glass Christmas Tree, in my opinion, falls into the looks category. It's a simple sugar cookie recipe that's jazzed up by crushed hard candy. Nothing revolutionary, but the results are impressive. My cousin requests them for our family party, and who am I to disappoint?
Stained Glass Christmas Trees
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
crushed Lifesavers (lighter colors only)
Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and mix until smooth. Stir in flour, salt and baking powder until combined. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 325°. Roll out dough on a floured surface until 1/8 inch thick. Use large cookie cutters to cut dough. Transfer to parchment-lined cookie sheet and cut out interior tree using a smaller cookie cutter or a paring knife. Fill centers with crushed lifesavers, making sure not to get any candy on the dough itself. Bake until candy has melted and cookies begin to turn golden. If the candy starts to bubble, pull them out right away. Let the cookies cool briefly to harden, then move to wire racks to cool completely.
- The darker colors (like green and purple) turn too dark and muddy in the oven. If you know a way to make that not happen, let me know!
- I had great luck crushing the lifesavers individually in their wrappers using the flat bottom of a metal measuring spoon. Make sure you keep the different colors separate.
- You can either reroll whatever gets cut out of the center of the tree, or you can make minature stained glass trees. Instead of triangles or tree shapes, though, I just cut a small circle. In fact, I liked the smaller size better; it was just the right amount of cookie and candy.