Here's another delicious cookie recipe in honor of this week's contest, from Very Merry Cookie Party—a unique book that gives tips and tricks for staging a successful cookie exchange party along with classic recipes. These beautiful cookies are especially fun to make with children.

Stained Glass Ornaments


makes 30 cookie ornaments

Use fruit-flavored Life Savers, sour balls, or similar hard candies for the “stained glass.” It is fun to make your own design for the ornaments. For example, if you want to make a holly leaf or a dove, draw the shape on a piece of cardboard—about 3 inches in diameter is a good size—and cut it out. Edge the gingerbread strips around the design on the cookie sheet. Continue until all the gingerbread has been used.

To crush the candies, use a food processor or place the candies between 2 pieces of waxed paper and crush with a rolling pin.

Cookie Exchange Tip

To make this cookie into a tree ornament, attach a loop made from the dough to the top of eth cookie before baking. After the cookie is baked, thread a piece of ribbon through the loop and tie the ribbon in a bow. To make these ornaments at a party, prepare the cardboard patterns in advance.

Ingredients


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

  • 3/4 cup unsulfured molasses

  • 1/3 cup water

  • 6 ounces translucent hard candies in colors of choice, crushed


Instructions

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Add the sugar and molasses and beat for 2 minutes. Beat in the water. On low speed, beat in the flour mixture until a soft dough forms.

3. Gather the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with aluminum foil.

5. Divide the dough into thirds. Divide each third into 10 equal pieces. Using your palms, roll each piece on a lightly floured work surface into a rope 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter. Gently trace the design of your choice onto the prepared cookie sheets (a wooden spoon handle or chopstick works well for tracing on foil). Outline each design with a rope of dough, pressing the ends together to seal securely.

6. Sprinkle the inside of each design with the crushed candies, dividing the candies evenly among the outlined designs and creating an even layer.

7. Bake in the center of the oven or until the edges of the cookies are golden and the candy has melted, 6 to 9 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheets on wire racks until the candy hardens, about 5 minutes. Gently peel the foil away from the cookies and transfer to the racks to cool completely.

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Recipe reprinted from Very Merry Cookie Party (Chronicle), copyright 2010, with permission from the publisher. All rights reserved. Read our review of the book.

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