Crushed candy melts into a little stained-glass window in these delicate little goodies. They’re especially beautiful when hung on a miniature tree so that viewers can appreciate the color and design. They won’t last all season, since the hard candy windows absorb moisture from the air and will eventually start to disintegrate. Ideally, you can hang them somewhere for a party or event, and then let kids eat them after it’s over. It’s also fun to hang them on a window, using suction-cup-hangers that can be found at craft stores. Then you really get to see the light shine through your designs.
- Yield: 3 dozen cookies
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Lemon grated zest
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 cups hard candies, such as Jolly Ranchers, in different colors
- 18 feet of ¼-inch ribbon (optional)
- Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and lemon zest, then add the flour and baking powder. Form the dough into 2 balls, wrap each in plastic, and chill them for 30 minutes.
- While the dough is chilling, unwrap the candies, dividing them into groups according to color, and put each color in a small zip-top storage bag. Let your kids use the bottom of a heavy mug to crush the candy into tiny pieces (it doesn’t have to be powder; little chunks are fine).
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Sprinkle a little flour on a clean work surface and roll out the first ball of dough to ¼ inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out holiday shapes and lift the cookies onto the baking sheets with a spatula, leaving 2 inches between each cookie. Use the tip of a paring knife to cut out the interior of each cookie, following the outline but leaving at least ¾ inch of cookie dough as a rim. (You can also just cut a diamond or a circle in the center of the cookie, or you can use another, smaller cookie cutter.) If you want to, use the tip of the paring knife or a drinking straw to cut a little round hole at the top of each cookie, leaving a generous rim of cookie dough above the hole.
- Use a teaspoon to sprinkle one color of the crushed candy into the opening you’ve cut out of each cookie. Fill it in evenly, but be careful not to sprinkle the candy on the dough. When all the cookies are filled, put the baking sheets in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. This will stop the cookie dough from spreading so much in the oven.
- Bake the cookies for 8 minutes, just until the dough is set and the candy is melted. Don’t let them get brown, or they won’t look as pretty! Let them cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. (This is the time to check them to be sure the optional holes for the ribbon are all still open. If not, use the knife or straw to open the hole again while the cookie is still soft.) Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough and candy.
- When all the cookies are cool, thread a thin loop of ribbon through the hole at the top of each and knot the ends together. Repeat with the remaining cookies. The cookies will survive for about 1 week at room temperature.