Stained Glass Heart Cookies are the sugar cookies of your dreams! You’ll fall in love with their soft, light texture, sweet buttery taste, and jewel-like hard candy centers.
A Beautiful, Homemade Valentine Treat
Stained glass cookies are having a moment, aren’t they? And it’s easy to see why. All you need are your favorite hard candies and a good cookie dough for rolling and cutting, and you’re ready to make a showstopping sweet dessert or snack! And this simple, buttery sugar cookie dough is just perfect.
I really like making stained glass heart cookies as an easier alternative to iced cookies. You still get a beautiful “decorated” cutout cookie, without the need for making a separate batch of icing or using a piping bag, etc.
If you’re looking for a special way to show love to your loved ones this year, try making these. They are sure to be a hit!
- Soft and light
- Sweet and buttery
- Easy to mix, roll, and cut
- Showy, with ruby-red translucent centers
- Chewy and slightly crisp in the centers
- Perfect for Valentine’s Day
What Ingredients Will I Need?
To make the sugar cookie dough, you’ll need just a few basic ingredients. For the candy centers, I used red Jolly Ranchers. Since the recipe makes about 18 cookies, you’ll need about 36 Jolly Ranchers, whatever color(s) you prefer.
- Butter: For best results, use unsalted butter. The butter should be at room temperature
- Sugar: I use mostly granulated, with a couple of tablespoons of powdered sugar for softness.
- Egg: You’ll need a large, whole egg, plus one additional egg yolk, for richness and texture. (You can save the extra white to use in another recipe or for making an omelette!)
- Flour: I use all-purpose flour, but you can substitute a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend if necessary. The texture of the cookies may vary if you do this.
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda: To lighten the cookies and help them bake up soft, not hard or dry.
- Milk: If for some reason your dough is too stiff, you can beat in a spoonful of milk.
- Hard Candies: This recipe makes about 18 cookies, so you’ll need 36 red Jolly Ranchers to create the candy centers.
How to Make Them
The process for making these cookies is so simple and fun to do! This is a great baking project to share with the kiddos. (Just be careful of the melted candy centers after baking. They get very hot and can cause burns.)
Cream the Butter and Sugar. Combine the butter, sugar, and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat everything together on high speed for a minute or two, or until the ingredients are smooth and fluffy.
Add the Remaining Ingredients. Next, add in the egg and extra egg yolk, and beat the mixture again until it’s smooth. Measure in the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda, and beat for about one minute, until the flour is fully incorporated and smooth. (At this point you should have a soft, yet sturdy dough. If it seems too thick, beat in the tablespoon of milk. This will most likely be unnecessary.)
Chill the Dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and place it in the refrigerator. Chill it for one hour before rolling and baking.
Cut the Cookies. Once the dough has chilled, preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet or two with parchment paper, and set them aside. Lightly flour a clean work surface, and place the unwrapped dough on it.
Use a rolling pin to roll the dough to a ¼ inch thick sheet, and start cutting the cookies out. You’ll need to use a large heart shaped cookie cutter (about 4 inches), and then a smaller one (1 or 2 inches) to cut the “window” in the center. Transfer the cookies to the baking sheets as you go, and re-roll the scraps of dough as needed to use it all up.
Add the Candies and Bake. Place two unwrapped Jolly Ranchers in the center of each unbaked cookie. Place the cookie sheets in the preheated oven, and bake them for 12 minutes. Don’t overbake, or the candy centers will burn.
Cool and Enjoy! Once the cookies are baked, remove them from the oven, and place them on a cooling rack to cool completely. Then gently remove the cookies from the parchment paper, and serve immediately.
Ready to bake some gorgeous Valentine cookies? Fantastic! But before you do, make sure to read these easy tips. They’re sure to help you make the most of this festive recipe.
- Substitutions: The powdered sugar in this recipe helps keep the cookies soft and tender. However, it can be omitted, or substituted with 2 teaspoons of cornstarch instead.
- Mix It Up: Due to the amount of butter in these cookies, it is practically impossible to over-mix, because the butter prevents the gluten from over-developing. So be sure to mix the dough until it is well incorporated.
- Chill Time: If the cookies spread and lose their shape in the oven, chill the next batch in the refrigerator for about ten minutes before baking. The cold dough is less likely to spread.
Easy Variation Ideas
There’s more to this recipe than just red candy windowpanes! You can customize them in a lot of different ways. Here are just a few:
- Other Shapes: You can easily make all kinds of stained glass cookies with different cookie cutters. And the cookie cutters don’t necessarily have to be the same shape. Nestle a star inside a heart, a circle inside a star, etc.
- Different Colors: Use any color Jolly Ranchers to make the colors you want! And you don’t have to stick to Jolly Ranchers. Most hard candies work well. You can even use butterscotch candies for a sunny yellow center!
- Different Flavors: Try adding almond extract, lemon flavoring, or a chocolate drizzle for a tasty flavor upgrade!
Store these cookies in an airtight container, with a piece of parchment between them, to prevent sticking, for up to one week.
Yes! Just store as you normally would, but keep them in the freezer for up to three months.
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon milk, optional
- 36 red Jolly Ranchers
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter, sugar, and powdered sugar. Beat together on high speed for 1 – 2 minutes, or until smooth and fluffy.
- Next, add in the egg and egg yolk, and beat together until combined. Add in the flour, then teh salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Beat together for 1 minute to ensure that the flour is fully incorporated and smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add in the milk (although this will most likely be unnecessary.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and place it into the fridge to chill for one hour.
- Once the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
- Unwrap the dough, and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Use a rolling pin to roll out teh dough into a sheet about ¼ inch thick. Use a large, 4 inch, heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut as many hearts as possible. Then, use a 1 – 2 inch cookie cutter to cut out a small, heart-shaped window in each cookie. Carefully place the large cookie hearts onto parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between each cookie.
- Roll the excess dough into a ball, and then roll it out again into a ¼ inch thick sheet. Cut out more cookies until all of the dough is used.
- Place two, unwrapped, red Jolly Rancher candies into the center of each heart cookie. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes.
- Once baked, remove the cookies from the oven, and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.
- When cool, gently remove the cookies from the parchment paper. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to one week.
More Sweet Valentine’s Day Treats
Looking for more easy Valentine’s Day desserts? Here are a few of my favorites:
- Red Velvet Macarons
- Cherry Cream Pie
- Chocolate Covered Strawberry Brownie Bites
- Red Velvet Macarons
- Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream
- Red Hot Cookies
- Red Velvet Hot Chocolate
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