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Stained glass window cookies with a soft crisp sugar cookie base and smooth jolly rancher hard candy center are the prettiest holiday cookies and easy too. |

Stained Glass Window Cookies

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  • Author: Sam Hu | Ahead of Thyme
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 24-28 cookies
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Stained glass window cookies with a soft crisp sugar cookie base and smooth jolly rancher hard candy center are the prettiest holiday cookies and easy too.


  • 1/2 cup unsalted buttersoftened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 8-10 jolly ranchers or other hard candiescrushed


  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together using a hand mixer (or stand mixer) on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Turn the mixer to low speed and add baking powder and salt. Gradually add flour and mix until combined.
  2. Form the dough into a ball and wrap it tightly in plastic cling wrap. Freeze for 30 minutes or refrigerate until firm (at least 1 hour, up to overnight).
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two half sheet baking pans with silicone baking mats (I would not recommend parchment paper as the candy can stick to it).
  4. On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out until it is 1/4-inch thick. Use a 3 or 4-inch cookie cutter to cut out cookie shapes, and a 1 or 1.5-inch cookie cutter to cut out the centers.
  5. Transfer the cookies onto the lined baking sheet, placing them 1-inch apart. Re-roll any scraps and repeat to cut out more cookies.
  6. Sprinkle crushed candies into the cut out center of the cookies, filling them 3/4 full. If you fill them too much, the candy will melt out of the window and onto the cookies.
  7. Bake cookies for 10 minutes, until the edges start to turn golden brown, and the candy center is melted. Let the cookies set on the baking sheet for a few minutes for 10 minutes, then carefully transfer them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.


Crushing the hard candies: To crush the jolly ranchers, put them in a plastic ziploc bag, then crush them with a hammer, mallet, or meat tenderizer! You can even crush them in a mini blender the same way you would crush coffee beans.

How to store: Store stained glass window cookies in layers separated with parchment paper an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 weeks. Note that over time humidity can cause the candy centers to get sticky.

How to freeze cookie dough: Once you have prepared the dough and shaped it into a disc, wrap it tightly with plastic cling wrap and store it in a freezer bag or airtight container. Freeze for up to 2 months. To use, allow the cookie dough to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Then, bring it to room temperature before rolling and cutting out.

How to freeze baked cookies: I would not recommend freezing these cookies as it can cause the window center to crack when thawing. If you don’t mind, then you can freeze in an airtight container, layered in between pieces of parchment paper and for up to 3 months.

Make it with other cookies: You can make stained glass window cookies with other cookies as a base including: Cut Out Shortbread Cookies, Gingerbread Cookies, and in a Gingerbread House.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Chill Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American