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Stained-Glass Butter Cookies

Makes about 42 cookies.

Melted bits of hard candy in the center of these cookies look like stained glass. For the prettiest cookies, use a fluted cutter. Red and green hard candies are traditional, but I also like the way butterscotch looks and tastes with the buttery cookie. A sprinkling of sugar gives the cookies a sparkly holiday look.

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3?4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1?4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3?4 cup (about 6 ounces) red or green hard candies or butterscotch candies
1. Cream the butter and 1?2 cup of the sugar together in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the flour and mix on low speed until the dough comes together in a ball.

2. Divide the dough into 3 equal balls. Wrap each ball in plastic and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. (The dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; defrost it in the refrigerator before use.)

3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

4. Place the hard candies in a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process until they are finely ground. Transfer the ground candy to a small bowl.

5. Remove one ball of dough from the refrigerator and knead it 4 or 5 times on a lightly floured work surface to soften it. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to 1?8 inch thick. Using a small glass or biscuit cutter, cut the dough into 3-inch circles. Using small cookie cutters or a sharp paring knife, make decorative cuts in the center of each cookie, leaving a cutout area to fill with candy. Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheet. Using a very small measuring spoon, carefully fill each cutout with the candy so that the candy is resting on the parchment paper and is level with the dough. Sprinkle the cookies with some of the remaining 1?4 cup sugar. Refrigerate the scraps.

6. Bake the cookies until they are firm and golden around the edges, about 8 minutes. Let them cool completely on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough balls and then the chilled scraps, using fresh parchment paper.

Stained-Glass Butter Cookies will keep in an airtight container for several days.



Excerpted from Mom's Big Book of Baking, by Lauren Chattman. ©2001, used by permission from The Harvard Common Press.

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