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Stained Glass Cookies in a white bowl

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!

Stained Glass Cookies photo and text collage

More Holiday Cookies You’ll Love:

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

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Stained Glass Cookies

Stained Glass Cookies

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

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 48 minutes
Yield 48


  • 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."

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

2 cookies

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 224Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 141mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 1gSugar: 14gProtein: 2g


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56 comments on “Stained Glass Cookies”

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

  2. 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!

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

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

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

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

    Please visit:

  7. 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!

  8. 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 🙂

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

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

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

  13. these really scream Christmas such fun!

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. I don’t have a stand mixer…

  17. 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!!

  18. So beautiful! Perfect for the holidays.

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

  20. 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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