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
4.87 from 15 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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51 Comments

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      They are definitely edible :). Just more like a shortbread style cookie which doesn’t need baking soda or baking powder.

  • Julie Graham

    All of the colors were beautiful and the instructions were easy to follow.

  • Kathy

    I also had trouble with the candy sticking to parchment but the silicone mats work great. I live that this recipe allows the cookies to keep their shape, they don’t spread out.

  • Emily

    I just made these with my kids and was pleasantly surprised with how pretty and tasty they came out! Based on comments, I also rolled my dough 1/4”, and I was careful not to overfill, which occasionally led to underfilling (there were small holes in the center of a couple cookies). I found that the cherry and blue raspberry flavors looked the best. Grape looked brownish, green apple was more yellow, and watermelon was a bit washed out. But the variety was nice. I will definitely make these again!

  • Lisa

    The cookie itself is lacking in flavor and I think at least 1/4” thickness is needed. They are very cute though. I added coarse sugar sprinkles on top and they were much better.

  • Judy P

    I saw these years ago and they did use life savers. They both make a very pretty cookie! Need to make some for Christmas giveaway plates.

  • Andrea

    There’s a bit of a learning curve to these but once I figured out the right amount of crushed Jolly Rancher to put into the middle, it worked great! I also recommend crushing them finely. The bigger chunks were the ones that overflowed for me.

    Today was a practice run and all of the neighbors benefited. I’ll be making these again in a few weeks to give as party favors at a 95th Birthday Party. Thanks for the awesome recipe and instructions!

  • Brenda Mott

    I tried these with Cinnamon and butterscotch disc hard candies, along with the jolly ranchers. The jolly ranchers did have more of a glassy look, but had complaints on it being to hard for older people. The cinnamon and butterscotch disc were a big hit even though they did have the clearer appearance, but we’re easier to chew.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Glad to hear the butterscotch version was a success! Thanks for your feedback!