Stained Glass Cookies

November 27, 2018

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Stained Glass Cookies are sure to impress people of all ages! These crisp buttery cookies are cut into festive shapes and filled with hard candies, then they’re baked and the candy melts into an even layer for a beautiful stained glass effect.

A delicious cookie to add to the cookie tray this year, and save a few for the Christmas tree or window!

Stained Glass Cookies

Stained Glass Cookies

I made several batches of these over the Thanksgiving holiday and I’d have to say I don’t think I’ve ever gotten so many ooh’s and ahh’s.

My kids, my nieces and nephews, the neighborhood kids and even the kids at school thought these were the coolest cookies they’d ever seen. And believe it or not they really aren’t difficult to make.

You simply cut a larger star (or other shape) from the cookie dough transfer it to a baking sheet, cut the same smaller shape then fill that with crushed Jolly Ranchers. Bake them and the candies melt into an even layer and leave you with a such fun yet striking cookie.

I’ve been wanting to try these cookies for years and I’m so glad I finally did! This year I’ve actually been on a Jolly Rancher kick (you can find hidden stashes in my purse and pantry) so maybe that’s what finally inspired me to make them.

Nostalgic childhood candy meets classic shortbread style cookie for a treat everyone will love!

Stained Glass Cookies

Ingredients You’ll Need for This Recipe

  • Unsalted butter
  • Granulated sugar
  • Salt
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • All-purpose flour
  • Jolly Ranchers

Stained Glass Cookies

How to Make Stained Glass Cookies

  • Unwrap and separate Jolly Ranchers into each color then place in separate small resealable bags. Crush into bits using a meat mallet, set aside.

Stained glass cookie dough in rectangle shape in plastic wrap.

  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer cream together butter, sugar and salt until well combined.
  • Mix in eggs one at a time then blend in vanilla.
  • With mixer set on low speed slowly add in flour and mix until well combined.
  • Scrape dough out and shape into a rectangle, wrap in plastic wrap and and chill 1 hour.

Showing how to make stained glass cookies. Rolling dough out on floured surface for stained glass cookies.

  • Cut chilled dough into thirds. Leave one portion out to work with and chill remaining.
  • Roll dough out onto a floured surface (about 1/5-inch thick). Cut out as many large stars as possible using a star shape cookie cutter (approx. 3.5 – 4-inch stars).

Cutting star shapes from cookie dough for stained glass cookies.

  • Transfer cut stars to baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  • Cut a smaller star from the center of each and remove (using a 1.5-inch star cutter). Re-roll and cut scrap dough.

Cutting center portion from cookies with a small star cookie cutter.

  • Fill cut out centers about 3/4 of the way with crushed jolly ranchers. Chill cookies in refrigerator 15 – 20 minutes Meanwhile preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Bake cookies until set and candy center has melted, about 12 – 14 minutes.
  • Let cool on baking sheet until jolly ranchers have hardened. Repeat process with remaining refrigerated dough. Store in an airtight container

Filling center of cut out cookies with jolly ranchers for stained glass cookies. Shown before baking.

Can I Use Different Shapes?

Yes absolutely. I actually was planning on making snowflakes, gingerbread men and Christmas trees as well but I thought the stars were cute so I just did all stars.  As long as you have a large cookie cutter then a smaller one to cut the center it should work great.

Can I Use a Different Type of Candy?

I did also test these with Life Savers and they do work but the colors weren’t quite as pretty. Maybe it’s just my oven but they seemed to melt quicker and therefor came out a little darker.

I’m also curious if they’d work with a butterscotch or cinnamon hard candy? They might not be as glassy but they sound delicious if they’d work.

Stained Glass Cookies on a white serving plate.

How to Cut Holes for Hanging

I’m sure theres a few ways you could go about making a hole at the top of the cookie so you can tie them with a ribbon to hang them, but the method that I used was just a plastic straw.

It was the perfect size and the dough would stick to the straw so you don’t have to try and pick it out. Just be sure to stamp the hole out before you bake them.

Stained Glass Cookies hanging from ribbon in a window.

More Christmas Cookie Recipes to Try

Stained Glass Cookies
4.8 from 20 votes

Stained Glass Cookies

Stained Glass Cookies are sure to impress people of all ages! These crisp buttery cookies are cut into festive shapes and filled with hard candies, then they're baked and the candy melts into an even layer for a beautiful stained glass effect. A delicious cookie to add to the cookie tray this year!
Servings: 30
Prep45 minutes
Cook30 minutes
Chill1 hour 25 minutes
Ready in: 2 hours 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • Jolly Ranchers hard candies (approx. 20)
  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (382g) all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for dusting

Instructions

  • Unwrap and separate Jolly Ranchers into each color then place in separate small resealable bags. Crush into small bits (not powder) using a meat mallet, set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer cream together butter, sugar and salt until well combined. 
  • Mix in eggs one at a time then blend in vanilla.
  • With mixer set on low speed slowly add in flour and mix until well combined.
  • Scrape dough out and shape into a rectangle, wrap in plastic wrap and and chill 1 hour.
  • Cut chilled dough into thirds. Leave one portion out to work with and chill remaining.
  • Roll dough out onto a floured surface (about 1/5-inch thick). Cut out as many large stars as possible using a star shape cookie cutter (approx. 3.5-inch stars).
  • Transfer cut stars to baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat*. Cut a smaller star (using a 1.75-inch star cutter) from the center of each and remove**. Re-roll and cut scrap dough.
  • Fill cut out centers about 3/4 of the way with crushed jolly ranchers. Chill cookies in refrigerator until firm, about 15 - 20 minutes. Meanwhile preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Bake cookies until set and candy center has melted, about 12 - 14 minutes.
  • Let cool on baking sheet until Jolly Ranchers have set and hardened. Repeat process with remaining refrigerated dough. Store in an airtight container.

Notes

  • *Someone has mentioned that their cookies stuck to parchment paper (which was previously also listed as an option) so I'd recommend sticking with silicone baking mats. I've never had issues with parchment paper but brands may vary so for best results just use silicone baking mats.
  • **You can use a toothpick if needed to help remove the center piece.
  • **If you'd like to be able to hang them with a ribbon then cut a small hole using a standard size plastic straw near the top before chilling and baking.
Nutrition Facts
Stained Glass Cookies
Amount Per Serving
Calories 144 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 27mg9%
Sodium 24mg1%
Potassium 19mg1%
Carbohydrates 19g6%
Sugar 9g10%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 205IU4%
Calcium 5mg1%
Iron 0.6mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.

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72 Comments

  • Stephanie

    I made hearts for Valentine’s Day. They turned out beautifully, and no issues using parchment paper.

  • Sherry

    These are very straightforward & baked up nice. I did not have enough fridge space to put them in after cutting out, but the littles were still impressed.

  • Stewart

    I found the dough to be a little bit too mushy to work with even after letting it sit for two hours in the fridge.
    The door also has zero flavor.
    The candy however melted fine

  • Marilyn

    I’m having trouble my first batch just melted to a nlon you csnt even tell they are sras there so thin now you cant pick them up what did I do wrong?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I’m so sorry to hear that! It sounds like the dough maybe needed a little more flour or to chill more thoroughly. I would try freezing the cut out stars for the next batch so they hold a better shape and don’t spread so much.

  • Laura Walsh

    The Cookie part itself is tasty. Candy color ran and discolored the cookie most of the time. The center, if you bite into it, will stick to your teeth.

  • Barbara Iverson

    These are so pretty but kind of scream artificial color to me. Like red and white twisted candy cane cookies that are so cute but take 2 tsps. of red food color, I can’t in good conscience make them for children, whom they most would appeal to. Jolly Rancher ingredients: CORN SYRUP; SUGAR; CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: MALIC ACID; NATURAL FLAVOR AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR; ARTIFICIAL COLOR [RED 40; YELLOW 5; BLUE 1; YELLOW 6]; MINERAL OIL; LECITHIN (SOY).

    • Denise Covington

      A few artificially flavored but pretty and exciting for the children one time a year does much more good than harm.
      If it was a regular thing I might agree with you but for a limited time, limited number special holiday treat it’s a tradeoff that will repay the baker with fond memories for the rest of the child’s life.
      This is just my take on the issue and not intended as any sort of criticism.

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