Here is a recipe that I have been playing with. It is a simple spiced biscuit recipe with a ‘stained glass’ window, which is very satisfying to make as it actually works. Admittedly it took me two attempts to reach perfection but I think I now have it sussed and I shall give you the second version so that hopefully you can do the same.
Basically it is a cookie dough which is rolled out, cookies cut and the centre cut out, and filled with bashed up boiled sweets which melt during cooking to make a coloured window. Very funky and easy to do and they make a great edible decorations.
Stained Glass Christmas Biscuits
350g plain flour
1 tsp bread soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
175g soft brown sugar
4tbs golden syrup
A packet of boiled sweets – bashed – see note below
Put the flour, bread soda, sugar and spices into a bowl or food processor.
Cut the butter into small cubes and either buzz until like breadcrumbs or if you are using your hands rub the butter into the flour until it is like breadcrumbs.
Crack the egg into a small bowl and add the golden syrup. Beat the two together until well mixed then pour into the flour mixture.
If you are using a food processor, buzz in spurts until the dough comes together. If you are mixing by hand just stir everything well then tip out and give a quick knead to bring the dough together.
Wrap in clingwrap or parchment paper and put into the fridge to chill for one hour.
To bake the cookies pre heat the oven to 180c
Sprinkle a little flour over a clean surface and roll out half the dough to about 0.5cm and cut into shapes using cookie cutters – round ones will do the job if that is all you have. Transfer the cookies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper then cut out the centres. Fill with bashed boiled sweets – pile them up a little as they melt down during cooking.
Make a hole at the top of each cookie with a cocktail stick and bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden. When you take them out of the oven check the holes don’t need further attention and leave to cool.
Don’t touch them or move them about until they have cooled, as the sweets need to harden and will be very hot.
Once cool, peel off the paper and thread a ribbon through the hole.
Three things to remember before you begin:
1. Make the hole that you cut out of the centre of the cookie big enough, if it is too small the biscuit tends to close in during the baking so the window isn’t very visible.
2. Wrap the boiled sweets in a little parcel before bashing them to stop them pinging all over the kitchen. I used baking parchment. Don’t make the parcels too tight, as there needs to be room for expansion.
3. If you want to use the cookies as Christmas decorations, you will need to make a hole at the top to thread some ribbon or string through. I used a cocktail stick but apparently straws are good too. When the cookies come out of the oven check the holes. I had to give mine another poke as it had closed up a little. This is easy to do when the cookies are hot as they are still a little soft but they firm up quickly and might crack if you leave this step until they are cold.
Keep in an airtight tin if they are for eating.
Lettercollum Kitchen Project, 22, Connolly Street, Clonakilty.