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Stained Glass Cookies

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Stained glass cookies are an easy holiday cookie to make, plus they are showstoppers!

When I saw that the Tuesdays with Dorie group was making Stained Glass Cookies, I knew these picture perfect cookies would be ideal our annual neighborhood cookie exchange!

stained glass cookies in a white dish

Stained Glass Cookies

It was time for our annual neighborhood cookie exchange and I needed a new recipe to try!  I love perusing through Christmas Cooking Roundups like 50 of the Best Holiday CookiesThe Top Ten Holiday Cookies, or 25 of The Best Christmas Cookies Recipes for inspiration.  Knowing that Dorie Greenspan had a recipe for stained glass cookies that my “Dorista” pals were trying helped seal the deal.

I’ve seen a few Stained Glass Cookie flops across the Internet, so I did some research.

  • Jolly Ranchers work better than Lifesavers (but Lifesavers will suffice in a pinch)
  • A non-spreading roll out sugar cookie recipe is imperative.
  • A small silicone brush is the perfect tool to remove any candy crumbs that spill over onto the cookie dough.
  • A pointed grapefruit spoon helps place the powdered candy into the window openings.

I went to Alton Brown for his sugar cookie recipe and the dough worked beautifully!  I also read through Dorie Greenspan’s recipe in Baking Chez Moi and used some of her tips and her baking times.

Stained Glass Cookies on a white square plate
Jolly Ranchers

I pulled out the cherry, sour apple and blue raspberry candies from the bag of Jolly Ranchers to use  for the windows of these stained glass cookies. The fruity aromas reminded me of hiking the trails near Aspen with my family.

My dad would always have a stash of lemon drops and Jolly Ranchers in the exterior pocket of  his backpack. I was partial to grape and needed a continual supply of as we huffed and puffed our way over switchbacks, through meadows and forests to our destination.

Stained Glass Cookies lined up on a square white platter

Tips for Making the Best Stained Glass Cookies

So smashing the Jolly Ranchers to smithereens definitely brought those familiar scents to the forefront. To make sure the candies melt properly, they need to be pulverized to nearly a powder. A few slightly bigger pieces seemed to be fine.

Be prepared for a mess. I placed the candies inside of two ziplock bags and pounded with my metal meat mallet. The shards of candy broke through both thick layers of plastic so beware.

You can cut any shape of cookie you’d like, then find a smaller cookie cutter that works well with your shape to cut out a window or two.

PRO tip: Also, make sure to bake on parchment paper or a silpat so that the melted candy doesn’t adhere to your baking sheet.

My friends were quite impressed with these Stained Glass Cookies. They’re so VERY festive!!! Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!

More Holiday Cookies You’ll Love:

These are all wonderful contenders for your next cookie exchange or holiday gathering!

You Might Like:


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Stained glass cookies on a small, round white plate

Stained Glass Cookies

Perfectly festive cookies for the holidays! Sugar cookie recipe adapted from Alton Brown.

  • Author: Liz Berg
  • Prep Time: 40 mins
  • Cook Time: 8 mins
  • Total Time: 48 minutes
  • Yield: 48 1x
  • Category: Dessert, Cookies, Holiday
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


  • 3 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough
  • Jolly Ranchers candies, separated into colors and smashed into a powder (about 15-20 total)


  1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. With mixer on low speed, slowly add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350º.
  3. Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Roll out dough to ¼-1/8-inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. Next, find a smaller cookie cutter in the same same, then cut out a center section of the larger version with a smaller cookie cutter to make a “window”. Place the cookies with the cut out about 1-inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Carefully spoon some of the crushed Jolly Ranchers into the middle of each cookie. Brush any that lands on the dough towards the middle with a dry pastry brush (or clean paint brush).
  4. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges Cool for a few minutes on baking sheet, then move to cooling rack to finish cooling.


You will need coordinating cookie cutters, one smaller of a similar shape to cut out the opening for the “window.”



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56 comments on “Stained Glass Cookies”

  1. Your stained glass cookies are purty – I especially like the blue ones.

  2. Liz these are PERFECT! You obviously did not make them with 11 year old boys 😉 (though I love our imperfect offerings!) Merry Christmas, I hope 2016 is a sweet year for you xox

  3. Very pretty! I love the snowflake cookies, they’d be great for all winter:@)

  4. These are so perfect for Christmas
    Wishing you Merry Christmas

  5. Wow, flying candy shards! Sounds dangerous. 😉 But it’s worth it for such a beautiful cookie!
    BTW, was looking at a couple of your other posts. Are you in Indianapolis? Because that’s my hometown and I haven’t been back in a very long time. I miss it!

  6. wow gorgeous colour! A perfectly festive cookie recipe, Liz.
    Merry Christmas!

  7. If anyone could make utterly beautiful cookies, I knew it would be you! These are stunning. 🙂 Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Year 2016 my friend! Have a delicious holiday with your family. 🙂

  8. Wow Liz!!! These stained glass cookies are perfect and look like delicious works of art!!! Love these! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  9. Simply beautiful. You’re right, the Skinny Chick can bake.

  10. When I saw these on Facebook I was wondering about the color. They are beautiful!

  11. So pretty! And so perfect for the season. Speaking of which, Happy Holidays!

  12. These are lovely, look so neat Liz. Merry Christmas to you and your family and happy holidays.

  13. Yeah awesome, please delete that previous error lol. Gorgeous cookies I am so impressed and so cool the flavors bring up great memories. Happy Holidays!

  14. What a gorgeous plate of cookies, Liz! Happy holidays.

  15. Beautiful cookies, Liz! I love Jolly Ranchers too. I ate them all the time as a kid.

  16. So so SO impressive, Liz!! Your treats always blow my mind and get me so excited to start baking again (which is saying something, since I always swear that I’m going to avoid the kitchen for weeks after my baking splurges). I’m saving this one for the books. LOVE!

  17. Pretty! I like the blue snowflakes the best. Merry Christmas!

  18. I LOVE Stained Glass Cookies, Liz. Thanks for the tip about the Jolly Ranchers. I wonder why that is though:)

    Thanks for sharing Liz…Wishing You and Yours a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy & Healthy New Year!!!

  19. What beautiful cookies and so festive as well. Hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas 😀

  20. These cookies are so gorgeous! Can’t wait to give them a try 🙂

  21. These are perfect! When my kids were little I tried a recipe for these from a Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook. It called for Lifesavers and the results were less than stellar. The next time I will use your recipe!

  22. I’ve always been so enchanted with stained glass cookies, these are beauties!

  23. Lizzy,
    I’ve wanted to make stained glass cookies but thought it was too difficult. These look so festive.

  24. I believe you should mention somewhere in the recipe about adding the crushed Jolly Ranchers after you cut out the center of the cookie… 🙂

  25. The cookies are amazing.. you are an artist…

    Please visit:

  26. These came out incredible! I used a cake pop straw to punch a hole at the top of each one and loop a ribbon through, so I could hang them like ornaments on a mini tree!

  27. What are the tear drop shaped cookies supposed to be? 🙂

    • Hi, Penelope,

      They’re ornaments! I bought a few different sized cookie cutters in that shape after seeing cutout sugar cookies in either Bon Appetit or Gourmet many years ago 🙂

  28. Just back from another trip & I’m starting my blog hopping again. Wow, you’re early for X’mas, Liz! Love those colours! xoxo

  29. Hi! Thanks so much for the new cookie recipe; as, mine spreads; so, I, have to bake; re-cut–with the cookie cutters–and, then put the red-cherry-sours inside; and, re-bake! (I, make them in heart-shapes! They are so pretty on a white tree–with the white-lights shinning-through the red-pane!
    I’M, going to try Jolley Ranchers!
    (I, have, even, seen them on a green tree–made-of-gingerbread; and, tied-on with green-French-wire-ribbon-bows! (‘To-die-for’) thanks for the advice regarding parchment paper–to, prevent sticking!
    You, are amazing! Thanks!

  30. When eating the cookies, are the candy centers chewy, hard or do they melt in your mouth? I love the way they look but I also want give them as gifts and serve at my annual Christmas party. Really hope they taste as good as they look!

  31. Your cookies are gorgeous and love the Dad memories.

  32. these really scream Christmas such fun!

  33. I can’t wait to try these, I’ve never had Stained Glass Cookies before. I always make the same things so I wanted to try something new this year.
    Also, in case you get any young in experienced cooks that try this recipe you might want to reword part of the instructions, to indicate that you put the smaller cut out on top of the larger one. When it is on the parchment paper before adding the crushed candies.
    These cookies look so beautiful, I can’t wait. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  34. Love these, they are super cute. Did anyone else have a hard time getting them off the paper without sticking??? Love the sugar cookie recipe too.

  35. I don’t have a stand mixer…

  36. My daughters and I have been looking for the perfect recipe which is easily cut with cookie cutters and doesn’t spread – your recipe is the chosen one! They are so much fun to make and so pretty. We blitzed the candy in the blendtec blender and they were pulverised to powder. Thanks so much. Greetings from Melbourne, Australia and Merry Christmas!!

  37. So beautiful! Perfect for the holidays.

  38. These look really good!!! They are really adorable, too!

  39. I’ll be making these today…using candy canes instead (since that what I have) and use my cleaned out coffee mill to pulverize them instead of pounding them…)

    I’ll let you all know how it all turned out…

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