Stained Glass Cookies

Melt hard candies in sugar cookie frames in this stained glass cookies recipe. Create breathtaking treats that double as edible decorations.

stained glass cookies recipe
Elise Bauer

"We can EAT these?" Andrew (age 5) asked incredulously.

"Yes, you can eat them," I replied, "They're cookies. You can also hang them from your tree."

"What's inside?" asked Matthew (7).

"Life Savers. And Jolly Ranchers."


fill stained glass cookie centers with crushed candies
Elise Bauer

It was as if Santa himself had just poked his head through the fireplace.

The boys, my young neighbors, dissected and demolished the ones they had each picked out to eat. It was all I could do to keep their hands off the remaining cookies.

Oddly, they went straight for the hard candy center, and only after it was discussed ("What is this, watermelon? Must be a Jolly Rancher") and devoured, did they move on to the cookie border.

This recipe is a classic, originally from Yankee Magazine. The cookies also make beautiful Christmas ornaments!


Watch This Stained Glass Cookies Recipe

Making Sure Windowpane Cookies Don't Stick

Using a silicone baking sheet is the best way to ensure the cookies don't stick. However, if all you have is parchment paper, just spray a bit of nonstick cooking spray on your parchment, and the candy panes won't stick.

Which Candies Make the Best Stained Glass Window Cookies?

  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Life Savers
  • Clear lollipops
  • Cinnamon disks
  • Butterscotch hard candies
  • Any clear hard candies

Are Stained Glass Window Cookies Hard to Eat?

No! The candy layer is very thin and gets crunchy and more breakable after it cools down. You get the benefit of a thin candy inside of a buttery cookie!

More Holiday Cookies That Wow

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Stained Glass Cookies

Prep Time 60 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Chilling the dough 60 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 10 mins
Servings 48 servings

Recipe originally from Yankee Magazine.


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon molasses

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 large egg

  • 2 cups flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 30 to 40 hard candies (such as Life Savers), preferably in several flavors/colors


  1. Preheat oven and prepare baking sheets:

    Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

  2. Beat together the wet ingredients:

    Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter, and the white and brown sugars until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the molasses and vanilla extract. Add the egg and beat on medium speed until light and smooth.

  3. Make the dough:

    In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a third at a time, mixing until the flour is just incorporated.

  4. Chill the dough:

    Divide the dough in half and flatten into 2 disks. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour or up to two days.

  5. Crush the candies:

    Remove any plastic wrapping on the hard candies. Sort the hard candies by color and place them into separate plastic bags. Crush the candies with a mallet or rolling pin.

    crush candies for stained glass cookies
    Elise Bauer
  6. Roll out the dough:

    Place 1 of the dough disks between 2 large sheets of waxed paper or parchment and use a rolling pin to roll out to an even thickness of 1/4 inch.

    how to roll out dough for stained glass cookies
    Elise Bauer
  7. Cut the shapes with cookie cutters:

    Use cookie cutters to cut the dough into forms. Transfer the cookies to a prepared baking sheet, placing them about 1 inch apart from each other.

    Using a smaller cookie cutter of a similar shape or a knife, cut shapes into the centers of cookies. (You can use the centers for extra dough.)

    cut out center of stained glass cookie shape
    Elise Bauer
  8. Sprinkle the crushed candies into cookie centers:

    Sprinkle the crushed candy into the empty centers of the cookies, filling them to the edges. Try to keep the candy within the centers. Any candy specks that fall on the cookie will color the cookie.

    filling center of stained glass cookies with crushed candies
    Elise Bauer
  9. Poke holes if using for decorations:

    If you plan on using the cookies as decorations to be hung as ornaments, poke a small hole in the top of each cookie before baking.

    poke hole for stained glass cookie ornaments
    Elise Bauer
  10. Bake:

    Bake at 375°F for 9 to 10 minutes. The candy should be bubbly and the cookies just barely beginning to brown. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and place on wire racks to cool.

    Allow the cookies to cool on the pans for at least 10 minutes; otherwise, the candy centers may separate from the dough. When cookies are completely cooled, remove and store in an airtight container.

    String with ribbon if you want to hang as ornaments.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
70 Calories
2g Fat
12g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 48
Amount per serving
Calories 70
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 9mg 3%
Sodium 38mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 8mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 16mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.