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Stained-Glass Cookies

2 3/4 c flour
1/2 ts baking powder
1/2 ts salt
2/3 c sugar
1 c butter, unsalted
2 ts beaten egg (about half a large egg, lightly beaten)
1 1/2 ts vanilla extract
1/8 ts lemon extract
1 c sour balls (or you could use Life Savers, 6 1/2 oz)

Equipment: cookie sheets lines with aluminum foil, then sprayed
with nonstick vegetable cooking spray or greased; rolling pin;
3-inch round cookie cutters and small canap# cutters.

Food Processor Method:

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
In a food processor with the metal blade, process the sugar until
it is very fine. Cut the butter into a few pieces and add it with
the motor running. Process until smooth and creamy. Add the egg
and extracts and process until incorporated, scraping the sides of
the bowl. Add the flour mixture and pulse in, just until the dough
begins to clump together.

Electric Mixer Method:

Soften the butter. In a mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and
butter until fluffy. Add the egg and extracts and beat until
blended. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining dry
ingredients. On low speed, gradually add them to the butter mixture
and mix just until the dough can be gathered into a ball.

For Both Methods:

scrape the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrqap and use the wrap,
not your fingers, to press the dough together to form a thick flat
disk. Wrap it well and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes,
preferably no longer than 3 hours.

Place 2 oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Separate the sour balls into individual colors and pulvverize them
separately in a blender or food processor. Place each color in a
small container and set aside.

Using about a quarter of the dough at a time, roll out the dough
to 1/8 inch thickness between 2 sheets of plastic wrap or on a
lightly floured counter. Cut out cookies with a 3-inch cookie
cutter, spraying or greasing the cutter as needed to prevent
sticking. With a small, angled metal spatula or pancake turner,
transfer the cookes to the prepared cookie sheets. If you are
planning to hang the cookies, make small holes with a blunt end of
a wooden skewer. Cut out shapes for the staine glass in each cookie
with small cutters or with a small sharp knife. Use the tip of a
small sharp knife to fill the holes with candy pieces, filling just
to the top of the dough.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned
and the candy has melted completely. For even baking, rotate the
cookie sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through
the baking period. Watch carefully toward the end of baking to
see that the candy does not start to caramelize and turn brown.

Allow cookies to cool completely on the sheets. Carefully peel
off the aluminum foil. Store in and airtight container, between
sheets of wax paper, at room temperature. Keeps several weeks.

Makes 4 dozen.

This is a cookie and a candy all in one. The cookie itself is a
crisp sugar-butter cookie, and the candy panes add a sweet fruity
flavor and crunch.

It was these cookies, hanging on a Christmas tree, with light
shining through their transparent candy panes, that inspired me to
create a gingerbread cathedral with a stained-glass rose window
(recipe in the book, also). For greater ease of preparation, the
cookies can be made with one larger cutout in the center, but with
many cutouts (admittedly painstaking) they are so breathtaking to
behold that they are worth the effort.

Smart Cookie hints:

Saran Wrap is the ideal plastic wrap for rolling the dough because
it lies very flat. Wax paper is the second best choice.

For precise cutouts, chill the dough after the impressions are made
and remove the cutout with the tip of a sharp knife after the dough
has firmed enough for each cutout to come out in a clean piece.

If you are using a blender to pulverize the sour balls, drop the
balls with the motor running in order to keep them from getting
stuck under the blades.

Allow the cookie sheet(s) to cool completely before using for the
next batch.

Distribute the cookies evenly around the cookie sheet. Avoid
crowding the cookies into one section of the cookie sheet, leaving
a large area bare.


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