Hi, my name is Claire and I have a problem – I have way too many cookies cutters. In my defense, making fancy decorated cookies is so much fun and of course they are great for engaging kids, especially if you don’t mind the finished product looking a little more fantasy than fancy ! With a little effort cut cookies can look spectacular and make wonderful gifts or simply make afternoon tea with a friend special. ( I am British after all – we consider afternoon tea to be a major event )
One of my favorite cookies that look a little different and very special are Stained Glass Cookies from Martha Stewart’s Cookies book. The individual recipe is on her web site. She also has a gingerbread version of the recipe online if you are like me and think that anything is better with ginger.
It took me a long time to get around to trying these – I always thought they looked fantastic but they seemed rather challenging, in fact they turned out to be quite easy. There are lots of chores for little helpers such as rolling dough, cutting cookies and filling the windows with crushed candy so these are great cookies to bake with kids.
In her book Martha suggests cutting the candies with a chefs knife. I am fairly certain if I tried that they would some extra natural red dye in the cookies and extra protein! I decided on a safer option of putting the candies in baggies and smashing them with a hammer – I will add – lifesavers crush easier than jolly ranchers ! Really what little boy isn`t going jump at the chance to help with that step !
The original recipe was for stained glass Christmas trees with triangles of “glass” — and Martha reuses the cut out centers to make more trees – as I choose to make spring cookies, and I refuse to re-roll and cut the same dough 100 times – I cut shapes from the center and simply transferred the shapes to the tray as mini cookies.
This saved time and gave me variety for my cookie platter. I dipped some of the minis in colored sugar before baking which is a quick and easy way to give a plain cookie a little bling!
Others I baked plain and coated them in melted white chocolate and butterscotch crunch, a recent decadent find at nuts.com. They are little cookies so you can get away with smothering them in toppings. If you are thinking that I should have more mini cookies than I have photographed – you are right – someone forgot that last tray was in the oven. We too are just human! I had planned on dipping a few in plain chocolate and sprinkles, and making a half and half mini dipping the cookies in milk and white chocolate.
There are many more ways to decorate cookies – At Christmas we always bake some special cookies for our platters with royal icing decoration, and we had some fun making Day of the Dead sugar skulls in the past. Sign up for the blog updates – we will be posting more cookie decorating ideas in the future !