Kids can make these colorful cookies with just about any cookie-cutter shape. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Making holiday cookies may be a tradition in your house. But if you’re not one of the bakers, you’re missing out. Bakers have to sample their creations, so you are almost guaranteed to get a treat that’s still warm from the oven. You’re also more likely to get a say in which cookies are on the menu.

These Stained-Glass Cookies are colorful and fun to make. You can use a star, snowflake, tree or almost any cookie-cutter shape you have. When it comes time to eat them, grab a napkin. Watch out for falling “glass” after you take your first chomp.

Adult help: Yes

Hands-on time:
30 minutes

Total time:
70 minutes

Makes: 20 cookies

Kitchen gear:

Measuring cups;

measuring spoons;

electric mixer; rolling pin;

cookie cutters, big and small;

parchment paper;

baking sheets; cooling rack

Stained-Glass Cookies

You’ll need individually wrapped, colored hard candies about the size of Life Savers (3/4 inch), which can be sugar-free, and same-shape cookie cutters in two different sizes. Here, we used a 31/2-inch star-shaped cutter and a 11/2-inch one.

MAKE AHEAD: The dough needs to be chilled for 30 minutes (refrigerator) or 15 minutes (freezer). The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 10 days.

Adapted from Family Fun magazine.


10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

2 cups flour, plus more for the work surface

Pinch of salt

20 colored hard candies, or more as needed (see headnote)


Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer. Beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds, until well blended. Stop to scrape down the bowl. Add the egg; beat on low speed just until incorporated, then add the vanilla extract and the almond extract, if using; beat for about 10 seconds, just to blend. Stop to scrape down the bowl.

Combine the flour and salt on a sheet of wax paper.

On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture; once it’s all incorporated, increase the speed to medium and beat for about 30 seconds, to form a soft dough.

Lay two large pieces of plastic wrap on the counter. Divide the dough into balls of equal size, placing each ball on its own plastic wrap. Flatten them both to 11/2 inches thick, then wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or freeze for 15 minutes).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. Lightly flour a work surface

Working with one disk of dough at a time, roll it out on the work surface to slightly more than 1/4-inch thick (if the cookies are too thin, the candy will leak from the center during baking). Use the larger cookie cutter to cut out a total of about 10 cookies; reroll the scraps as needed. If the dough gets too soft, rewrap and return it to the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Transfer the cutout cookies to a baking sheet, then use the smaller cookie cutter to cut out the center of each cookie. (The dough from these can be rerolled or the smaller cookies can be baked separately.)

Place a hard candy in the cutout center of each cookie. Bake one sheet at a time (middle rack) for 10 minutes, or just until the cookies are barely browned on the edges and the candy has melted. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before serving or storing. Repeat with the remaining dough and candies.

Nutrition | Per cookie: 140 calories, 2 g protein, 20 g carbohydrates, 6 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 20 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 9 g sugar

Recipe tested by Toni L. Sandys; e-mail questions to

In the Food section

Find 26 more cookie recipes, including the creative Andrea’s Whole-Wheat Cookies, left, Wednesday in the Food section’s holiday cookie issue or online at