Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Stained Glass Window Cookies

Now biscuits have always been a bit of a nemesis of mine; namely the baking of said biscuit which is kind of crucial...it very rarely goes to plan...so I have decided, in this case, practice will indeed make perfect. So the recipe itself was pretty straightforward, and doesn't require much more than you will probably have in your kitchen cupboards (with the exception of boiled sweets, these I didn't have).

The result of these biscuits was however a little disappointing - the biscuit itself is rather boring - but nevertheless it is an easy recipe to do with children and the 'stained glass' effect will probably fascinate them. However it has got me thinking on ways to improve the flavour of the recipe so watch this space...

Ingredients (makes approx 20 biscuits depending on your cutter size)

100g unsalted butter (softened at room temperature)
100g caster sugar
1 free range egg (lightly beaten)
275g plain flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
Crushes Boiled Sweets (various colours)


1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Depending on how reliable your greaseproof paper is I find you may want to double line the tray to prevent the bottoms from burning.

2. Using a electric mixer with a paddle attachment (if not, the old school by hand method works perfectly well as well) cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until combined.

3. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract, little at a time. Beat until mixture is well combined.

4. Gradually stir in the flour until the mixture comes together as a dough. I say add this gradually as you don't want to make the dough too dry, otherwise your biscuits will come out too dry and hard.

5. Roll out your dough on a lightly floured surface to about 0.5cm thick, then cut into shapes using cookie cutters. Ideally you should use shapes which you have different sizes of, for example I used a 12cm/4½in star and a 4cm/1½in star cutter.

6. Transfer the biscuits to your pre-lined baking sheet. Using your smaller cutter stamp out the centre of each biscuit on the baking tray, making sure you leave a good edge around the outside.

7. Using a rolling pin crush the boiled sweets in their wrappers. If you find this too difficult/messy you can pop a few into a ziploc freezer bag and crush them inside that instead - this is useful if you are making several of the same colour. Completely fill the hole in each biscuit with the crushed sweets.

8. Bake the biscuits for 8-10 minutes or until pale golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside on the baking tray until they have cooled to allow the boiled sweets to harden. Once they have cooled gently lift the biscuits on to a wire rack with a palette knife.

At this stage you can also ice the biscuits to decorate is you so wish or leave them plain - either way they look good!

If you want to add icing decorations then I find the following works well:

400g icing sugar
3-4 tbsp water
2-3 drops of food colouring or gels (optional, white gives a nice professional looking finish)

Sift the icing sugar into a large mixing bowl and stir in enough water to make a smooth paste. At this stage you can add your desired colouring. Then you are ready to pipe or drizzle on to the biscuits.

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